Garage door repair may be needed during any season, but winter presents the greatest hazards. Your garage door can get frozen to the floor or even water damage can occur; however, Aero Garage Door is here to help! Click here to learn about protecting your garage door during the winter weather.
Exposure to cold and ice is exacerbated by the door’s location and the fact garages are typically less insulated than most other areas of a home. Even a slight draft from the garage door itself, or a window left slightly open, can bring on conditions that lead to damage.
Weather Hazards and Garage Door Problems
Cold, snow, ice, and water are the main culprits. Water will freeze anywhere the temperature falls below 32°F. Even if the sun melts the snow during the day, it will likely refreeze at night when the temperatures plummet. Snow can wreak havoc on even a new garage door. Accumulation during snowfall can affect it, especially if the ground near the concrete floor is cold enough for moisture to freeze. However, blowing snow can drift up near a garage door as well.
The most common problems in the winter can leave your garage unusable, but can often be prevented:
Door Is Frozen to the Floor: Freezing temperatures and blowing snow can cause the door to freeze to the floor. You need to leave for work, and this couldn’t happen at a worse time. Accumulating snow can freeze, or melted snow refreezes into ice that sticks to the rubber edge of the door and the concrete floor. There are ways to resolve this, but forcing the panel open can burn out the motor or break the component connecting the motor to the door. Manually opening the garage door may cause serious damage or injury.
Garage repair will be needed if you’re not careful, but the following methods may save you from sudden expenses:
- Clear the snow that is against the door.
- Break up patches of ice along its length.
- Pour very hot water to melt the ice; try to open the door before it refreezes.
- Use a portable heater to melt ice from the inside of the garage.
A Spring Has Broken: Strain on the door and wear and tear in general can lead to spring breakage. The chill may leave the metal spring more fragile than it normally is. Safety cables can act as counterweights if a spring does break, so installing one may avoid danger. Regular maintenance can keep your springs in better shape or can find problems, so they can be replaced in advance of the winter season.
To check the springs, lift the door manually, let go, and see how it responds. Any downward movement means the springs are worn and you need garage door spring replacement, but the door will stay in position if they’re in good shape.
The Garage Door Opener Fails: In winter, cold temperatures can affect the consistency of lubricant. Moving parts require lubrication to run smoothly and reliably. If the lubricant thickens, it can not only make the opener stiff; it can register as an obstacle. The automatic stop/reverse function may activate, so the door may stop dead in its tracks, even though nothing is in the way.
Water Damage Has Occurred: In some cases, water can damage the door itself. Wooden garage doors, along with their frames, can swell if moisture has penetrated the material. Swelling can cause the door to get stuck, possibly in an open position where you don’t want it (creating a security risk for the entire home). The swelling may also occur between the door and frame, causing parts to rub together and increasing wear and tear—overhead garage door repair will then be needed sooner rather than later.
A garage leak can occur as ice melts, and it may result because of:
- Cracks: Porous concrete is prone to developing holes. Where there’s water, there’s leakage, and if ice within expands, the holes get bigger. Even if you don’t see puddles in the garage, the wall and the door are still at risk. Moisture can damage the door structure or electrical components that control it or quickly create an environment for mold to grow. Therefore, any tiny holes or drafts found must be fixed right away.
- Missing Roof Insulation: An insulated roof keeps heat inside. If there’s not enough or none at all, the heat from in your house and garage will rise through the ceiling and to the roof. Escaping thermal energy melts snow on top of the roof. Ice damming, or ice that previously melted and refroze before it could drain, can occur. The water will slowly work its way under the shingles, into the walls, and, ultimately, your garage.
Damaged Equipment: The damage need not directly involve the door for it to fail. Radio transmitters can succumb to the cold or humidity can leave condensation on battery contacts. The risk is especially high if the device is left inside the vehicle, and the garage isn’t insulated. Condensation can also affect infrared security components, including photoelectric sensors on the sides of the garage door. Frost may even form, preventing the system from working properly.
During the winter, there are many steps you can take to avoid garage door replacement. Your garage door is more likely to survive the season if you:
- Remove snow and ice from around the door, preventing excessive accumulation and refreezing.
- Apply table salt where the door contacts the driveway floor, reducing the freezing point of water.
- Tread carefully when attempting to open a frozen door; if it won’t budge, try melting the ice or call a professional for help.
However, preventative measures done ahead of time can prepare your garage for the winter. If the garage is warm and well-insulated, there may be fewer problems even if there are prolonged cold spells. These strategies will protect not only your garage door, but your paint, equipment, and vehicle as well.
Regular Maintenance: An inspection should be completed before winter sets in. Check the garage door and all associated moving parts. Disconnect the door opener and check the function of mechanical parts on a regular basis, and continue basic maintenance tasks throughout the winter, including clearing away snow and ice. Cables, springs, pulleys, tracks, and sensors should be checked and repaired/replaced as needed. About once a year, consider hiring a garage door professional for a thorough inspection.
Replace Weather Stripping: The seal becomes less effective over time, as weather stripping tends to become brittle after a while. Small cracks can allow drafts of cold air inside. If you feel a chill when the garage door is closed, inspect the seal. Worn weather stripping can be removed with a putty knife or a pry bar and flat scraper; next, measure where the new sealant will go and apply the material, ensuring it’s aligned with the edge of the door.
Fix the Garage Door: You can insulate a garage door with a foam board, fiberglass, or reflective material. First, you’ll need to cut the insulating material to size, so it fits within the door panels, and secure it with adhesive. Garage door replacement is also an option. Newer, more modern units come with insulation options and are better equipped to tolerate the cold.
Add Wall Insulation: By insulating the walls, you keep the cold out from all sides, ensure heat doesn’t escape, and help keep outside conditions less ideal for ice damming.
Install a Heater: Put a heater in your garage in advance of extreme winter weather. If you install a gas unit, it will have to be connected to gas supply lines; plus, you’ll need an exhaust vent. Electric heaters are an option but can add to your electric bill. They’re more economical during a mild winter. However, mini-split heat pumps are more efficient and can even provide cooling during the summer.
Clear the Rain Gutters: Ice can block gutters and cause water to run off, or regular water runoff can expose doors to water and moisture. By clearing the gutters, you avoid exposure that can cause door material to swell or otherwise be damaged by liquid or frozen water.
Lubricate Parts: Apply the lubricant to the springs, rollers, hinges, and garage door tracks. It reduces friction between moving parts, reducing wear, and is also waterproof. Similar to salt, it can lower the freezing point of water, so it doesn’t freeze as easily.
Inspect the Springs: Check the garage door springs using the steps mentioned earlier. Do not wait until the spring season, as breakage can occur unexpectedly in the cold. The parts should be inspected periodically throughout the winter.
Contact Aero Garage Doors for Garage Door Repairs or Replacement
Aero Garage Doors can help winterize your garage. For over 25 years, we have been providing maintenance services for all types of garage doors, spring repair, and new garage door openers to customers throughout Virginia and Maryland. For information on replacement doors, garage door replacement free estimates, and insights on the latest new models and options, send us a message online, chat with a specialist, or email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.