Preparing Your Garage Door For Winter
Winter’s coming, and with it, shorter days and plunging temperatures. Most homeowners take a number of steps to prepare their home and yard for winter, but one thing often overlooked is the garage door.
Like other mechanical devices (your car, for example), extremely cold temperatures add greatly to the stresses on your garage door’s mechanisms. A proper winter preparation will increase the operational efficiency, dependability, and lifespan of the garage door’s components. The benefit for you is reliable functioning throughout the cold season, prevention of unnecessary repair bills, savings on energy costs (for heated/attached garages), and higher safety for you and your family.
We suggest winterizing your garage door should be done in the fall, while it’s still warm enough to work comfortably, and before potential problems begin to appear. As with any garage door maintenance or tune-up, there are several areas to consider:
Rusty Parts Such As Cables, Rollers or Brackets
Make sure that the bottom end of your cables and the bottom brackets are not rusty, as if they are, it is a matter of time until your cables will snap. Make sure that your rollers and hinges are in good working condition. Open your door manually, and make sure that the door is not too heavy, as the springs might need some re-adjusting.
Another part that getting rust on the bottom track (rail). It is not an issue as long as it’s not cracked or about to split. Oil it every couple of months, so you can extend the track life. Check the bottom roller for rust, change it if needed.
Any repair or replacement of openers, springs, cables, tracks or bottom rollers has to be done by a professional garage door company, especially on emergency situations such as stuck doors, or broken springs! There is great high tension, and removal and installation of those parts by an amateur can cause damage to your door not to speak on serious injuries.
Always the first thing, be safe! Please remember to disable your garage door opener before conducting any inspection, maintenance or repair. You can do this by pulling on the emergency cord so that you can open and close the door manually. To test certain functionality (the auto-reversal system, for example), which requires the door opener to be in an operational state, use extra caution!
Door Cleaning & General Inspection
Garages aren’t usually the cleanest places in our homes. Typically used for storage (tools, bicycles, gardening apparatus, motorized equipment, etc.), in addition to small shop projects, there is a tendency to accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and grease. The garage door lives in this environment, and will not be immune. Start your winter preparation by washing the door, inside and out, and performing an overall inspection looking for any obvious damage that will need repair. Check bolts and screws to make sure they are tight. Check for rust (metal door) or rot (wooden door), and repaint, repair, or replace as appropriate. Replacing a door that is damaged or otherwise in poor condition can help resist further winter damage, improve energy efficiency, and prevent untimely failures.
Weather-stripping is a flexible material that fills the gap around the edge of your garage door (perimeter and bottom) and creates a seal which limits air flow and helps keep out dust, debris, rain, snow, and even pesky little rodents. Over time, the weather-stripping may become brittle, develop cracks, tears, or even damage through impacts, resulting in gaps between the door and the frame (or floor) through which air can pass. In winter, the loss of insulating value creates cold drafts, increasing energy costs (for a heated/attached garage). A garage that gets too cold can also put stored materials and equipment at risk of freezing damage. Clean and inspect the weather-stripping each fall, and repair or replace if needed, to ensure that a proper seal is maintained.
Moving Parts Lubrication
Tip: Use Only OIL BASED WD40 (It is other lubricant than the usual water-based WD40)
To help sustain smooth door operation and prevent damage in winter, all moving parts of the garage door should be cleaned and lubricated before the cold weather sets in. First, to ensure the door can glide smoothly, clear out the accumulated dirt and grime (everything from spider webs to yard waste) from the tracks. Then, lubricate all the moving parts (rollers, hinges, cables, and springs). Be sure to use a lubricant that is specifically designed for garage door use, and avoid using too much which just collects dust and dirt and increases wear. For the weather-stripping, use a silicone-based lubricant.
Automatic Reversal System
The garage door’s automatic reversal system is essential for safety and should be part of every inspection, including winter preparation. If the door has an older mechanical reversal system, you can test by placing an object (e.g. 2×4 lumber) in the door’s path. With a more modern photoelectric system, you can just put your foot in front of the electric eye to test it. In either case, the door should stop and reverse. If it does not, it is necessary to adjust, realign, or repair components to get it working properly. If you aren’t sure, we suggest consulting a professional to get it fixed.
Fresh batteries with plenty of juice will ensure proper functioning of your garage door opener’s remote control and/or external keypad even in the coldest weather.
You may choose to perform the majority of these winterizing steps yourself, or you may choose to employ the services of experienced professionals. The garage door specialists at AmPm Door Services can always ensure that repair and maintenance issues are properly dealt with in preparation for the winter cold.
Read More: Garage Door Maintenance