How to Open a Frozen Garage Door

Frozen Garage Door

A frozen garage door may cause more problems than piles of snow in your driveway. After all, if you can’t open your garage, how are you supposed to back your car out once you’ve cleared the drifts?

Whenever a garage door freezes to the ground, you risk damaging the metal components along with the rubber seal when you attempt to dislodge it. But by following these steps, you can minimize the chances of breaking integral parts of your garage door in the process.

Disconnect Automatic Opener

If your garage door is hooked up to an automatic opener, do not burn out the motor by repeatedly pressing the lift button. If the door does not open the first time, disconnect the system by pulling the rope with the red handle at the end. Afterward, try using manual force to lift the door, but not excessively. In some cases, this may be all that is needed.

Use an Ice Scraper

If this doesn’t work, take your car’s ice scraper and chip away at the sections of ice on the bottom of the door. Be careful not to stab downward too harshly, or else you may mar the door’s surface or rip the rubber gasket seal. You can also sprinkle rock salt on the ice, but know that these products usually are ineffective in extremely low temperatures.

Hook Up a Space Heater

If this is ineffective, try a different tactic: warming the ice enough to melt from the inside. Plug in a space heater and direct the flow of hot air toward the door. Do not put the space heater directly in front of the rubber seal, however. Also, do not walk away and leave the space heater unattended. Once the door is warm enough, it may spread heat to the adjoining ice and you can try manually lifting once again.

Pour Boiling Water on the Exterior Seal

Pour hot water onto the ice outside the door, but beware — the water will most likely freeze quickly. Have a partner attempt to lift the door as soon as you pour the water. Also, recognize that this tactic comes with a risk of melting the rubber seal — you may have to replace it to restore energy efficiency to your garage.

Prevent Future Reoccurrences

Once you’ve dealt with a frozen garage door, you most likely are interested in learning how to prevent the problem from happening again. In the future, try spraying the bottom of the garage door seal with a silicone coating. This can help prevent it from freezing shut.

Also, make sure to shovel snow and ice away from your garage door as soon as possible to prevent buildup. During a heavy winter storm, periodically open the garage to keep the edge from freezing to the ground.

Contact Accent Garage Doors for professional service to remedy a frozen garage door, or for maintenance and repairs required to keep your system functioning throughout the cold winter.