You’re heading out on a cold morning, bundled up and prepared to go. But when you try to leave, you realize your garage door is frozen shut. Or perhaps you arrive at your business, ready to work. But when you try to open the garage, the door doesn’t move. If your garage door gets stuck when it’s cold or you want to prevent a frozen garage door, you need this guide.
Your garage door is a main entry point to your home or business, so you need it to function year-round. Learn more about how to get a frozen door open and prevent this problem in the future.
What to Do If My Garage Door Is Frozen Shut
If you try to open your garage door but it won’t budge, don’t try to push the automatic opener button again. Doing so risks damaging the door or the system, creating a dangerous situation.
The first thing you should do if it’s cold and your garage door won’t operate is check that your garage door is frozen to the ground. You don’t want to go through all the steps of unsticking your door if there’s really an issue with the opener. If you see ice built up under the weather seal, continue with these steps:
- Remove and chip away ice: Grab an ice scraper and move to the outside of your garage. Chip the ice away, being careful not to hit the weatherstripping seal along the bottom. Remove as much as you can and sweep it away from the door.
- Loosen your door away from the frozen seal: With the excess ice removed between the door and the ground, try to lift the door manually. Don’t force the door open if it doesn’t move easily. Instead, go back and try to chip away more ice or follow the next step.
- Apply heat to the frozen area: Set a blow-dryer or heat gun to a low temperature and direct it at the remaining areas of ice buildup. If you have a heater in your garage, you can turn that on near the door, keeping the heat low, to help melt the ice. You can attempt to chip away the remaining ice once it’s somewhat melted.
During these steps, try not to use too much force. Disengage the automatic opener and try to lift the door manually. That will avoid putting strain on the opener system. You could also consider using hot water to help melt the ice, but note that if temperatures are extremely low and you use a lot of water, it could create more ice later on.
If you have ice melt or rock salt, you could throw it down for a solution that will take longer but won’t involve as much effort on your part. Once the ice melts, you need to clean away the salt to prevent corroding the material at the bottom of your garage door.
As for how to close a frozen garage door, you may need to check the panels and other components to make sure nothing is frozen there. Use a hair dryer or heat gun on a low setting to melt the ice away from these areas and close your garage door. You could also contact American Overhead Doors for services to avoid causing any damage to your garage door or opener system.
How to Prevent My Garage Door From Freezing Shut
Preventing a frozen garage door can save you the hassle and time required to unstick it. If you know cold weather and freezing conditions are on the way, take some steps to help maintain your garage’s functionality, especially when your garage door freezes to the ground often:
1. Clear Water, Ice and Snow Early
Whether you just unstuck your garage door or you’re checking it before cold weather, clear any ice, snow and water from the floor. The sooner you catch these concerns, the easier it can be to maintain your door. If the garage door can operate, keep it open as you scrape, sweep or shovel the ice and snow away.
If the temperature hasn’t dropped yet but the garage floor is wet, open the door and dry the area. Use dry towels and mops to pick up the water or a wet vacuum if there are any puddles.
Clearing ice and snow away also involves keeping your driveway clear. Your vehicle or anyone walking into the garage can track in snow, and snow close to the garage door can end up underneath it. That could eventually create a garage door that’s frozen shut.
2. Keep up With Maintenance
Preventative garage door maintenance is essential to maintain the door itself and the opener system. While you should take care of your door throughout the year, it’s essential in the winter for preventing a frozen garage door. Keep up with maintenance with these steps:
- Lubricate the seal at the bottom of the door.
- Lubricate other components, like rollers, springs and hinges.
- Look for moisture buildup.
- Check for damaged or worn components.
If you notice any problems with the garage door opener components, contact a professional for repairs and maintenance assistance. An opener is a delicate system with parts under great tension, and trying to maintain those yourself could create a dangerous situation.
3. Open and Close the Door Periodically
Operating your garage door can help it from freezing. As the garage door moves, thin layers of ice that started to build up can more easily break away. That can make it simpler to clear away ice later, and it could prevent your garage door from freezing shut.
If you’re able, manually opening and closing the door is ideal. You don’t want to risk damaging the opener system by automatically opening it if the door is stuck. With your door in the closed position, pull the release cord. That disengages the opener and lets you lift and close the garage door manually. When you’re done, pull the cord toward the door and reengage the opener.
4. Layer Sand or Salt Where the Door Touches the Ground
Throw salt down where the garage door touches the ground to prevent ice from forming in the first place. A light sprinkling of sand or rock salt is sufficient, so avoid spreading too much. That could impact the weatherstripping at the bottom of the door.
Once the weather warms up, make sure you sweep away leftover salt or sand and clean the components at the bottom edge of the garage door. This helps to avoid causing damage while trying to prevent your garage door from freezing to the ground.
5. Avoid Warming Your Car in the Garage
Running your car in a closed garage is dangerous because it releases carbon monoxide. Even with the door open to let the hazardous gas out, your car can melt ice and snow on the garage floor, creating puddles of water under the door. Unless your garage is heated, those puddles will refreeze once you leave and shut the door.
6. Install a Garage Heater
A garage heater can keep your garage warm and comfortable, making it more suitable to store your items year-round. A heated garage can also prevent your door from freezing as the floor is warmer and prevents ice from building up. It’ll also keep the door warmer to prevent sticking throughout the panels. Buy an insulated garage door to help your garage heater stay efficient.
Contact American Overhead Doors for Garage Door Services
If your garage door sticks in cold weather, seek help from the experts at American Overhead Doors. We’ve been proudly offering our services to all of Connecticut for decades. Those years of experience and our expert team of trained technicians give you the best residential and commercial garage door services in the state. Whether your garage door gets stuck in winter or you need services other times of year, call on us to help.
Contact us today to schedule garage door services, whether you need replacements, repairs or help with a frozen garage door.