Posted on: 13 August 2015
The winter weather can take a toll on your garage door. Icy rain can pool underneath the door seal, causing it to freeze to the ground. Below-zero temperatures can freeze the metal springs and pulleys, which can cause the door to operate more slowly and make more noise than it ordinarily would. And the cold weather can add to the wear and tear on the door. To protect your garage door from the harsh winter weather, it's a good idea to do a complete tune-up of your door in the fall. That way, your door will be in the best possible shape and will hold up well against the cold. Take a look at some important fall tune-up tips that can help you maintain your garage door.
Before you do anything, take a few steps to ensure your own safety while you work. Most homeowners don't think of their garage door as a particularly dangerous appliance, but it can be – the door itself is heavy, and the springs are under a lot of pressure. You wouldn't want to be caught underneath the door if it dropped suddenly, or have your hand on spring or roller if the automatic door started lifting up without warning.
The best thing that you can do is unplug the automatic opener while you're working. That way, you can be sure that it won't raise or lower suddenly, even if someone who doesn't know you're working on the door happens to hit the garage door remote. If you're working with the door open, you can ensure that the door won't fall by clamping a set of locking pliers onto one of the rollers.
One of the most important things that you can do to maintain your garage door is lubricate the moving parts. A garage door actually has quite a few moving metal parts, and adding fresh lubrication to them in the fall will help prevent any of those parts from freezing up in the winter. A silicon spray or household lubricating oil is appropriate for most of the different garage door parts.
Start by closing the garage door. A closed door allows you access to all the rollers, springs, and hinges on the door and to the overhead track system on the ceiling. If you've never done a garage door tune-up before, you'll probably see dust, dirt, and cobwebs built up on the door hinges and hardware. Clean these with a soft cloth before you begin squirting oil or silicon spray onto the hinges, rollers, and springs. Make sure that you have a step ladder handy so that you can reach the overhead track as well. Once you've applied the lubrication, open and close the door a few times so that the oil can work through the gears.
The next thing that you'll want to check is the weatherstripping around the sides and bottom of the garage door. This is a flexible rubber strip that creates an airtight seal around the door. If it's in good shape, it won't allow water to pool under the door, and you shouldn't have to worry about your garage door sticking and freezing in the winter. However, if you notice that the weatherstripping is brittle and dry or if you see tears or other damage, you should replace it before winter.
You should be able to purchase replacement weatherstripping at most hardware stores. Remove the old weatherstripping with a pry bar, working carefully to prevent damage to the door frame. Your new weatherstripping should be attached to a plastic piece – simply nail this piece into the door. It's best to install the new weatherstripping with the door closed so that you can check the tightness of the seal.
Test the Springs
One more important part of garage door maintenance is testing to see if your springs are strong and taut. There is a very simple test that will tell you if your springs are still in good shape – just open the garage door about halfway (with the automatic opener still turned off). If the door stays still, your springs are most likely fine. However, if the door sags – or worse, falls all of the way to the ground – you springs are weak and need to be replaced.
You shouldn't attempt to replace a garage door spring yourself. These springs are under extreme tension and are dangerous for even skilled home handymen to work with. If your door doesn't pass the spring test, call in a professional garage door technician to replace the spring before the harsh weather hits. To find a garage door professional, go to websites like the one linked to in this sentence.
With regular care and maintenance, your garage door can last a long time – perhaps even for the life of your home. Don't let a cold winter shorten the lifespan of your door. Tune it up beforehand so that it can withstand extreme temperatures.Share