Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I do some maintenance on the neighborhood ice-skating rink. To control the lights, there is an outside electrical panel that is locked with a padlock.

This padlock always get frozen. Every time I need to mess with the light controls, I got a hard time to even get the key in, then I cannot even turn it. The only solution I found so far is to heat it up with my bare hands, to the risk of getting chilblain. That was sustainable when the weather was good, but the temperature is going down to -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit) this week.

Is there a easier way to unfrozen it?

share|improve this question
1  
possible duplicate of shed keyed door handle always freezes –  Niall C. Jan 24 '13 at 16:05
2  
They make a lock deicer spray designed to unfreeze automotive locks, but I don't see why it wouldn't work on other locks as well. You should be able to find it at your local automotive shop. –  Tester101 Jan 24 '13 at 16:07
2  
I'm going to disagree that this is an exact dup, one is about opening a lock once it has frozen, and the other is about preventing it from freezing. I've updated the titles. –  BMitch Jan 25 '13 at 2:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Get some lock deicer/lubricant. It's sold specifically for this and contains graphite and methanol. Shake well before applying. The methanol removes water and oil from the lock mechanism and leaves behind graphite well flooded through every nook and cranny in the device. You use graphite because it's a dry lubricant and unlike oil, it doesn't attract dirt or gum up like petroleum lubricants.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 Always use graphite on locks. The hunting around for this "special" lock lubricant is so beneficial, in so many ways. If you can only find the squeeze tube variant. Puff it into a thawed lock a couple of times, and then run the key in and out until it moves like a knife through warm butter. –  Edwin Buck Jan 28 '13 at 20:52

You should use a Zippo or gas lighter -- the ones with the blue flames.

It will super-heat the lock and then you can put the key in.

share|improve this answer
1  
Would the flame risk to damage the padlock? –  DavRob60 Jan 27 '13 at 22:16
    
Use it on the padlock body and move it around. You only need to warm it till the ice gives way. Don't direct it into the keyhole or around the cylinder, brass won't like being overheated. The major problem is you'll be doing it again every time you need to open the lock. Using a methanol based deicer attempts to remove the water that is causing the problem. –  Fiasco Labs Jan 28 '13 at 21:52
    
This goes without saying, but: don't mix the two methods! Methanol + flame = trouble. –  MT_Head Jan 29 '13 at 1:56

grab a bowl of hot beverage and let it steam on it a bit for a quick solution (any temporary heat source will do, like a hot pack)

for a more permanent solution take the lock inside and dry it out in rice like you would drowned electronics to get the lingering moisture out and then lubricate it with some penetrative oil so much that water can't get in to seize up the mechanism again

to prevent further seize ups don't let water enter it again; ensure it isn't exposed to rain or snow and seal of the keyhole with a plastic bag over the lock

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.