How to Open a Frozen Garage Door

How to Open a Frozen Garage Door

How to Open a Frozen Garage Door

Winter weather and cool temperatures aren’t just uncomfortable — they can also wreak havoc on your home, including your garage door system. Cold temperatures can cause parts of your garage door or motor to seize and struggle to open, but in extreme cases of winter weather mishaps, water can collect underneath your garage door seal and then freeze and prevent your door from opening. This can either leave you stuck inside your house or left outside in the cold.

Wood garage door on a blue home that is covered in snow

Luckily, if your garage door is frozen shut, you don’t need to wait until spring for the ice to melt. By being patient and following a few simple steps, you can release the door and safely leave or enter your home.

Opening a Frozen Garage Door

If you find yourself trapped inside or outside of your garage with a frozen door, do not try to open your door with the garage door opener or it could result in serious damage to both the door and the opener. You can quickly and easily open the door by manually disengaging the door from the opener and removing the ice that’s formed beneath the seal. While it may be tempting to save time by just forcing the door open, it could tear the weatherstripping, which would need to be quickly replaced to avoid future freezes, or damage other pieces of hardware on your garage door.

Manually open your garage door in the cold by following these steps:

  • Check that nothing else is stuck or broken: Before attempting to raise the garage door, visually inspect the other components of your garage door, ensuring no other parts are broken or damaged. By attempting to open a door with broken hardware, you could end up causing personal and property damage or harming other parts of your garage door. Do not attempt to open your garage door with the opener if you suspect the door is frozen shut.
  • Manually release the garage door: To safely open your garage door, you’ll need to manually open the door by disconnecting the door from the garage door opener. Disengage the door by pulling the red emergency cord. If possible, lift and lower the garage door to remove any frost or ice buildup.
  • Remove ice buildup: After releasing the garage door from the opener, if you cannot lift the door yourself, you’ll need to remove the ice buildup beneath the door. One of the easiest methods is to throw some salt at the bottom of the door to melt the ice. Don’t forget to wash away the salt after the door is freed to avoid damage to the exterior of the door. You can also grab a blow dryer or heat gun and, with the tool on its lowest heat setting, evenly guide it across the icy sections until the frost melts. Make sure you don’t let the door get too hot, as it can cause damage. If you don’t have a hair dryer or heat gun, you can try melting the ice by pouring hot water over the bottom of the door or using a tool to chip away at the buildup. If you choose the hot water method, you will then have to be sure to dry up the water before it refreezes beneath the door. If you choose the tool method, be very careful so that you do not damage any parts of your garage door.

Tips to Keep Your Garage Door From Freezing

The best way to navigate wintry weather is to avoid having your garage door freeze in the first place. By performing routine tasks and preventative winter weather maintenance, you can ensure your garage door reliably opens and closes during the cold months. Keep your garage door from freezing by following these tips:

  • After snow has piled around the perimeter of your door, proactively remove it and any ice buildup to avoid having the door get too cold and become frozen shut.
  • Easily avoid having your door freeze shut by keeping a lining of cat litter or sand under the garage door seal.
  • Regularly lubricate the moving parts of your garage door like the springs, tracks, rollers and hinges with lubricant products specially formulated for cold weather.

Contact EXL Garage Doors for Help This Winter

Having a frozen garage door is inconvenient and potentially time-consuming. If you find your garage door refuses to open, contact the professionals at EXL Garage Doors to help you dislodge the door and perform winter weather preventative maintenance tasks. For over 20 years, we’ve been dedicated to offering the most comprehensive, helpful and friendly garage door repair and maintenance services for homeowners throughout the Nashville, TN, area.

Learn more about how to keep your garage door from freezing by calling us today at 615-863-5106 or by filling out our online form to request services.

Preparing For Winter With Garage Door Maintenance

Preparing For Winter With Garage Door Maintenance

For most homeowners, their garage doors are the main entrance to their homes. Now, imagine coming home after work or running errands, preparing to relax and enjoy quality time with your family, and clicking your garage door remote only to find the garage door won’t budge. Being exposed to extremely cold temperatures, cool winds and excess moisture, it’s fairly common during the winter in Tennessee for your garage door to freeze shut.

Although finding your garage door frozen closed is inconvenient, this occurrence can be easily avoided by properly performing garage door winterization maintenance before the temperature drops.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

A home with lit up with Christmas lights covered in snow

Your home’s garage is used every day to facilitate safe and convenient entry to your home and store important items like your vehicle, paints and chemicals. Winter weather that seeps into your garage can wreak havoc on your possessions and garage door system, possibly allowing the parts to wear and freeze shut, leaving you stranded outside your garage or trapped inside.

Keep your garage door functional and reliable this winter by performing the following garage door maintenance tasks:

Seal the Garage Door and Replace Weatherstripping

The weatherstripping on the bottom of your garage door prevents pests, debris and outdoor elements and water from entering your garage. But with regular use, it will eventually become worn and cracked. Once the weatherstripping is damaged, water can seep into your garage. On a cold night, this water will freeze underneath the garage, preventing the system from being able to open.

Inspect for Damage and Repair Leaks

Besides the weatherstripping, check your garage door for signs of damage like cracks or holes that could also allow water into your garage. Also, check that there are no other areas of your home that could impact the quality of your garage like clogged gutters, cracked and uneven concrete, or poor drainage.

Like poor-quality weatherstripping, any area where water can leak into your garage can negatively impact several pieces of hardware or cause your system to freeze and refuse to open.

Lubricate Moving Parts

To ensure your garage door is always functioning dependably, professionals recommend lubricating all moving parts several times per year, especially before the winter season. Use regular-grade machine oil and coat the moving parts of your garage door, including the rollers, track, hinges, bushings and springs. These pieces of hardware can become corroded over time or tighten and stall when the temperature is cool. By keeping them lubricated, you can reduce wear and tear and prevent premature replacement.

If you’re unsure which type of lubrication to use for your garage door, consult with your local garage door professionals to determine which products work best for your system.

Remove Track Buildup

Garage door tracks allow the door to smoothly and efficiently raise and lower as needed. But over time, grease buildup and other debris can get clogged within the track and impact the functionality of the door. Too much dirt and buildup in the track will eventually prevent the door from being able to open or close. Before winter, clear out any debris to ensure your door always works as you expect it to.

Purchase a Battery Backup

When a winter storm whips through central Tennessee, there’s a chance the power in your home may go out. Not only is a power outage inconvenient and potentially hazardous, but it will also mean your garage door cannot open. Many garage door openers are compatible with a battery backup. Some newer garage door openers also come with a battery backup feature installed. If you’re stuck in a storm, you will find that a battery backup is a worthwhile investment.

If your power does go out and you do not have a battery backup, to safely get out of the garage you’ll have to disconnect your garage door from the opener and manually lift it. Easily disengage your door from the opener by pulling the red emergency cord, then lift the door open from the bottom. Once power has been restored, you can reconnect the door to the opener.

Choose EXL Garage Doors for Maintenance Before Winter

Don’t get stuck outside this winter with a frozen garage door. Instead, contact the experienced professionals at EXL Garage Doors to help you perform winter weather garage door maintenance. For over 23 years, we’ve been the best and most knowledgeable garage door professionals throughout the Nashville, Gallatin and Franklin, TN, areas. To schedule garage door maintenance services, call us today at 615-863-5106 to speak to a team member or complete our online form to request a free service estimate.