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5 Common Lock Issues in Pittsburgh Homes and How to Fix Them

What You’ll Learn from This Article

By reading this blog article, you will gain valuable insights into common lock issues that Pittsburgh homeowners often face and how to address them effectively. Specifically, you will learn:

  • Identifying Home Lock Problems: Understand the common lock issues such as sticking or jammed locks, broken keys, misaligned door locks, worn-out locks, and frozen locks that can occur in your home.
  • DIY Lock Fixes and Maintenance Tips: Learn practical, do-it-yourself solutions for troubleshooting and fixing minor lock problems, including cleaning locks, adjusting strike plates, and defrosting frozen locks.
  • When to Seek Professional Help: Recognize situations where professional lock repair or replacement is necessary and how residential locksmith services can efficiently resolve these issues.
  • Preventative Measures: Discover tips for maintaining your locks to prevent common problems, such as using appropriate lubricants and upgrading to high-security locks.
  • Enhanced Home Security: Gain insights into improving your home’s security through proper lock maintenance, timely repairs, and knowing when to upgrade to more advanced security systems.
  • Expert Advice: Learn from the expertise of Pittsburgh locksmith experts who provide reliable, professional services to keep your home secure and functional.

By the end of the article, you’ll be equipped with knowledge and practical tips to handle various lock issues, maintain your locks effectively, and know when to call in professional help to ensure your home remains safe and secure.


Locks are an essential part of home security, but like any mechanical device, they can experience issues over time. Pittsburgh homeowners often encounter a range of home lock problems that can compromise their safety and convenience. Understanding these common issues and knowing how to address them can save you time, money, and stress. Here are five common lock issues in Pittsburgh homes and how to fix them.

1. Sticking or Jammed Locks

The Problem:

Stuck door locks or jammed locks are a frequent issue caused by dirt, debris, or worn-out components inside the lock mechanism. This can make it difficult to turn the key or get the lock to latch properly.

The Solution:

  • Cleaning the Lock: Use a lubricant specifically designed for locks, such as graphite powder or a silicone-based spray. Avoid using oil-based lubricants as they can attract more dirt.
  • Professional Help: If cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, the internal components might be worn out. A residential locksmith can disassemble the lock, clean it thoroughly, and replace any damaged parts.

2. Broken Keys

The Problem:

Keys can break inside the lock due to metal fatigue or excessive force, resulting in a broken key in lock. This leaves you unable to use the lock and can potentially damage the internal mechanism.

The Solution:

  • Key Extraction Tools: Use a broken key extractor tool, which you can purchase at a hardware store, to remove the broken piece. Insert the tool into the lock to hook the broken key and pull it out.
  • Call a Locksmith: If you’re unable to remove the broken key yourself, a Pittsburgh lock expert can extract the key without damaging the lock and provide a replacement key on the spot.

3. Misaligned Door Locks

The Problem:

Over time, doors can settle or shift, causing the lock and strike plate to become misaligned. This lock alignment issue makes it difficult to lock or unlock the door.

The Solution:

  • Adjusting the Strike Plate: Loosen the screws on the strike plate and adjust its position until it aligns correctly with the lock. Tighten the screws once it’s properly aligned.
  • Professional Adjustment: If the door or frame is significantly warped, a residential locksmith can assess the situation and make necessary adjustments or recommendations.

4. Worn-Out Locks

The Problem:

Worn-out locks experience wear and tear over time, which can result in difficulty turning the key, the key getting stuck, or the lock failing altogether.

The Solution:

  • Rekeying or Replacing: If the lock is worn out, rekeying it might resolve the issue if the internal pins are the problem. If the lock body is damaged, lock replacement is the best option.
  • Upgrading Security: Consider upgrading to high-security locks for enhanced protection and durability. A residential locksmith can provide recommendations and install new locks efficiently.

5. Frozen Locks

The Problem:

In Pittsburgh’s cold winters, moisture inside locks can freeze, making it impossible to insert or turn the key. This is a common lock cylinder issue.

The Solution:

  • Defrosting: Use a hairdryer to warm the lock or carefully apply a de-icing spray to melt the ice. Do not use boiling water as it can damage the lock and door.
  • Preventative Measures: To prevent freezing, apply a lubricant designed for cold weather to the lock before temperatures drop. This helps to repel moisture and prevent freezing.


Lock issues can be frustrating and potentially compromise your home’s security. By understanding these common door lock faults and knowing how to address them, you can maintain the functionality and security of your locks. However, some issues require professional assistance. Pittsburgh lock experts are equipped to handle a wide range of lock problems efficiently and effectively, ensuring your home remains secure and accessible. Don’t hesitate to contact a trusted locksmith for any lock repair solutions you encounter.

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