In cold winter months, garage doors can literally freeze to the floor, causing all kinds of stress for the homeowner and potentially for the garage door and opener if forced open. There are some simple remedies for this. We’ve heard quite a few creative ideas – some are good solutions, some are not so good.
First, let’s mention a few methods that are not so good. Don’t pry under the door with a shovel or other metal object. Doing so can damage the weather seal at the bottom of the door. And if you pry hard enough, the entire lower panel may be gouged or broken.
Also, it isn’t a good idea to cycle the opener repeatedly in an attempt to break the door loose from the ice. Even though the opener may have overload protection, its basic purpose isn’t to lift significantly more than the door’s weight with assistance from the track springs.
Step 1: Disengage the opener
Because your opener is sized for normal loads, not the extra lift required to overcome a frozen edge, we suggest that you start your remedy by disengaging the opener. You can do this easily by pulling straight down on the handle that leads up to the opener’s track. For more information about how to release and reconnect the opener manually, check our blog article.
Step 2: Clean away the snow and ice
Next, let’s tackle that pesky ice that is causing the problem. If there is a large build-up of ice or snow on the outside of the door, clean that away first with a shovel. Then use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the ice beneath the door. We’ve also heard of people doing this successfully by pouring hot water in that area. But the obvious disadvantage of doing so is the water will likely freeze again and create a slippery situation.
It’s safer to apply dry heat to melt the ice. Work slowly along the door’s lower edge. If using a heat gun, take care not to let the gun dwell too long in one spot so you don’t damage the door’s finish or the bottom seal. After doing this along the full length of the door, spray a chemical de-icer to prevent the melted ice from refreezing.
Step 3: Lift door by hand
With the ice beginning to release its hold on your door, you should be able to lift the door by hand. It may be easier to do this from the inside of your garage where you can get good footing and leverage. Of course, get help from another person if you are not able to do this yourself. Or request service assistance from your local Raynor Dealer. Many of our dealers offer 24-hour emergency support.
Step 4: Reconnect the automatic opener
Once you have the door opening and closing again, you can re-engage the automatic opener. Close the door first, then pull the release handle toward the opener to reconnect it. Tip: You don’t have to worry about where the trolley connects along the drive track. It will align itself in normal operation.
Final Step: Clean away excess moisture on the garage floor
A regular sweeping of the garage floor is a good routine any time of the year. In the winter, it is particularly important for safety, cleanliness and to prevent problems like door sticking. Be sure to sweep the floor immediately after you’ve solved your freeze problem. Sweep out all of the slush and road salt that falls from your cars and push it outside, away from the door opening.