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How to handle frozen locks

Locks can freeze in Winter when it snows or rains. Here are some tips to unfreeze them.

Published: 11/23/2023

How to handle frozen locks

In Chicago, we lock our Block Bins with a 4-digit padlock. Unfortunately, locks are prone to freezing when both:

  1. It rains or snows
  2. Temperatures remain below freezing

Chicago winters are tough enough without a frozen lock thwarting your composting efforts.

Don't worry, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to avoid and thaw frozen locks.

  • Be Prepared: Locks are most likely to freeze after snowfall or rain during freezing temperatures. They will naturally thaw when temperatures rise above freezing. Keep an eye on the forecast to anticipate potential freezing conditions.
  • Warm water: When you know a lock is frozen, bring some warm water in a reusable coffee mug, and carefully pour some on the lock to thaw it.
  • Gentle warmth: Often, simply holding the lock in your cupped hands for 10-20 seconds, or using your warm breath, is enough to melt the ice and free the dials. However, avoid this method if the weather is too cold to touch the lock comfortably.
  • Handwarmer helper: Consider bringing a handwarmer with you when accessing your bin in freezing weather. The warmth can help thaw the lock quickly.
  • De-icing solutions: Lock de-icer is a readily available option. Alternatively, a small amount of hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol on the dials can also help melt ice.
  • Preventative Measures: If snow or rain is forecasted, consider leaving the lock open after using your bin. This will prevent moisture from accumulating and freezing within the lock mechanism.

Still Frozen? We Can Help!

If you've tried these tips and your lock remains frozen, don't hesitate to contact us. Our drivers are equipped to handle frozen locks and can usually resolve the issue within the week.