Frozen Door Handle.....


Old 12-24-17, 04:30 PM
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Frozen Door Handle.....

Have this on going problem with Main Door Handle to the House Freezing Up all the time.. Have tried many different types & styles.. From Touch Pad Entree to Handle / Deadbolt Lock.. Canadian Winters in Eastern Ontario when the Temps dip below -15'C guaranteed Key won't work, tumblers frozen... The front of the house faces a direct South , so when the Sun beats down during the day and hides at night any condensation just freezes... Have talked to Door Mfg and they say to install a Storm Door would just Whorp the Inside Door... Said all this to ask, Is there not a simple Locking Mechanism on the Market that would be free of freezing up without Breaking the Bank ???
Old 12-24-17, 04:39 PM
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Tried something as simple as spraying the lock with WD 40?
WD stands for water displacement.
No water, no freezing.
Old 12-24-17, 05:04 PM
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Locksmiths hate WD-40 as a rule. At least the ones I've spoken with. It's ok to use to try and free up a sticky mechanism, but not for a final treatment. I see Lock Eze and TriFlow mentioned quite a bit.

I can't imagine what other mechanism you could actually try, seem's like you've hit the basics. I've actually never had a lock freeze up that leads to the interior conditioned space. Normally enough heat is transferred through the handle to prevent freezing...unlike a car or handle on an unconditioned detached garage or outbuilding.

What about one of the electronic ones that uses your cell or a fob? Isn't the entire mechanism inside on those? Nothing to freeze up that way.
Old 12-24-17, 05:15 PM
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I agree with WD40, and not just a quick "psst", but rather prefer to give it a pretty good shot. You can hold a paper towel under it to catch what runs out. Like Joe said, it's a water dispersant, which is primary, but I think it also helps flush out the tiny pieces of grit and dirt that keys pick up in pockets. But I also like to use a liquid graphite like Lock-Ease about once a year. Also, and I don't know that I have ever read or heard anyone else advocate for it, but I always install locks with the flat side down, tumblers on top, so that whatever does find its way into the lock is less likely to work it's way into the tumblers.
Old 12-24-17, 11:49 PM
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I vote absolutely not on the WD-40. It will attract dirt and after the more volatile components evaporate it gets sticky. I would far prefer that you spray some cheap automotive starting fluid in the lock. Starting fluid is about 90+% ethyl ether and the cheaper the brand the higher the ether content. Ether is soluble in water and therefore will remove the moisture as well as the WD-40 but without leaving behind any residue. Spray it in the keyhole, insert and remove the key several times wiping it on a clean rag every time and spray it again. Turn the key numerous times as well and in the end spray some graphite powder into the hole and repeat the key in and out as well as turning it multiple times to distribute the graphite.
Old 12-26-17, 05:55 PM
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Let me understand this. You say they told you NOT to use a storm door? That it would warp the entrance door? I call BS on this. A well made and well installed storm door is exactly what it says it is. A storm door. And as such will protect against things of this nature. I will say that an all glass or full view door if facing the sun can actually make the entrance door very warm and the brass door knob hot to the touch, but not warp it (assuming its of at least average quality) . They do however make e-glass that will protect the sun from over heating the opposite side of the door.

Just one example...I have had my storm door on for over 40 years and it faces the noon and evening sun. In all that time with heavy snow against it and extreme temps both hot and cold never has the lock frozen due to weather or had a problem due to a storm door installation. I have had the lock replaced due to wearing out.

PS...Triflo is the stuff to use.
Old 12-29-17, 02:50 PM
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Storm door would solve the problem (and prolong your main door) but it's not a cheap solution.
A good electronic lock, with batteries on the inside (to stay warm) and weatherproof sealed keypad outside, would solve, but again, not cheap. Baldwin (et al) make a rim mounted bit key lock (like old-fashioned locks used to be in USA, and still used much in Europe) wherein the key is inserted all the way thru the door to access the lever tumblers, completely isolated and warm from the outside elements, but again, not cheap.

Answer: keep a can of Tri-Flow handy, (or similar-check specs for cold temp. suitability), and give it a shot weekly during vulnerable weather conditions---the residual product will displace water and withstand lower temps than water. At worst, you'll have to put up with a bit of residual product on the key, which you can wipe on your jeans.
Old 12-30-17, 09:23 AM
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I had a similar issue with a patio door that would freeze up at bottom of threshold.
My solution was to, VERY carefully, Warm up the area with a heat gun. Just enough to free door up. Keep checking it opening up.
Old 12-30-17, 09:47 AM
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Was just working at a customers house doing a floor job... its been below zero F, and she has an icing problem on her storm door and so she keeps a hair blow dryer next to the door to thaw it out on days that it likes to freeze shut.
Old 12-30-17, 08:12 PM
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Another "NOT" for the WD40. As Joel said, it is a heavy, sticky lubricant dissolved with a light component that evaporates. I have years of experience cleaning it out of office machines where well intended people thought they could make things better.

Question, where is the moisture coming from? During freezing weather the outside air is usually very dry and the door handle, although cold, is warmer so would not invite condensation.

That leaves the warm moist air inside the house as a likely source. I'm just speculating here but can you cover the inside door handle in some temporary manner to keep that moist air away from the locking mechanism?

Note, I've always used graphite on my car locks.

Comment: We have a lot of storm doors up here in cold country. Not sure why they are concerned.
Old 12-31-17, 10:01 AM
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If you haven't already tried a Schlage deadbolt then this might be a fairly low cost solution. Purchase it from a locksmith and make sure that the cylinder components are brass. The cylinders in Schlage deadbolts (and many other brands) sold by big box stores are not brass. I find that cylinders made from lower quality metals are more susceptible to freezing.

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