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.

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