What To Do When Your House Key Isn’t Working
Finding oneself locked out in the middle of the night when a key stops opening the door to a home can be frustrating.
Reasons a Key Stops Working
There are several reasons for a key that has worked in the past to stop opening a door.
- A key can become broken and no longer fit correctly in the lock. Even if there are no visible points of breakage on the key, there may be damage that is difficult to detect that is significant enough to cause the key to stop working.
If a spare key is available, the spare can be used in the lock to determine if damage to the original key is the issue. Duplicates can be made from the spare. However, if the damaged key is the only copy, the door will need to be re-keyed once access to the home is gained.
- The lock itself may be the problem. If the bolt is stuck, the original key and any copies will not work in the door. The solution could be as simple as moving anything that is blocking the bolt out of the way.
- Keys can become broken off in the lock. The cause of a key breaking in a lock is often the forceful insertion into a lock when the key is not properly aligned with the pins within the lock. This issue will likely need to be resolved by a professional locksmith.
The cylinder will need to be removed in order to push the broken pieces of key out of the pinholes located within the cylinder. Care must be taken during this process to ensure that pins are not pushed out of place, so it is best to contact a 24 hour locksmith in NYC to help with the issue.
- Locks can freeze in cold weather, and there is a possibility that a frozen lock will not move. An easy solution to opening a lock that is frozen is warming up the lock and retrying the key. The key can also be warmed up.
- Poorly made duplicate keys may bend inside the lock. The original key must be located and used in this situation, and high-quality duplicates should be made to replace the duplicate that does not work in the lock. Make sure that a locksmith uses top-quality materials and is knowledgeable in the field when having duplicates made.
Making Sure a House Key Always Works
Preventing a situation in which a person is locked out because a key no longer works is the best solution to the problem. Methods of making sure that a house key will always work in the lock include:
- Taking care when the house key is inserted into the lock. Forceful entry into the lock can cause a key to break.
- Making sure the correct key is being used. A key that does not open the lock could break off in the lock, and the assistance of a locksmith will be necessary.
- Testing duplicate keys as soon as they have been made. Try to feel for any bending or warping when the key is inserted into the lock. Cheap duplicates that are poorly made are often prone to breaking, so make sure to purchase only high-quality duplicates.
- Keeping the lock properly aligned. A lock that falls out of alignment can easily become stuck, and it is not always possible to align the lock without being able to open the door.
Anyone who finds themselves locked out of their home due to key issues can contact a 24 hour locksmith in NYC for help at any time of the day or night.