A common problem with garage doors this time of the year is that they can become difficult, if not impossible to open and close properly. The dreaded combination of cold temperatures and ice formation can have a wide range of effects on your garage door—for example, lubricants can harden, seals can stick, and garage door openers can run sluggishly. The following shows how you can take care of these issues and ensure your garage door works flawlessly throughout the winter months.
Break the Ice
At temperatures below freezing, moisture that collects on your garage door can be frozen in place, creating a sheet of ice that could seal your garage shut.
If you're dealing with just a thin sheet of ice, you can break winter's icy bonds simply by letting your garage door opener open and close as normal. If you don't have a garage door opener installed, a light tap around the door with an ice scraper can help break up light ice buildup.
If you're dealing with heavy ice buildup, you can use a hair dryer or heat gun to melt the ice away from the door edges. Just be sure to avoid letting the hair dryer or heat gun linger on any particular section of the garage door, otherwise you could end up damaging the paint or leave burn marks on the door itself. You can also spray a small amount of deicing solution on the garage door and wait until the solution unthaws the ice.
You'll also want to be careful when dealing with frozen weatherstripping. For instance, using an ice scraper or a flat shovel to bust up ice buildup could also damage the now-brittle weatherstripping. Using a heat gun or hairdryer could also put the weatherstripping at risk of melting or warping. Instead, use the deicing solution to free your garage door and then spread a small amount of table salt along the area where the bottom weatherstripping meets the ground. The table salt should prevent the seal from sticking under freezing temperatures.
When you're done, be sure to sweep away any remaining bits of ice and clean up any leftover water from the garage floor. Leaving any ice or water behind could create a slip-and-fall hazard for you and your loved ones.
Handle Frozen Lubricant
Your garage door relies on its lubricant to provide smooth and consistent garage door operation. However, constant exposure to freezing temperatures can cause this lubricant to harden, making it nearly impossible for your garage door to operate properly. Frozen lubricant can also expose metal garage door components to rust and corrosion, especially in areas where road salt is commonly used.
In order to take care of this problem, you'll need to get rid of the old lubricant. Depending on how hardened it is, you may end up chipping chunks of lubricant off of the tracks and other parts of your garage door. In most cases, however, you'll just need some paint thinner, a toothbrush and a few rags you don't mind throwing away afterwards. Use the toothbrush to scrub the paint thinner into those nooks and crannies and use the rags to wipe away the lubricant.
After making sure your garage door's moving parts have been properly cleaned, you can set about reapplying the lubricant. It's a good idea to stick to silicone-based spray lubricants, as these lubricants tend to retain their lubrication properties under freezing temperatures better than other lubricants. Nearly every moving part on your garage door should be thoroughly lubricated, including the tracks, chains and metal rollers.
Afterwards, make sure you've wiped up any overspray you come across with a clean rag. Test the garage door and make sure it opens and closes properly before calling it a day. If you need further assistance, contact residential garage door repair companies before winter truly settles.