How to Remove a Broken Key
There are a few instances that you may find you've broken off your key in the lock. If you look and see there is a bit of the key hanging out of the keyhole, you've probably got a decent shot at getting it out. Sometimes you're able to fish the broken part out with the aid of a pair of pliers.
Simply get a pair of pliers and gently turn the broken key to the upright position. Next, gently pull on the broken piece with the pliers while giving the doorknob just a little jiggle back-and-forth. If you still can't get the key out, you may have bigger problems and need a professional locksmith to find out what caused the key to break off to begin with.
Whatever you do, you shouldn't leave this situation unattended. Some criminals are quite clever and will see this as an opportunity to dig the key out themselves. They'll then make a quick trip to the hardware store and get a new key made so they can come back and use it later.
Tighten a Loose Door Knob
A loose door knob can cause several problems that need immediate attention; from breaking keys off, to a door that won't latch well, to a locking mechanism that won't catch all the way leaving you at risk. Any way you cut it, loose door knobs are just troublesome and unsafe.
Unless the door knob is quite old to begin with, usually all that's required is to tighten the screws holding it in place. It's a simple matter to check the whole mechanism over looking for loose or missing screws.
If you find any loose screws, use your best judgement to line everything back up and tighten the screws a bit at a time until everything is secure again. If you find there are missing screws, it's likely time to have the whole assembly replaced by a professional locksmith.
Lubricating a Sticky Door Lock
Over the course of time a door lock set gets used a countless number of times. Being mechanical, it only makes sense it will become sticky and require a bit of lube to remain in good operation. This can be especially apparent during different times of the year, depending on where you live.
On the surface, it seems like an easy matter just to shoot a little light spray oil in the keyhole and let it go. However, this is not how a lock should be lubricated and will eventually cause the locking mechanism to become gummed up and become unusable; usually at the worst possible time.
Petroleum based spray lubricant such as WD-40 or Tri-Flow made for the task is needed to do the job correctly. These lubricants can be purchased at your local hardware store for a few dollars, and provided the lock isn't past its prime, will do the job just fine. However, if you still have trouble with the lock after lubing it up, you'll likely need a professional to find the real source of the problem.
Time to Call in Professionals?
Although some smaller problems that occur with door locks are easy enough to fix yourself, you need to remember that your family's security and your property is at stake. The longer you avoid making repairs, the worse the problem will become. If you have any doubts about your repairs, it's probably time to call a professional locksmith; you'll sleep better knowing the job has been done right.