Stuck garage door in the cold: what are the solutions?

Frosted glass

If you live in a northern climate, you are well versed in the winter routine of snow removal, ice scraping, and shoveling. Yet, you can waste a lot of time due to a stuck garage door. Especially, when you need to get your car out of the garage to get to work. Here are few tips to avoid a stuck garage door and what to do if it freezes shut.

What causes your garage door to freeze shut?

When temperatures drop overnight, any water from rain or melted snow gathered under your door’s rubber seal can freeze. This then leads to a stuck garage door. Typically, the temperatures in a garage, even one that is not insulated, are warmer than the temperatures outside. This means you should not have too much ice to remove.

How to open a stuck garage door?

Has your garage door frozen shut again? You can try the following solutions to open the door:

First, do not try to open the door with the automatic garage door opener as you may burn out the motor. Instead, pull the emergency release cord, usually located in the center of the door assembly. You will then be able to manually lift the door. Try to pull the door up to see if your strength is enough to break the ice seal. If it isn’t, head outside with an ice scraper. Scrape the ice that has formed between the door and the concrete with an ice scraper.

Still no luck? Aim a heat gun at the bottom of the door. While this may take a bit longer, working the gun along the entire edge should do the trick. In a hurry? You can pour hot water along the edge. However, this will add an extra layer of water that may then freeze again.

How to avoid a stuck garage door in the winter?

Here are a few things you can do to avoid your garage door from freezing shut:

  • Before winter sets in, replace your weather seal. A good weather seal will prevent cold air and water from seeping into your garage.
  • After a storm, shovel snow and ice away from your garage door. This will help prevent overnight freezing and a potentially stuck garage door.
  • Additionally, you can sprinkle salt along the line where your door meets the concrete. This may help prevent freezing.
  • Finally, apply a lubricant such as a silicone spray to the garage door’s tracks, rollers and hinges. This will keep your door running smoothly and make it easier to open manually should it freeze shut.

Bonus tip: use a heater to heat your garage in the winter. While gas heating is less expensive, installing a gas heater is more complex. It requires a supply and exhaust line. An electric heater, while costlier, requires no real installation.

A frozen garage door is not uncommon and fairly easy to fix. For any other garage door problems or repairs, contact Les spécialistes des portes Exitech inc. today.

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