There are a lot of excuses that will get you out of work in winter: I have the flu, there’s a level two snow emergency, or I’m in the hospital after a skiing accident. Those are understandable absences, but my garage door is frozen shut…that probably won’t cut it with your boss. Don’t worry; there are easy precautions to take to keep your garage door from sticking and simple steps to unfreezing it if its already frozen.
The first thing to do when your garage doesn’t open is to stop using it! Pressing the button multiple times won’t unstick the door, but it could burn out your motor or damage your door. Check to be sure the door isn’t locked and examine the door for any broken parts or obstructions. Next, pull the manual release cord (It’s the big one overhead) to disengage the door from the mechanism. Try raising and lowering the door a few times by hand to break up any ice that has formed. If you can’t raise it by hand, there’s probably some ice and snow buildup outside. Head into the wild outdoors and try a few of the techniques listed below. You’ll have the door open in no time.
READ MORE: 5 Winter Safety Tips for Your Garage
When you need to open a frozen door, whether it’s frozen from the outside of inside, there are a few easy things to try first. Pulling out a hair dryer or heat gun is the best place to start. Use only the low setting and move it regularly back and forth along the seal, not staying on any one part for too long. You may need to do this both inside and outside the seal before the door raises. Another option for unfreezing your door is to use boiling water. You have to be quick with this one because once the hot water hits the ground, it will start to freeze too, so this is a technique best tried with a friend. One person slowly pours the water along the seal while the other immediately opens the door. The only downfall of this technique is that you now have more water to potentially refreeze your door.
Avoid chipping away at the ice as this can do damage to the weather stripping at the bottom of the door. Sometimes, the easiest option could be to wait for mother nature to take over and melt everything for you. If the temp is supposed to rise above 32 degrees that day, maybe you can just wait. If you need to get going and nothing you have done will open your garage, call the professionals. The team at Sears Garage have emergency serves that are designed to get you and your garage up and running in no time.
They say prevention is the best medicine and that’s true, at least when it comes to your garage door. If you want to avoid the chances of your garage freezing shut, then you need to take a few extra precautions. First, make sure you are clearing existing snow and ice from your driveway or at least the area around your garage. Doors most often stick because water has gathered between the weather stripping and the door seal and fused them together. Replacing your weather stripping or door seal is a great idea since worn out materials can hold ice inside nicks and cracks. Using a silicone spray on your seals can also reduce the chances of freezing. Silicone has a lower freezing point than water so lubricating your seals, rollers, wheels, and hinges can help keep your door in proper working order.
Another good way to prevent ice from freezing your garage shut is to heat your garage. Even a little bit goes a long way to helping avoid these inconveniences!