If you own a filing cabinet in your home, you're likely grateful for the security, but sometimes those home cabinets -- especially the two-drawer type -- can be a bit troublesome. Sometimes they don't lock properly, or worse, they don't lock at all. Much of the trouble is easy to fix, but it does take some vigilance because the problem can recur. Here are three things to look for when troubleshooting an uncooperative filing cabinet.
Drawer Won't Stay Locked
You've closed the door and turned the key, but when you try to pull the key out of the lock, the drawer comes with it. This shouldn't be happening if you've locked the door, right? Take a look at the lock assembly on the inside of the door and see if it's loose. If it is, it's possible that the assembly has rotated a bit. Many home file cabinets have a flat piece of metal on the bottom drawer that rotates up when you turn the key. The metal is supposed to fit in a slot in the bottom of the top drawer, effectively locking the two together. However, if the interior lock assembly becomes loose, it can rotate so that the long piece of metal is now in the wrong position, and nothing is there to fit into the slot even though the lock looks normal from the outside. All you have to do is tighten the assembly and ensure that the long piece of metal turns up when you turn the key.
Empty Drawer Unlocks but Jams and Won't Open
When you have a full drawer, it's not unusual for one of the items inside the drawer to be out of place and to get stuck as you're trying to open the drawer. But if the drawer is empty and it won't open, that can be very frustrating. Reach into the drawer if you can and feel along the side rails, the parts that you rest files on. See if one of them has fallen to the side just enough to catch on the cabinet wall and prevent the drawer from opening. You should be able to push the rail out of the way (or take a pen and push the rail using that). Once the drawer is open again, ensure the rails are seated properly, and tape them down if needed to keep them in place.
Can't Turn Key All the Way to Lock
Remember that slot that the metal piece on the lock assembly is supposed to fit into? Well, the metal won't fit if the slot is blocked. If the top drawer of the cabinet is stuffed full of papers and file folders, some of those might be blocking the slot. That would prevent the metal piece on the assembly from fitting into the slot. Rearrange your files or force the files back so that the slot is clear.
If those still don't help, or if you come across another problem, talk to a locksmith, like Tri-County Locksmith. They can often figure out what's going on fairly quickly, and if necessary, they can replace the lock assembly on the cabinet.