Winter Garage Door Maintenance
Be Prepared in Advance
As snow squalls, deep freezes, and bone-chilling temperatures settle in throughout Calgary, you may feel the need to bundle up in blankets and stay indoors for the next few months.
However, your garage door needs care and maintenance now more than ever. Extreme temperatures and stormy weather can cause a variety of problems, including warping and freezing your opening mechanisms. Without proper maintenance, your garage door may need expensive and time-consuming repairs.
Use the following tips to ensure your door functions properly throughout the winter season.
Prevent Damage with These Tips
While it may seem like a losing battle to keep up with your door, a little prevention goes a long way when you want to avoid costly repairs.
Clear Away Ice and Snow
Don’t wait until a warm patch clears away ice and snow. The rubber seal on the bottom of your garage door can stick to the ice and make it difficult to open. If you try to force open the door, you may tear the bottom seal, strip the gears from the machine, or even burn out your operator from the strain.
Door already frozen? Chip away the ice beneath the door with an ice scraper, and place a portable heater nearby to slowly melt the ice. You could try pouring hot water over the ice to melt it, but this method isn’t ideal since the hot water will cool and freeze, potentially worsening the problem.
Sprinkle Salt or Kitty Litter
One of the best ways to keep your garage door from freezing shut is to sprinkle salt where the seal meets the concrete. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, minimizing ice buildup.
Some homeowners prefer to sprinkle kitty litter as an alternative to salt. While it doesn’t melt ice, kitty litter absorbs water and provides extra traction for your car.
Apply Silicone Spray to the Seal
Silicone sprays repel water, which reduces the amount that enters the seal and freezes. Cooking spray and vegetable oil will achieve a similar effect, providing enough water repellent to keep it from sticking.
Keep in mind that silicone spray lubricants can last several weeks per application, but repeated usage may damage foam rubber seals and paint. Cooking sprays can also dry out or disintegrate the rubber with regular use, so apply sparingly.
Open Your Garage Door throughout the Day
Sunlight can help melt ice around your garage door, so open it throughout the day. This will keep your door from sticking to the ice, and it breaks up any frost that may have formed on your panels.
If you’re worried about burning out your operator, pull the manual release cord to open the door by hand.
Lubricate Garage Door Tracks
While you should lubricate your garage door throughout the year, it’s especially important to lubricate it during the winter. This helps your garage door parts easily glide along their tracks even when winter weather strikes.
While WD-40 may work as a last-minute fix, try to find a lubricant designed specifically for garage doors and their components.
Spray everything from the springs to the rollers to the bushings and hinges, and re-spray everything a month later to reinforce it.
Repair Damage with These Tips
Extreme temperatures can cause a great deal of damage to your door, despite your best efforts to maintain it. Fortunately, you may be able to repair some of the damage yourself.
Metal contracts when temperatures drop. This causes springs, screws, and other metallic components in your garage door to shrink and seize up during the winter months. While you can’t prevent the metal from contracting, regularly lubricating the parts ensures they continue to function properly.
While lubrication plays a significant role in keeping your door running smoothly, too much lubrication can have a negative impact on your door as well. Excess grease in the tracks can throw rollers out of alignment, making it difficult to open and close your door.
When you apply lubricant, wipe away any excess grease with a cloth. If you worry about grease buildup, contact a local garage door technician to strike the right balance for you.
Low temperatures can thicken and harden grease until it offers little to no lubrication. Before you add more lubricant, clean away any old, hardened grease from the rollers and tracks with a cloth. If needed, use a solvent such as WD-40 to remove old grease and dirt. Then, apply a silicone-based oil to keep your door running smoothly in winter.
Many garage door tracks rely heavily on aluminum, which is susceptible to warping and bending in extreme temperatures.
Freezing and thawing in winter can distort the frame, causing it to jam. You may be able to use a hammer to pop out any dents, but in many cases, you’ll need to call a professional to repair your garage door or install a new one.
If any of these repairs or preventative tips sound too difficult or complicated for you, don’t hesitate to ask a professional for help.