08:34:26 am on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

Broken Door Knobs
Matt Seinberg

As most homeowners know, more than one thing usually goes wrong at the same time. This week, our front door knob and dead bolt decided to start sticking. The lock and dead bolt stuck such that my wife, Marcy, couldn’t get into the house when she came home from food shopping and called me on her cell phone.

Locked out of your home is scary.

I say almost locked out because I told her to open the back door and use the spare key that I keep in the garage. I was work when she called in hysterics. I really couldn't take much more, so I said goodbye and hung up.

A few minutes later, she called me from inside the house. She said I needed to do something about the locks. I said I would.

Later that night, I opened the lock and dealt bolt. I used Liquid Wrench on those parts and lubricated the key so the cylinders would work easier. That is a temporary solution. The next day, I called Kwikset. I was already in their system, as I had had made a warranty claim years before. The lock and dead bolt set I have is discontinued. I'm getting a new model at no charge.

The Kwikset warranty is great, lifetime on the finish and the mechanics. I emailed the phone rep a picture. As soon as she got it, she ordered me the new set. They only do the same finish, so I didn't bother to try to claim the set on the back door. As it is brass, I wanted a new brushed-nickel finished set.

The installation instructions offered little guidance and lousy diagrams.

Tonight, I went to Home Depot. I bought the lock and dead bolt set that included a top deadbolt and a bottom knob and lock. The instructions are very bare bones, with lousy guidance and diagrams.

I took off the top deadbolt, first, and went about installing the new one. I actually got it to work, even though it's upside down. At that point, I didn’t care about right side up as long as it worked. Now on to the bottom; this should have been easier to install.

Nope, I was wrong. The bottom was much harder to install.

These lock and dead bolt sets have a feature that allows the new locks to be changed, but use old keys. I changed the top lock and that key worked. Then I tried to install the bottom lock; it worked with the keys that came with it, but after I re-keyed it, nothing worked. Then everything froze up and I couldn't even get the latch out of the door without using a hammer.

Utter frustration!

Tomorrow morning before work, I'm going to stop at Home Depot again, and see if they will open up a new set, and just give me the parts that I need. I am not taking out the deadbolt since that works.

I'm pretty handy, but when something as simple as installing a doorknob takes all night, and causes me to sweat profusely and get mad, it's time to give up and try again another day.

There are times when I miss living in an apartment with a superintendent that I'm friendly with and will pretty much help me out with almost anything. My wife, kids and cats certainly can't fill that role. I'm on my own.


Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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