Homeowners have plenty of work to do to make sure their homes are ready for the harsh winter months. From insulating windows to checking that heaters are functioning properly, there is a sizeable checklist of things to inspect and repair to ensure the cold temperatures stay outside and the warm comforts of the home remain inside.
Often, people forget to inspect the gateway of the home — the garage door. With its many moving parts and exposure to extreme winter elements, your garage door has a tough task in the winter. Make sure your door is functioning at its peak before winter strikes to potentially save yourself from stressful moments down the line.
How Your Garage Door Can Be Affected by Cold Weather
Low temperatures, snowstorms, sleet, ice and wind all take a toll on your garage door. One of the effects of cold weather on your garage door is the metal components shrinking. This can put extra friction on the door, forcing the opener to work harder. When your opener works overtime, it can decrease the door and opener’s durability and life span.
If your garage door is wooden, it can absorb moisture from rain and melting snow. This causes the wood to expand, creating pressure between the separate sections of wood. The increase in door size strains the moving parts of the garage door such as hinges and the hardware that holds them together. Moisture can also contribute to your garage door’s metal components rusting. If your garage door is made of metal, rusting can grow into an even bigger issue.
If your garage is connected to your home, it is also the last line of defense between your living space and extreme winter elements. Cracked weather stripping or an uneven seal allows frigid air to enter your garage and creep closer to the inside of your home. Constant contact with cold temperatures can also result in the garage door freezing shut.
Steps to Prepare Your Garage Door for Winter
If your garage door is working perfectly, you can enjoy the convenience it offers without much thought. When it starts to malfunction in any way, the garage door is difficult to ignore until it is fixed. It could even prevent you from entering or exiting your home like normal if it unexpectedly breaks.
This is especially true in the winter months when an issue is much more inconvenient than during the pleasant days of summer. That’s why it’s wise to make sure your garage door is functioning properly before you experience any mishaps. Get ahead of potential issues, and your garage door could run smoothly throughout the winter months and beyond.
Here are some tips to prepare your garage door for cold weather to make sure your schedule stays on track:
- Tighten the hardware: Your garage door may open and close nearly a thousand times per year. This daily use generates heavy vibrations and constant impact, which could loosen the garage door hardware. Use a socket wrench to make sure all the nuts and bolts are secured.
- Lubricate the moving parts: Checking that the moving parts of your garage door are well lubricated is a quick and easy way to protect the door’s long-term performance. Use a spray lubricant on every moving part, including the overhead springs. Doing this can minimize unpleasant sounds and the strain on your garage door opener.
- Clean the tracks: Removing debris, gunk and other obstacles from the garage door tracks is another easy measure you can take to prevent malfunctions. You can also check to see if your tracks are level on both sides. If not, consider calling a garage door professional to make necessary adjustments.
- Inspect the rollers: Damaged or broken rollers can prohibit the smooth functioning of your garage door opener. They can also contribute to loud noises when the door opens and closes. Check to see if the rollers are cracked, chipped or loose. If they are, it would be wise to call a professional to install new rollers.
- Check the cables: The high-tension cables on your garage door are dangerous to try to adjust yourself. Professionals highly recommend letting an expert fix or replace the cables, but you can still check to see if yours need any work. If you see any loose strands of cable or signs of damage, you’ll know it’s time to request a professional repair.
- Test the garage door balance: If your garage door is unbalanced, the opener may be forced to use more effort in opening and closing the door, which could result in costly damage over time. Pull the red release handle to disengage the opener and manually move the door to the halfway position. If it falls closed or slides open, your garage door is unbalanced and should be adjusted by a professional.
- Give your garage door some TLC: Applying a new coat of paint or stain to your garage door does more than enhance its visual appeal — it protects it from weather and rust. Before the weather gets too cold, consider repainting or staining your wooden garage door and any exposed metal hinges. Sand and paint your metal garage door to likewise protect it from rust.
When to Call a Garage Door Expert if Your Garage Door Freezes
If you go to open your garage door and find it won’t budge, it may be frozen shut. Inspect the door to see if you can identify where the issue is located. Most of the time, ice may have fused the door to the ground. If you try to dislodge the ice by kicking the bottom of the door or engaging the opener repeatedly, you could cause damage to the door or opener.
From the outside of the door, you can try to dislodge the ice by hand with a scraper. Another good method is to use a heat gun and aim it where the garage door meets the ground. Either of these methods may successfully dislodge the door. If you find your garage door still won’t open, there might be another issue that an expert should take a look at.
Choose Central Ohio Garage Door to Prepare for Winter
At Central Ohio Garage Door, we provide quality service for the communities of Newark and Columbus to cover all your garage door needs. With some routine maintenance work, our skilled technicians can keep your garage door running smoothly for years to come.
It’s never too early to start preparing your garage door for winter. Now through December 17, we’re running a $60 tune-up deal to help you prepare your garage door for winter. Stay one step ahead of the issues that could arise this season by contacting us today to request an estimate or schedule an appointment for service.