As the winter season approaches, you might be getting ready to prep your home for the cold. One thing you need on your to-do list is winterizing your garage door. It could be costly if you overlook this task or put it off until it’s too late.
Your garage door is exposed to rain, sleet, snow and other adverse weather. Without the proper winter garage door maintenance, cold temperatures can cause your door to wear out faster and not operate as it should.
How Can Cold Weather Affect Your Garage Door?
During the winter in Wisconsin and Minnesota, temperatures can drop well below zero. These extreme temperatures can cause the door’s metal parts — especially screws, tracks and springs — to contract. This can make it difficult to open and close your garage door when you need to and make these metal parts more susceptible to warping and breaking.
Without a winterized garage door, you might not be able to close or open it during a snowstorm or deep freeze. If you can’t close your garage door properly, the cold can seep into your home’s living area. Additionally, you may not be able to open your door when you need to leave your home.
How to Winterize Your Garage Door
There are plenty of proactive steps you can take now that will help prevent garage door damage that can occur in cold temperatures. Some of these steps can be done year-round, but they are most effective if you complete them just before winter arrives. It is much easier to take these actions now than it is to get your garage door fixed in the middle of a snowstorm.
1. Check the Door and Tracks
Stand outside and watch your door open and close a few times, listening closely to how it sounds and moves. If you hear the door catch or if it doesn’t move smoothly, it can be an indication that something is not working correctly.
Checking the tracks and the door is something you can do on your own, but you can also ask a professional to inspect your door. Then, if there’s an issue, they can repair it right away.
2. Lubricate the Moving Parts of the Door
This is another step that you can easily do on your own. Lubricate any of the moving parts, like bearings, hinges and springs.
Spray lubricant is a convenient option, but if you don’t have access to any, a few drops of standard engine oil is a good substitute. This will help your door open and close smoothly. Be sure to avoid using grease, though. It can make the tracks sticky and more prone to collecting dust and other debris.
3. Ensure the Weather Stripping Creates a Proper Seal
If you stand in front of your closed garage door and see light coming through the weather stripping, that means your weather stripping doesn’t have a proper seal. It won’t be able to keep the cold air from entering your home — or keep the warm air from escaping to the outside. To ensure maximum comfort during the winter, you might consider replacing your weather stripping.
Even if the weather stripping seems to be in good shape, you still might want to give it a thorough cleaning. Dirt and grime can build up throughout the year and create a poor seal as well. Use a standard household all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the weather stripping.
4. Organize Your Garage
After the warmer weather, your winter items are probably buried and not easily accessible. Ensure items like snow shovels and snow blowers are shifted to the front of the garage so that you can easily access them when the snow sets in. You won’t want to get everything out of the back of your garage when you already have to dig your car and driveway out of the snow.
5. Test the Door’s Balance
If the garage door isn’t balanced, it can make your garage door opener work harder. When this happens, your door may not function correctly or last as long as it normally would — and the effects of being unbalanced can be exacerbated by colder temperatures.
To see if your door is balanced, disconnect it from the opener and manually move it up and down two or three times to ensure nothing is obstructing the track. Then, push the door halfway up. If it stays put with only slight back and forth movement, then it’s most likely balanced. However, if it rolls up or falls down quickly, then it’s not balanced.
You’ll want to get this fixed since unbalanced doors often have a loss of tension in the springs. If the springs break entirely, they can cause even more damage, both to your garage door and potentially even to items you have in your garage.
The best option is to let a professional repair your door since working with torsion springs can be dangerous if you don’t know how to do it correctly. An unbalanced door can also be a sign of an underlying problem that a skilled technician would be able to identify.
6. Inspect and Clean the Surface of the Door
Dirt build-up can damage the surface of your garage door, leading to problems with it opening and closing properly. It can also decrease the lifespan of your door.
Use a brush and soap to scrub the door’s surface. If you see chips or cracks, consider giving it a coat of stain or paint. Fresh stain or paint is also more effective in protecting the door against winter weather.
7. Ensure the Photo Eye Sensors Are Clean and Free of Debris
The photo eye sensors on your garage door are designed to keep the door from closing with something underneath, like a person or a car. If you don’t maintain the sensors, though, they won’t operate effectively. Even dust can keep them from working right.
Keep the senors clean and items away from them so that they can work as best as they can. If you have an older garage door that doesn’t have photo eye sensors, consider upgrading to a new garage door that does. This added safety feature could protect you and your loved ones from potentially being injured or experiencing property damage should your garage door malfunction.
Contact the Professionals at BlackHawk Garage Door
With these tips, you can check certain functions of your garage door to see if they’re working as they should be — but there’s only so much you can do on your own.
BlackHawk Garage Door is a locally owned company providing efficient services and high-quality products. We serve over counties in western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.
Contact us today, and schedule the service you need to get your garage door ready for this upcoming winter season.