Sometimes, a house key will get stuck in your front door lock, either because the key or lock is wearing out, or because you used the wrong key. When this happens, you might not be able to open the door, or you might not be able to remove the key so you can lock up securely again. It's easy to damage the lock if you aren't careful. In order to protect your lock, follow the steps below to see if you can free your key safely.
Gently jiggle the key.
If just one or two of the key's teeth are snagging, wiggling it a little can help ease the key past the obstruction. It can also help you adjust the angle you're pulling at, or encourage the pins inside the lock to move more freely. After wiggling the key and seeing how much play it has, try again to gently slide it out of the lock.
Try using ice.
Like most solid materials, metal expands slightly when it's warm and contracts when it's cold. Cooling down the key with ice can shrink it a bit, potentially just enough to free it. Get some ice in a plastic bag to avoid getting the lock wet, and hold the ice against the key for a minute before trying to move it again.
Twist or yank the lock.
If there's one situation worse than a key stuck in a lock, it's a key broken off in the lock. Now not only is there no chance of fixing the lockout problem yourself, but you'll also have to pay to have a new key made. Avoid any forceful motion that might snap the key, and especially don't push sideways against the key handle.
Disassemble the lock.
Locks are complex mechanical objects. Removing the lock from the door won't free your house key, as you would have to break open the actual cylinder. If you break open the cylinder, it's unlikely you'll be able to put it back together again correctly, and it may never work the same. This is a job that should be left to a professional locksmith if it needs to be done.
For help recovering a stuck house key or repairing a lock, choose ADA NY Locksmith Inc. in New York, NY. Serving the five boroughs for over 30 years, they maintain a storefront on East 26th Street in addition to traveling to your location to fix and replace door locks. Call (212) 689-1803 or visit them online for more information about their services.