Problem with key stuck in deadbolt

kidhornAugust 19, 2011

I have a rear north facing door that has a double cylinder deadbolt lock. I keep having problems with the key getting stuck in the lock. What happens is the lock works fine for 6 months or so and then the key gets stuck. I get a new deadbolt lock and the same thing happens. The last lock was a kwikset that I bought at HD. I'm not sure what the others were, but knowing me, it was probably the least expensive one I could get at HD or Lowes.

The lock locks and unlocks fine, it's just impossible to pull the key out. Even if I take the lock apart, I still can't get the key out.

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Have you tried keeping the lock lubed? It sounds as though you may have some sort of moisture issue at this door that could be causing corrosion. If that is what is happening, then you have some larger problems that will need to be investigated.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 6:19PM
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Shoot in PB blaster and let it soak over night. When the key comes out, lubricate the lock every 3 months with white lithium grease or graphite.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:00AM
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Absolutely do not shoot in PB blaster, WD-40 or any other liquid lube. All of those lubes will put a liquid film in the lock and as finite granules of dust get pushed in with the key they form a mud that makes the pins stick, causing the type of problem you have now.

Go to Lowes, Home Depot or your local hardware store and you can get a small aerosol can of "Lock Ease" which is powdered graphite suspended in alcohol. The can has a small red like a WD-40 can so you can spray right into the lock. After Lock Ease is sprayed in the alcohol will evaporate almost immediately leaving a dry lube of graphite.

If you have a key stuck in the lock now, first spray some Lock Ease in beside the key, they using a small hammer or any handy tool, lightly tap the end of the key inward toward the lock. The shock of the tap will cause the pins in the lock to spring upwards momentarily and it will loosen the key so it can be pulled out. Once the key is out spray some more lock ease in the lock, then insert and remove the key a few times to loosen the pins inside the lock.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 5:39PM
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Thanks for the replies. I don't think it's a moisture problem. What's strange is I can pull the key out on the outside lock without any problems. It's the inside lock that keeps getting stuck. Maybe the kids are sticking something in the lock.

I'll pick up a can of lock ease. The current lock needs to be replaced. I was going on vaction and the key was stuck so I snapped it off at the base. The door has windows near the door knob and I couldn't risk someone breaking the glass and turning the knob.

I think the problem may be that the locks I keep buying are of very low quality. If this happens again, I'll probably look for a lock that doesn't require a key.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 1:50PM
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Quote,"The door has windows near the door knob and I couldn't risk someone breaking the glass and turning the knob."

That is a common reasoning amongst homeowners but not only is that a false sense of security, THAT IS ILLEGAL !

If the theives really want in they will simply use a cordless drill to drill the lock out, or perhaps a cordless saw to cut a hole through the door.

On the other hand, the law says that you must be able to open all primary egress doors from the inside with not more than two motions of the bare hand. Motion number one, turning the thumb screw on a deadbolt and motion number two, turning the door knob. Legally, if you have both a deadbolt and locking doorknob you may not lock the screen door, which would require a third motion to unlock.

The concern is that, God forbid, you should have a house fire and the door lock requires a key ppl would not be able to get out of the house unless they had a key.

Do not take this rule lightly. In nearly all states if someone should happen to be trapped in the house during a disaster because you had a key type deadbolt you could and most assuredly would be held both civilly and criminally liable for any injury or death that results from ppl being trapped in the house.

Now in regards to injury, a keyed lock automatically voids your homeowners insurance.

We just had an incident in Springfield, Mass where the homeowners had installed a keyed deadbolt on the inside of the back door. During the night they had a fire and both the homeowner and his wife were able to get out through the front door, but the wifes mother and their three children were trapped in the kitchen and died in the fire because they could not get a keyed deadbolt open.

The homeowner was charged with 4 counts of negligent homicide and sentenced to 12 years in prison on each count, the sentences to run consecutively.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 4:52PM
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Thanks for the egress compliance info, but I can assure you with or without the deadbolt, my house is fully egress compliant. Egress compliance is done at a floor level or at a room level if it's a bedroom. You can't judge compliance from a single door. I could replace the door with a wall and still be compliant.

According to your logic, then there's no reason to even have locks on doors. What's the point? A burglar can just saw them off or saw through the door or drive a dump truck through the side of the house.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:05AM
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Lazy's point is that if the bad guys want in bad enough, it's going to happen. You would be better off with a reputable security set up than worrying about high end locksets of any kind. The harder you make it for the bad guys, the more likely they are to pick another target and most will respect security devices in place an operable and will go elsewhere. His points on two keyed deadbolts and the threat they pose is definetely worth paying attentuion to. You are concerned with doors when the bad guys will simply enter through a window. A house in had wrought iron over every window, security doors, and a six foot wrought iron fencing all around. It resembled a prison. The bad guys climbed up on the roof and entered through a skylight!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:53AM
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If you think for one moment that the locks on your doors are protecting you from burglars you are sadly mistaken. At best locks keep honest ppl honest.

Back in the mid 1980's I took a locksmiting course and it I learned nothing else I learned that burglars are every bit as skilled at their trade as you are at yours, and the quality of locks that are commonly used on residential structures are little more than a minor inconvenience to a burglar.

I can assure you, it doesn't matter what type of lock you install, if I want in your house I can be inside in under one minute, and anybody with a library card can go to the public library and find the exact same text books that we used in the locksmithing course.

On the other hand, whether you care to accept the fact or not, if you install a keyed deadbolt on the inside of an exterior door, you are not in egress compliance and it doesn't matter how many other doors or exits you have.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 12:03PM
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In some ways, you are better off making it difficult for intruders to get your stuff out than trying to make it difficult for them to get in. I am planning on digging a moat and installing alligators.

Then there is another consideration. Does anyone know the first part of the joke that goes with this punch line?

I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Ionized,,,That joke is about two old guys that are deer hunting...One says to the other, what would we do if a hungry bear popped up...
The other says, run like he##...
First one says, at your age, do you really think you could outrun a bear?
Second says,,I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!

There is a variation of that about the Lone Ranger & Tonto are riding out in the middle of the prairie and all of the sudden about 100 savage indians appear....
Lone Ranger says, "What are we gonna do Tonto?"

Tontop says, "What do you mean WE paleface?"

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Similar to the one in my memory for sure: Two guys are out hiking. They surprise a bear and it charges. One guy takes off his hiking boots, gets out his running shoes and starts to put them on. His associate says, "don't you know that you can't outrun a bear?" The reply is the same.

The parallel is that I only have to make my house less attractive to criminals than most of those nearby. The challenge is figuring out how to make it less attractive to both smart and really stupid criminals.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:38PM
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One downside to having high end security systems with their logos all over your house, in windows, signs in the yard, etc stating "this house protected by...." simply tells the bad guys there must be some mighty valuable merchandise inside.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:53PM
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"smart and really stupid criminals"

The old bull and the young bull sittin' up on the hill looking down at all the good lookin' babe cows, the young bull gets all hyped up and says," hey old bull, let's run on down the hill and get us one"! The old bull says, " naw, lets walk on down and get 'em all"!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 7:00PM
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There are a number of things that improve your home security that most ppl would never think about.

1. Trim all the shrubs and bushes around your doors & windows so thieves cannot hide behind the bushes while picking the lock or otherwise forcefully gaining access.

2.Install window locks & actually use them.

3.Install motion sensor lights on all four sides of your house. Not only will they foil burglars, the light coming on unexpectedly will alert you there is some motion in that area.

4.Install the lights high enough that they require a ladder to access the lamp, otherwise the theives will just quickly unscrew the bulb.

5. If you must store your ladder on a rack on the outside of your garage make sure it is securely chained so the thieves can't use it to access an upper story window.

6. If you live in a one story house do not use a glider or long settee on your patio. Use individual chairs. Thieves can stand the glider or settee on end and use it as a springboard to get on the roof.

7.If you have a sliding glass patio door be very careful here. Many ppl lay a stick on the track on the inside so that the sliding door can not be slid back but the thieves know only too well that they can take a simple flat pry bar and pop the sliding door off the track and push it in. A better solution is to get a sliding door lock pin. To install the pin a 1/4" diameter hole is drilled through the interior door frame and into the sliding door being careful not to drill through the exterior of the door. When the door is closed the pin is inserted in the hole, which is through both the door frame and the door itself so the door cannot be lifted off the track. (the pins are available at any hardware store for about $2 and the pin has a little piece of chain that is attached to the door frame on the inside so the pin doesn't get lost when not in use.

8. Be very careful about who you invite into your home. In nearly all cases when the professional thieves are contemplating hitting a house they will first figure out an opportunity to get invited in so they can scope the place out and figure where your valuables are.

9. Get to know your neighbors and if possible form a neighborhood watch. Once your neighbors know you and are familiar with you or your extended family members who might visit, they will also notice strange vehicles or activity at your house and can call your house to see if everything is okay, if they get no answer they can call the police to check things out.

Years ago I was head of maintenance in a large apartment complex and we had been having a rash of burglaries. One day one of our elderly tenants came to the maintenance office and asked my help for a simple security idea. Once I saw it I was amazed at how simple it was. She had gone to a flea market and bought a used dog collar for a huge dog, along with a 10' chain that looked as if it could be used as a tie down chain on an 18wheeler. She asked me to attach the chain to a wooden post on her patio and she just left the chain laying on the side like she had just taken the dog in. She then put down a huge water bowl and put a sign on the door saying "Beware of the dog". Within a couple days we saw ppl walking down the sidewalk behind her apartment and they would actually pause to see if the dog was out before they walked by. How ingenious is that?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 9:16PM
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On the other hand, whether you care to accept the fact or not, if you install a keyed deadbolt on the inside of an exterior door, you are not in egress compliance and it doesn't matter how many other doors or exits you have.

That is totally incorrect. You should actually read egress codes. There's nothing in there about keyed deadbolt locks. It's all about firemen with gear being able to get into your house and having more than one exit per floor and one exit from every bedroom.

Why would double keyed deadbolt locks exist if installing it automatically violated egress code?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 12:57PM
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Kidhorn,,it is you who should fully read the egree codes....

The code has absolutely nothing to do with firemen entering your house. Believe me, if fireman want in a lock on the door is the last thing they will worry about.

The concern is that in an emergency ppl will naturally go to the closest exterior door and if they cannot open that door they will panick and fight that door rather than go to another point of egress, but what the hell do I know,,I am only a licensed locksmith...

Don't believe it, call your locksmith, or better yet,,call your attorney and see what your liability is if you put a keyed deadbolt on the inside of an exterior door in your house.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 4:31PM
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"call your attorney and see what your liability is if you put a keyed deadbolt on the inside of an exterior door in your house. "

Liability to who?


A restriction in the use of double cylinder deadbolts is not enforceable except maybe in a rental unit.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 10:11AM
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If you will read my post above,,,we just had a homeowner in Springfield, Mass who installed a keyed deadbolt on the back door, and they had a fire in the house. The homeowners mother & 3 children were trapped and died in that fire and the homeowner was subsequently convicted of 4 counts of negligent homicide and went to jail for 12 years, but all of you ppl seem to think you are smarter than the law, so do it your own's no skin off my nose and I damn sure ain't gonna continue arguing with ppl that are stupid enough to risk their own life or the lives f their family in a foolhearty effort to protect their precious trinkets.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 3:55PM
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"all of you ppl seem to think you are smarter than the law"

No, we just think the law in this case is an ass.

Only in Mass would a person be convicted in such a case.

The People's Democratic Republic of Massachusetts strikes again.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 4:14PM
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