As the winter months start to roll in, you'll probably be taking steps to ensure your home is ready for the cold. That should include your garage door too. Because cold weather can trigger some common garage-door problems, here are some simple ways you can protect your investment and prevent issues this season.
Garage-door springs tend to shrink when the temperatures drop and then expand during the day when it warms. Metal is also susceptible to condensation during the winter, which can lead to the formation of rust, and ultimately, the deterioration of the parts.
Since your garage-door springs carry a bulk of the weight of the door, and since springs are more likely to snap during the winter, this is one part that definitely should be checked before the winter months hit. Inspect your springs for rust and cracks, and pay attention to any squeaking sounds. If one or both springs appear as though they are compromised in any way, you should have them replaced by a professional.
Proper lubrication on all the metal parts of your garage door can make a world of difference in the wintertime. It protects them from corrosion and ensures that everything works together as it should. It also drops the freezing temperature of water, and that can come in handy should any condensation form on the parts. Be sure to use a silicone-based lubricant; anything with a heavy oil tends to harden when it's cold. Also be sure to stay away from plastic parts, as the lubricant can make them break down faster.
Spray the springs just enough to apply a layer of liquid but not so much that the liquid drips to the floor. Be sure to get the steel hinges as well as the metal rollers (but only the bearings if the wheels are made of nylon).
As far as the tracks are concerned, there's no need to lubricate them. But they should be checked and wiped clean of any accumulated dust, dirt, and other foreign objects that could interrupt the movement of the door.
If your garage doors have windows, you'll definitely want to check for loose seals around the edge of the glass. If you find any, keep in mind that rain and snow can enter and make the damage worse. Repairing is pretty easy; simply spread a line of caulking wherever it's needed.
The bottom of your door should contain a strip of weather seal, and keeping it in tip-top shape is vital to protecting your garage door this winter. If you don't have any, even the most novice of DIYers can install some fairly easily. Without weather stripping, your garage door and the contents within your garage are all susceptible to the elements.
Freezing water as well as snow and ice can make the seal stick to the ground, causing it to tear as the garage door opens. Therefore, be sure to keep the bottom of the door clear of snow and ice at all times. You can do this by opening the door and manually shoveling away any snow. But another tip is to sprinkle some table salt along the ground before bad weather approaches.
Want to be sure that your garage door is ready to take on Old Man Winter? You can do a quick manual test to make sure it's operating okay.
First, disconnect the door from the remote-control opener by pulling the cord hanging from the motor in the garage. Next, lift the door up to about waist height. The door should remain still. If it continues to lift on its own, then the springs are too tight. If the door goes back down, a spring or cable could be broken or stretched to its limit. In either one of these situations, it's critical to call a garage-door professional so that the problem doesn't get worse.