How Does Winter Weather Affect Your Garage Door?

Black home from door with windows

How Does Winter Weather Affect Your Garage Door?

Residential garage doors are large moving objects but are also huge conveniences to homeowners — especially in the winter when harsh weather conditions can impact you the most – the cold, ice and snow. What happens when the cold of winter starts to affect your garage door?

Garage door problems can occur in cold weather that all homeowners should know about. While some of these issues are more serious than others, all of them have a fix.

Frozen Ground

When water pools at the foot of your garage door after a heavy rain or snowmelt, it becomes susceptible to freezing. In this case, the frozen water may seal your garage door shut, preventing you from accessing the garage or storing your vehicle. Luckily, this is an easy fix – you can sweep away any puddles or snow to prevent your garage door from sticking in cold weather.

If your garage door is frozen, try some of the following remedies:

  • Scraping: Use a scraper to scratch off the ice.
  • Release cord: Open the door manually using the emergency release cord – once the door is operating normally it can be reconnected to the garage door opener.
  • Heat gun: Melt the ice using a heat gun (or hairdryer).


Ice Between Panels

Most garage doors are sectional or have panels that separate with hinges as the door opens and closes. In cold weather, the openings between these panels can collect moisture and freeze, preventing the door from opening.

Similar to solving a frozen garage door, warm air from a heat gun (or hairdryer) can melt the ice between the panels and allow the door to operate properly.  So as to not damage the door, scraping or pouring hot water on the panels is NOT recommended.

Your Garage Door Is Probably Metal

Most residential garage doors are metal – and most likely steel (although some may be aluminum).  Steel is affected when it’s cold by contracting.  And while this may not affect the garage door panels very much – it can cause issues with the components of the door – hinges, cables and especially springs.  The spring or springs (depending upon your setup) handle lifting and lowering the weight of the door.  When temperatures drop and the garage door and the components spend the night in sub-freezing temperatures your garage door may not work as planned. Sometimes warming temperatures will solve the problem but if the door is opening slow, not opening at all or really noisy when opening then it’s time to sort out what’s going on.  Sometimes, it may just be routine maintenance like lubrication (see below) or it may be time to replace worn or broken parts before the door comes off track or causes damage to the garage door sections.

Routine maintenance is a great project for a homeowner, however other repairs like hinges, cables and springs – may be best if left to a garage door professional for service.

Lubrication Issues

Your door has a lot of moving parts and must be properly lubricated to ensure that it opens smoothly, especially in the winter or it may get stuck or jam shut completely. On the other hand, too much lubrication can lead to a similar problem and cause the same types of issues.  

For the best results, use a lubricant specific to garage doors or, if you live in an especially harsh environment, a lubricant suited to your specific environment. A good rule to follow is to lubricate ONLY the moving parts of the door – hinges, pullies, rollers and torsion springs (mounted on a tube above the door – not the springs that stretch out next to the track).  Spray lubricant on the part of the hinge where the upper and lower part are joined, for rollers spray where the stem meets the roller (or wheel-looking part that’s in the track) and for torsion springs – give a good spray or two to the full length of the spring.  Normally there is NO reason to lubricate the actual door tracks.

Contact Hunter Door for Garage Door Service Today

If you experience a major issue with your garage door in the winter, the experienced technicians at Hunter Door can help. We offer expert garage door repair and installation services performed by highly trained professionals to ensure that your door looks and functions as it should.  And even if it’s not a “major” issue don’t hesitate to give us a call – sometimes a quick conversation is all it takes to solve the problem and we are here to help! 

Contact us to learn more about our services today!

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