What To Do If Your Garage Door Freezes Shut This Winter

For those who live in cold climates, winter can be extremely difficult. With temperatures below freezing, garage doors can have a host of issues. The heavy doors can freeze to the ground, ice can form between the panels, and the low temperatures can cause the steel in the door to contract, which can prevent the springs and hinges from functioning properly. If your garage door isn't opening on a particularly frigid day, it's likely frozen shut or the cold is affecting the door's mechanisms.

It's important not to keep trying to use the garage's remote to open the door if it doesn't work the first time, as this could damage the door's motor. Check around the outside of the garage door to see if ice is stuck around the bottom or in between the panels. If there's no visible ice, try to open the door manually, but be gentle. If the door opens, the problem could be from the cold contracting the metal rather than the door freezing shut. Attempting to manually open a garage door when ice is present could break or pull off the weather seal on the bottom of the door.

Unfreezing your garage door

If you're certain your garage door is frozen shut, you'll need to get rid of any ice or snow in front of the door. With an ice scraper, you can carefully remove the ice from the bottom or edges of the door, though this may not always be enough to get the door open. Hot water, hair dryers, and space heaters can also be used to try to melt the ice but keep in mind that the water may refreeze after you leave.

If you're using a hair dryer, make sure to use it on its lowest setting and keep it moving across the door, as applying heat to one spot for too long can damage a garage door's rubber seal. Pouring hot water over the ice outside is a great way to unfreeze your garage door in a pinch, but you'll need to open the door quickly before the water has a chance to freeze. You could also use a dry cloth to wipe up the water before it freezes.

How to prevent your garage door from freezing

One easy way to prevent your garage door from freezing shut is to move your car outside as soon as you start it. While it may be tempting to let the car warm up a little before you get in, this can cause ice around the garage to melt, and when you return, the door will be frozen to the ground. If your garage door freezes regularly, try sprinkling table salt on the ground where the seal touches. This will make it more difficult for water to freeze and affect your door.

Keeping the area outside your garage free of snow and opening the garage once a day can also help avoid issues with the door freezing. Using a heater to regulate the temperature inside your garage is a good preventative method as well if the door freezes frequently, but it's a more expensive option. If you've tried several methods to get your garage door unstuck and it still won't open, you may need to call a professional.