Tips On How To Winterize Your Garage Doors

Posted on December 14, 2016 by

The one time you don’t want to deal with garage door issues is when temperatures plummet, or in the middle of an ice storm or snowstorm. Be proactive in addressing potential problems before inclement winter weather arrives.

Here are some tips for winterizing your garage doors:

Weatherstipping: repair or replace – To minimize air intrusion, it is imperative to install weatherstripping that successfully seals the gap between the garage door and the frame around the garage door opening. Properly installed weatherstripping will minimize drafts and help retain heat inside your garage. This is particularly important if your garage is heated, although simply retaining heat coming from your vehicle’s engine after you turn off the ignition is still advantageous.

Drafts worsen when weatherstripping ages or comes undone. As it ages, weatherstripping may crack as it loses its resiliency. Occasionally, it is damaged by a vehicle, lawn mower or other equipment that brushes against it. Sometimes, the weatherstripping is intact and pliable but the sealant is failing.

Damaged or aging weatherstripping is often removed with a pry bar or other appropriate hand tool. Next, old sealant is scraped away with a putty knife or paint scraper. Care must be taken to leave a smooth surface that will promote a proper seal when the new weatherstripping is installed. Proper installation is critical. The new material must be aligned so it runs perfectly parallel to the garage door’s exterior surface. Properly positioned weatherstripping will flatten slightly when the garage door is closed, ensuring a proper seal. However, if the weatherstripping is too close to the garage door, undue friction may occur as the door opens and closes.

Also, inspect the weatherstripping that runs along the bottom of the door. If it is brittle, or damaged in places, replace it to ensure that cold air will not continually seep under the garage door. When weatherstripping is aging but intact, it is often possible to extend its life with the application of an appropriate lubricant. For example, it is often possible to apply a silicone lubricant to PVC weatherstripping. If you are in doubt about the type of material sealing the gap, contact a garage door specialist for assistance.

Check batteries – Battery efficiency suffers in cold weather. The battery in your external keypad that operated flawlessly all summer may suddenly fail when temperatures plunge. Typically, a keypad operates off of a 9-volt battery that gets very warm in mid-summer heat and very cold when those arctic blasts arrive. Replace the battery before winter solidifies its grip on the area.

At the same time, it is wise to replace the round, flat battery that powers your remote. If you don’t already have a spare, get one now so your remote won’t unexpectedly fail in the middle of a winter storm.

Lubricate metal parts – Over time, the performance of lubricant on springs, rollers and tracks often declines as it accumulates dirt and debris. As foreign material accumulates, friction increases. Also, lubricant may begin to break down over time. Although it may do its job in the warmer months, it may stiffen or congeal in cold weather. Two things may happen. First, the mechanisms may operate with difficulty. Second, metal components may prematurely age and fail.

To reapply lubricant, it is important to begin by wiping old lubricant and accumulated debris from the door’s metal components and adjacent surfaces. Next, a new, oil-based lubricant is applied. As it is applied, excess lubricant is wiped off of adjacent surfaces with a dry, clean cloth. It is important to use the right lubricant. Some formulations, like WD-40, are actually degreasers that will fail to properly lubricate mechanisms over time. Also, avoid the use of grease, as it causes rollers to slide rather than to perform as designed.

Inspect garage door springs – Correctly operating garage doors rise and lower with ease, in large part because of the counterbalancing system. Aging springs that still operate well during warmer weather may fail during cold snaps. Check your garage door springs by first pulling on the emergency cord. This will disable the garage door opener. The door should open rather easily when you attempt to open it by hand. If it does not, the springs may be the problem. A garage door specialist can quickly diagnose any potential problem before winter’s arrival.

Check reversal systems – A garage door’s automatic reversal system must work properly to keep everyone safe. It is designed to automatically raise a descending door when a person or object is detected.

Mechanical reversal systems activate when the door physically detects resistance. Test it by placing a piece of wood where the door usually comes in contact with the ground. If the door does not automatically reverse, adjustments are necessary. The maintenance manual will provide step-by-step instructions, or a garage door specialist can make proper adjustments as part of an overall garage door checkup.

Photoelectric reversal systems consist of two units positioned on either side of the door, several inches off the ground. When the light beam is interrupted by a foot or an object, for example, a closing garage door will automatically reverse. Misalignment is the most common reason for a photoelectric system to fail. When realignment of the units does not correct the problem, the assistance of a garage door specialist is recommended.

Although the DIY homeowner may complete certain winterizing steps themselves. the assistance of a knowledgeable garage door specialist is often helpful. For prompt and friendly service, please contact NTX.