When the weather becomes cooler, you’ll be grateful you have a garage to store your vehicle in. Winter brings cooler temperatures, as well as snow and sleet, all of which can cause troubles for your vehicle. It’s convenient to be able to park your car safely behind a garage door.
But what if your garage door stops functioning properly? Cold weather may have a bad influence on your automobile, and it can also have a negative impact on your garage door. Fortunately, there are solutions to the different issues that might occur, but first it’s important to understand what those issues are.
PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE FROZEN TEMPERATURE
There are a variety of reasons that might cause garage door issues, but if it occurs in the winter, it’s likely due to the cold. But how do garage door openers react to the cold? There isn’t necessarily a single thing to blame. Cold weather can cause a variety of garage door problems, so you’ll have to perform some detective work to figure out which one it is.
A manual lift test, in which you detach the garage door from the lift mechanism and pull it up yourself, is a good method to start identifying the problem. To perform any of this well, you need be aware of the possible problems ahead of time so you know what to look for. Here are some of the most typical causes of a garage door that won’t open in the winter:
1. SPRINGS THAT HAVE BEEN BROKEN
Garage doors can be harmed by cold weather in a variety of ways, with damaged springs being one of the most common. The major cause is wear and tear – springs typically endure 10,000 cycles, and it’s easy to forget to do regular maintenance checks on them during the busy winter months.
The manual lift test can be used to inspect the springs. To do so, lift the door to about halfway and then let go. The springs aren’t the issue if it stays where it is. If it begins to sink, the springs will need to be changed.
Installing a safety cable is another approach to protect against the impact of damaged springs. You won’t have to worry as much if you take care of that installation before any springs break. The safety cable is strong enough to function as a weight counter for the door. Even if you have a safety cable connected, if your spring breaks, call an expert straight once.
2. LUBRICATING PROBLEMS
To keep the moving parts of most garage door openers functioning properly, they must be oiled all year. It’s fairly uncommon for these items to alter consistency in the winter due to the chilly weather. This is terrible for the garage door opener and any other moving parts that require lubrication in general.
You may check for this problem by physically lifting the garage door, just like you would with damaged springs. It most certainly has a lubrication problem if it gets caught in different places on the way up. It’s possible that the issue is caused by the lubricant thickening or being applied unevenly. One approach to prevent this from happening is to use lubricant with a viscosity grade that corresponds to the lowest temperature in your location.
3. PROBLEMS WITH MOTORS
Occasionally, the issue isn’t with the door itself, but with a component of the lifting mechanism. If you do the manual lift test and the door opens and closes smoothly, you may be confident that this is the case. It’s possible that the mechanism’s motor is to blame.
If the motor is broken, don’t attempt to repair it yourself; you can make the situation worse. There might be a number of issues with it, and motors can be difficult to understand for those who aren’t familiar with them. You’ll need to hire an expert to fix this problem.
4. BROKEN SENSOR
The motor might be the issue if the door passes the manual lift test, but it’s not the only one. The problem might possibly be caused by the remote sensor. If the remote control you use to open the door is broken, it may not be delivering signals to the mechanism effectively. You’ll still need to hire a professional in this instance, but it’ll be a lot easier to deal with than a broken engine.
5. PHOTO-EYE SENSITIVE
Another important possibility is that you are suffering from a photo-eye problem. The photo-eye is a sensor located at the bottom of the garage door that detects items in the path of the door. If any are detected, it keeps the door from shutting, ensuring that nothing is destroyed.
The issue is that photo-eyes rely on a particular level of sensitivity, which might lead them to misinterpret some objects as barriers when they aren’t. Thickened lubricant, for example, can be a hindrance. It’s possible for the motor to detect the changed consistency of the lubricant and believe the door is striking something, causing the door to stop moving. This is especially true if the sensitivity level is set to “light.”
Similarly, if the photo-eye becomes fogged up due to the cold, it might distort its image and lead it to see condensation as a barrier. When you press the remote button in any of these circumstances, the sensor will inform the door not to open. One approach to help with this is to treat the lubricant. Another thing to do is clean the lens of the photo-eye.
6. METAL THAT HAS BEEN WARPED
If you’re having difficulties physically raising the door and the lubricant appears to be good, the metal pieces themselves might be the issue. Because metal shrinks somewhat in low temperatures, the metal pieces of the lift mechanism get tighter together in the winter.
This can provide enough resistance between connected parts to prevent them from moving, resulting in your door being stuck. Lubricant can help to a degree by allowing the components to move past each other more freely, but if the problem persists, you may need to seek expert help.
7. FROST ON THE GROUND
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it may be one of the most inconvenient impacts of cold weather on your garage door. If water collects at the bottom of the door, it might seal and freeze the door shut, leaving you with few effective or quick solutions. Here are a few options for dealing with this scenario.
- Release cord: Using the emergency release cable, manually open the door. Keep in mind that depending on the severity of the freeze, this solution may or may not work.
- Scraping: Using a scraper or other tool, scrape and chip at the ice.
- Heat gun: Use a heat gun to melt the ice, but be careful not to overheat metal doors at once.
- Hot water: For a short cure, pour hot water at the base of the door, but be cautious that if it refreezes, it might create a more dangerous ice region.
- Natural melting: If the conditions are appropriate, leave the door open once it’s open and wait for the ice to melt.
Any strategy can require a significant amount of time and effort, and there is no assurance that it will succeed. The simplest method to deal with this problem is to prevent it from occurring in the first place by brushing puddles and snow away from the base of your door.
8. ICE IN THE SPACE BETWEEN PANELS
The majority of garage doors are made up of numerous panels that bend and fold as they rise. The connecting connections between these panels, unfortunately, allow moisture to leak in and freeze. The panels are unable to fold after they have gotten frozen together, preventing the door from opening.
Scraping, using a heat gun, pouring hot water on it, or simply waiting for it to melt naturally are all options for dealing with this problem. But be careful not to harm your door in the process. A heat gun, for example, is probably not the ideal answer if your door is constructed of wood.
9. WATER DAMAGE
Winter precipitation, especially with wooden garage doors, can cause the door and its structure to swell. Snow from the roof can melt and trickle down the entryway, seeping into the wood. In the worst-case scenario, the gap between the door and the frame closes, causing them to rub together. The door may even become stuck in its current position, preventing it from opening when you need to walk in or out.
Keep your rain gutters free to prevent water runoff from splashing onto the door and causing or contributing to swelling.
10. STRIPPING DUE TO WEATHER DAMAGE
So far, all of the problems have been related to the garage door not opening in the winter. But what if the door opens without a hitch? What if the lubricant is in fine condition, there is no water damage, and the remote works perfectly? Does this imply that your garage door hasn’t been harmed by the cold?
Certainly not. Even if the door opens and shuts smoothly, it may not be performing its function effectively. The purpose of the garage door is to protect you and your vehicle from the elements, which it does with the help of weather stripping around the entry.
When this weather stripping is destroyed, as it often does due to cold weather and precipitation, it loses its ability to keep out outside temperatures and water, thereby defeating the garage door’s whole function. Make sure your weather stripping is in good working order and replace it if necessary.