How Changes in Temperature Affect Door Locks

The changing weather is a surprising cause of lock issues. Due to fluctuating temperatures, residential and commercial locks can jam or fail to work. High humidity in summer can cause excessive moisture, particularly for exterior wood doors. Rising temperatures expand the door and warp the wood around the lock, making it difficult to turn. There are several methods to prevent and resolve lockout issues due to weather.

Typically cold weather affects door locks more often than hot weather. When temperatures fall below freezing, the door frame tends to contract a bit, and also cylinder pins might become frozen and too rigid. Especially if it was humid before freezing temperature. Also, a door frame hole can cause a poor fit between the lock latch and the door itself due to temperature expansion, but that’s quite rare compared to cylinder stiffness.

However, not every lock is prone to fail due to weather conditions, some of the locks will work no matter what which some people might find super crucial.

Do locks get stiff in the cold?

Yes, locks might get stiff in extremely cold temperatures. If a lock has a pin system, below-freezing point temperature might freeze springs with pins that go up & down when the key is inserted. You might feel that the key won’t go smoothly as it used to on normal days, it is because pins won’t let the key pass through their cuts & depth.

Do locks freeze in the cold?

Yes, some locks might freeze with the right concentration of humidity and freezing point temperature right after that. Moisture tends to work its way into locks while the outdoor temperatures are still warm. Then, when cold weather sets in, this moisture can freeze within the lock. To prevent frozen locks, you can oil them before the first frost of the year.

What temperature do locks freeze?

We know that at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celcius and below, the water turns to ice. If there’s any moisture inside your lock when this conversion occurs, it may cause the lock’s internal components, such as the pins, to freeze up. As a result, you won’t be able to open the lock until the ice has melted.


I am Rauan, I have over 4 years of experience as a locksmith tech and then as the owner of my own company. I live in Houston, TX, and love to provide valuable insights related to locks. Enjoy reading

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