When the wind blows and snow drifts the threat of a frozen garage door is real in Madison WI. Common sense steps protect against a door freezing to the ground. They save time and money in garage door repair, too.
The first step preventing a door from freezing shut is keeping snow away from the rubber seal at the bottom. Snow that melts and refreezes at the bottom of the door is the number one cause for concern. Unfortunately it’s not always possible, especially if your garage door faces north and gets no direct sun.
When You Have A Frozen Garage Door
If you press the button your garage door opener and nothing happens there’s obviously a problem. The first thing you must do is to stop pressing the button – if it is a frozen garage door you can damage the garage door opener’s motor and drive system. Here are steps to take when your find ice:
- Disengage the drive system – pull the manual release cord and try to open the door by hand.
- Resist the urge to “kick it” – if the door doesn’t open with your own force and maybe a little vibration, whatever you do don’t kick the bottom of the door. That’s a great way to accomplish two things – hurt yourself and damage the door.
- Be careful – too much force on a frozen seal can rip it off the bottom of the door.
Make It ‘Hotter’
If your efforts fail, here are suggestions on how to thaw the ice holding the door:
- Hot water – pour hot water on the area where the door is frozen to the ground. Try to open the door as soon as the water has time to hit the ice. Wait too long, especially if the temperature is still below freezing, and you’ve made the situation worse.
- Apply heat – if you have a heat gun, aim it along the bottom edge of the frozen garage door and move from side to side. The process is slow but sure. You might have to apply the heat both inside and outside the garage.
- Chemicals – apply salt or a chemical ice melting agent to the bottom of the door. Most of these work quickly if they can reach the entire area. Melting the edges often weakens the ice enough for you to open the door. After you’ve freed the door, clean the seal and any metal parts where salt or chemicals reached to avoid future corrosion.
- Scape and chip away ice – use a windshield scraper to gently chip away at the ice built up at the bottom of the door. Ice doesn’t form evenly so you can see where it’s thick and work there first. Try to lift the door after a few tries. Chipping away ice is a last resort. One wrong move and you damage the seal or the door and cause a problem and brought on a significant garage door repair.
Avoid Garage Door Repair Caused By Ice
Extreme cold is hard on the components of your garage door. If it freezes shut the efforts to open it put even more strain on these parts.
Once you get the door open and working again the job isn’t finished. When temperatures remain below freezing, the door can freeze shut again if you don’t take steps to prevent it. Your options include:
- Remove water – once the door is open, make sure there’s no water puddled at the bottom. When the door comes down in a puddle and sits overnight in the cold it freezes tight again.
- Leave the door open – if it’s safe, leave your garage door open an inch or two so it doesn’t touch any melted snow.
- Coat the seal – when you know there’s snow coming or extreme temperatures spray the rubber seal with a silicone lubricant or a vegetable oil to keep it from sticking. While you’re at it, apply a garage door specific lubricant rated for cold weather and lube all the moving parts.
- Use the door – during frigid conditions regularly open and close the door manually to keep ice from building up so door sections don’t stick together. Manual operation reduces stress on the opener.
- Be proactive – shovel snow away from the bottom of the door so it doesn’t melt and freeze to the seal. Put down a layer of sand or kitty litter beneath the entire door seal so it won’t freeze.
Garage Door Experts On Call
Because the garage is the main point of entry for most homes it has to open on command. Wisconsin snow and ice are no excuse. Call Northland Door Systems at 608-251-3627 or email us for professional assistance to maintain your equipment complete a garage door repair and protect you from the untimely hassles of a frozen garage door in Madison WI.