What to Do If a Garage Door Is Frozen Shut

You get in your car to leave for work on a cold winter morning. You press the button to activate the garage door opener — and nothing happens. Maybe you hear the mechanism straining a little bit, but no matter what you try, it won’t open. You go to inspect the door to see exactly what you feared — ice is on the bottom of your garage, and the door is frozen to the ground.

If this nightmare hasn’t happened to you yet, it may only be a matter of time. Having a garage door frozen shut is not as uncommon as you may think in areas where the temperature drops extremely low in the winter, and you should be prepared if it happens to you.

How to Fix a Frozen Garage Door

If your garage door is frozen shut, what you shouldn’t do is keep pressing the garage door opener. All you’ll be doing is putting a strain on your system — you might even break the opener, the garage door or both. Instead, follow these steps:

    1. Make sure the door is unlocked. Your garage door may have an interior slide lock and a lock button. Make sure the lock is not enabled.
    2. Do a visual inspection. Make sure there is no other obvious reason why the door may not be opening. Has a spring broken or a cable come loose? Are the rollers off the track? Is there something wedged in some part of the door preventing it from moving? Is the garage door opener on and getting power?
    3. If your visual inspection doesn’t bear any fruit, the next step is to try to open the door manually. First, pull the manual release cord to deactivate the garage door opener. Then, try to pull the door free from the ice by hand. If you succeed, congratulations! Lift and shut the door a few times to get it fully loose and get rid of all the frost, then re-engage the garage door opener and try again.
    4. If it’s really frozen tightly to the ground, get a blow dryer, and at minimum setting, run it back and forth along the bottom of the door until the ice melts enough for you to pull it free. Then, repeat the step above.
    5. If the blow dryer isn’t working — or if you don’t have one — there are other quick-fix methods you can try, including:
      • Pouring boiling water along the bottom of the door and then pulling it free before it refreezes
      • Using an ice picking tool to chip the ice away — just be careful of the seal at the bottom of the door
      • Adding hot salt water or rock salt to the door — if you do this, make sure to clean it off once the door is free
      • Setting up a space heater in front of your door, although this takes a lot of time and energy

Preventative Steps

A better method than having to defrost the bottom of your garage door is not to experience this problem in the first place. There are a few steps you can take to help you avoid having to deal with a garage door that is frozen shut:

  1. Clear ice or snow away from the area under your garage door whenever you see it. The longer you let it sit there, the greater the chance that ice will build up and freeze the bottom of your door.
  2. Prepare for winter weather by lubricating your entire system with a silicone-based lubricant, including the rubber seal at the bottom.
  3. Even if you spend most of the winter indoors, try to periodically open and close your garage door to prevent ice from building up.
  4. To help prevent freezing, lay a layer of sand across the area where the door comes down to the ground.

Contact Liberty Door and Awning for Garage Door Repair and Maintenance in New Jersey

Another smart idea to protect your garage door from the cold is to schedule your annual garage door maintenance for just before the cold season starts.

When you call Liberty Door and Awning for garage door maintenance, trained professionals will come to your home, lubricate your garage door system, check for any parts to replace and make sure your garage door will continue to operate properly throughout the winter.

For a free estimate on maintenance or repair, contact us today.

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