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  • Frozen door locks

    I live in a rural area where I get high winds and cold ones presently. I have locks in the door handles of my pole barns and they continue to freeze up. I took the locks inside and warmed them for several days and then blew them out with compressed air. I put powered graphite in them for lubrication. I returned them to the doors and covered the lock handles with plastic bags and rubber bands to keep them dry. Despite these attempts they continue to freeze and have to be thawed with a hair dryer. Any suggestions beside moving to a warmer climate? Thanks Paul

  • #2
    Drench them in thin viscosity oil. That will displace the water and keep corrosion at bay. The oil won't freeze.

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    • #3
      We've got a garbage bin or two at work that the locks on freeze fairly often (depending on wind direction primarily), I just put this http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en in my pocket on the way out the door.

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      • #4
        I have locks on farm gates, barns, outbuildings, etc. and they don't freeze up. I keep them oiled well so that may help.

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        • #5
          Immerse them in warmed liquified petroleum jelly (Vaseline), give them a wipe and put them outside to cool.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dp View Post
            Immerse them in warmed liquified petroleum jelly (Vaseline), give them a wipe and put them outside to cool.
            Sounds good, but at -20 F that stuff isn't quite as liquid.....

            The problem with locks is that there has to be room to get the key in, which means room for water to get in and freeze. Some locks, including those on my truck cap, have little "shutters" that cover them. All very well, but eventually they get weak and no longer close fully. Then they serve to block keys, but not water....
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

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            • #7
              Those that suggest oiling the lock are right on the money. Not only does the oil lubricate the lock, but perhaps more important, the oil acts as a release agent that inhibits the water from adhering to the lock's components.
              Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
              Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

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              • #8
                At -20؛ most of us have better things to do than to stick a key in a lock

                No solution is going to work for every possibility. You have to be and remain smarter than the problem.

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                • #9
                  We've nailed cut intertubes nailed to cover the lock as it still lets the air to them but keeps out the rain & snow.
                  "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                  world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                  country, in easy stages."
                  ~ James Madison

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                  • #10
                    And one (but expensive) option is to change to Abloy locks, namely the Abloy Classic for harsh weather places. It has no springs to function, lots of room inside and nearly unpickable. Haven't yet seen one frozen and have seen many with lots of crap inside after 20 years of use and no service. Still works like new.

                    In here we have these on basically every door in the country and usually the temperature drops to -20..-30 Celsius in the winter (like now).
                    Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dp View Post
                      At -20؛ most of us have better things to do than to stick a key in a lock
                      ????????????????????

                      That's just another regular winter day in a lot of places, including where I grew up. I don't recall it ever being colder than just shy of -40F (or C), and I walked to school (3rd grade) that day as usual.

                      No big deal, just commenting that locks are a problem..... most oils will gum them up eventually, and many oils are not too good at cold temps, semi-solids like vaseline are worse. If water gets in and freezes, the lock just isn't going to work.

                      Your idea is actually pretty good for many environments. And for certain lock types..... others might not like it so much It would probably be very good for marine or coastline areas, given suitable locks . IIRC you are in one such area in the Pac NW, yes?

                      Many silicone oils tend not to gum up, nor thicken with cold, and may be OK, but usually the thinner the better.

                      Covering them so water doesn't get in is best..... flylo has a good idea, except innertubes are not as common as they once were. Other materials work just as well, but I can see it being an issue for a car/truck. OTOH the car/truck is likely the #1 place for water-filled frozen locks.
                      1601

                      Keep eye on ball.
                      Hashim Khan

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                      • #12
                        A few weeks ago I was having a problem unlocking the van door. I put the heel of my hand against the lock, then switched to the other hand- several seconds go by and the key goes in and it works. So- how do you heat the lock using a pocketable device?

                        I haven't built it yet, but my idea was to encapsulate a small heating coil in a button of epoxy molding rubber. It would be mounted on the side of a battery container- I'm thinking a flat pack lithium battery, as these can be small and easily packaged, plus are capable of holding a considerable amount of energy. You would probably put an led light on it also, just to give it more justification to live in your pocket.

                        Anyway, the rubber is flexible enough that it can easily be conformed to the lock face and thus transfer heat fairly quickly.

                        A heating coil as such would not be required- you could use one or more resistors. You would choose a value to present a safe load for the battery, plus not create a situation where the epoxy rubber button would get too hot to touch.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                        • #13
                          Resistive heating with small batteries is a losing proposition.

                          Carry a mini Bic lighter and heat the key?
                          Fire good - many uses...

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                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=J Tiers;832432]????????????????????

                            That's just another regular winter day in a lot of places, including where I grew up. I don't recall it ever being colder than just shy of -40F (or C), and I walked to school (3rd grade) that day as usual. [quote]

                            Most of us don't live in such places - you have to read the whole thing, Jerry.

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                            • #15
                              What happens when neat alcohol is poured on ice?

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