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Troubleshooting a Garage Door for Cold Weather Problems

Troubleshooting your garage door is something to undertake before the weather goes bad. When the temperatures dip, the snow piles up on your driveway and the sidewalk becomes slick with ice, the last thing you want to deal with is trouble getting into your own garage after a long, blustery day at work.

Unfortunately, the cold weather season is precisely the time of year that most homeowners start to have problems with their garage doors. It’s best to be prepared for these types of situations, so as not to waste too much time hopping from foot to foot in desperation if you can’t get the door to lift in the middle of a blizzard! Read the troubleshooting tips below to be prepared in case this happens to you.

Problem 1 – Garage Door Won’t Open

The most common problem by far that is reported by homeowners during the winter season is that their garage doors either won’t open completely or won’t close all the way shut. This can be due to a variety of reasons, so try each of the following steps to address the issue. First, lubricate all hinges and joints with an appropriate lubricant, like Genie lubricant, to make sure that all the parts are sliding smoothly.

If you’re still having problems, then the cold temperatures may have caused the brackets that hold the runners for the garage door in place to become misaligned, due to contraction of the metal in the cold weather. Check them to make sure they’re correctly in place, and if not, adjust them so that they are.

Still having problems? Then do a thorough check of all the electrical fittings for your garage door. The cold weather may have caused cracks or other damage to parts that house electrical wires or sensors. If you don’t have much experience with electrical work, you may want to call in an expert to help address this problem, since a lot could go wrong if you try to fix it yourself without the proper background and know-how.

Problem 2 – A Creaky, Complaining Garage Door

Another common wintertime complaint for homeowners is a garage door that just won’t shut up. As it opens or closes, it moans and groans as if it were being tortured! Again, the most likely cause is probably a lack of proper lubrication, due to freezing temperatures. Get some lube (making sure to use one that’s specifically for things like garage doors, otherwise, you could end up sticking up the joints) and slick up all the necessary joints, hinges and other metal parts.

If after that procedure the door is still super noisy, it’s probably another case of metal contracting in the cold weather, causing the door and its runners to be slightly misaligned. Unfortunately, depending on your individual situation, there may be nothing you can do to fix that until spring comes and thaws things out.

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The Weather is Changing… A Tune-Up of Your Garage Door is Due

With the cooling weather, the following guidelines can you save you a lot of time and expense!

Keeping it Clean

Clean your garage door regularly with mild soap, such as car detergent, and a soft bristle brush. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and very strong liquid cleaners which could damage the paint or cause delaminating. If you have a steel garage door, you can revive its luster by applying a car wax as it will protect against acid rain and dust. It is best to avoid waxing in direct sunlight to achieve better results.

Weather Stripping

wind

Clean the weather stripping with a good all-purpose cleaner. Lubricate it every 2 or 3 months with a SILICONE-based lubricant. Never use a petroleum-based lubricant on weather stripping as it will dry up and crack. Don’t forget the weather strip between your door panels. It is important to let your weather strip hang 1/2″ below the door base when you readjust your perimeter weather stripping. If the weather stripping is too tight, the door will not function properly. So if your weather stripping has lost its flexibility, it is best to replace it.

Maintaining the Hardware

Lubricate the rollers, tracks and hinges and all moving hardware parts with a little motor oil (e.g.: 10W30) every three months. Wipe off excess oil with a cloth. As for the springs, use the same oil applied with a cloth. You are not only prolonging the spring’s life, but also reducing the noise the springs make when the door is operated.

At least once a year, home owners must check the following :
– the sturdiness and adjustment of the hinges;
– the rollers for worn-out ball bearings, flattened rollers, and crooked rods;
– the tracks for premature wear and tear, loose bolts, and loose supports;
– the cables for wear and tear; especially near the pulleys and the lower support (corner bracket).

Open Sesame: The Garage Door Opener

Depending on the model you own, consult the manufacturer’s guide. If you want to add some white grease on the operator track, again you must first clean the track. By oiling all the mobile parts you will reduce the noise initiated by the motor. If it is still too noisy for your liking, then nylon rollers would help reduce the noise.

Pull on the trolley release cord and operate the door manually. Is it difficult to open and close? The electric operator only replaces manual operation, therefore it must move freely. If you have trouble operating it, contact your local l qualified and licensed garage door installer. For your safety as well as your child’s, check the automatic safety reverse system of the door opener every month.

Get Your Annual Exam

Consider your garage door as an important part of your home. With appropriate annual maintenance, it will operate beautifully. Ask a qualified and licensed garage door installer to lubricate and adjust your garage door at least yearly. In a 10 step check-up, he will lubricate all the above mentioned parts and perform any required repairs.

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