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Frozen Garage Door Woes: What You Need to Know

Garage door open
Your garage door helps protect the contents of your garage, providing a barrier against the weather and intruders. You expect it to open at the touch of a button, but sometimes it can't, especially during those cold winter months. There's nothing more frustrating than being unable to open your garage door because it is frozen shut. Here's what you need to know about that frozen mess, and what you can do about it.

What Makes the Garage Door Freeze Shut?

It takes more than freezing temperatures to make your garage door freeze to the ground – water is another culprit. When ice and snow accumulate at the bottom of the garage door and stay there, the rubber seal of the door can freeze to the ground. During the day, warmer temperatures melt that ice and snow, which trickles between the door and the concrete. When temperatures plummet below freezing, the water quickly freezes and seals the door to the ground.

What You Should Not Do

When your garage door cannot open, it may be tempting to force it open by continually pressing the open button on the remote. Don't. The motor might just burn out from the forced exertion or, worse, the connecting bar between the motor and the door will suddenly snap and break. You might end up replacing the entire unit and still have a frozen garage door.
Also, don't try using brute strength to wrench the door from its frozen tomb.  Depending on how thoroughly the door is frozen, you could tear or snap the brittle rubber running along the bottom of the door. Don't be one of thousands of garage door injuries each year - if the ground surrounding the door is icy as well, you could end up slipping and injuring yourself. 

What You Can Do Instead

There are a couple of methods you can use to free your frozen door. The safest and easiest way is to use a heater to slowly melt the ice and snow cementing your door to the ground. This method may be slow, but it is the easiest.
Clear a space inside your garage to accommodate the heater. Place the heater inside your garage facing the garage door; don't place it so close the rubber on the door melts. Don't leave the heater unattended due to the risk of fire. As the temperature of the garage rises, the ice beneath the door should begin to melt. Gently lift the door when you are sure it is free.
If you're in a hurry and don't have time for the heater method, using hot water is faster but can be tricky.
First, try to remove as much ice and snow as possible so you can access the entire length of the bottom of the door. Fill a large bucket with hot water and slowly pour it under the door, then quickly open the door before it has a chance to refreeze. Be careful when you use the hot water method as the area around the door will ultimately turn into a sheet of ice when temps drop later. Sweep away as much water as possible and use salt to melt that ice patch later.

How to Prevent a Future Frozen Door

There are several ways to prevent a garage door from freezing to the ground in the future. Make sure you always remove accumulated snow and ice from the area in front of your garage door and sprinkle the ground with salt. Also, replace that old rubber seal along the door – tiny cracks and tears allow water enter and freeze, helping your door freeze to the ground.
 Consider installing a permanent garage heater to keep your garage above freezing during the winter and enjoy a warmer car as well. For more ways to keep your garage door in shape during the winter, visit the experts at R & S Erection Of Richmond.