Winter is right around the corner, which means that the effects of cold weather will begin soon. Michigan homeowners know that there are many tasks to complete before the snow and ice arrive, whether it’s finishing up summer projects or cleaning out the gutters to avoid issues during the freezing months.
Your garage door is an essential part of your home, especially if you want to keep your car out of the snow. Protecting your garage door can help you increase its lifespan and prevent surprises during the winter.
Why You Should Prepare Your Garage Door for Winter
While there are probably lots of things on your to-do list as you prepare for winter, you shouldn’t cross off your garage door preemptively. Taking the proper steps to prepare your garage door for winter can significantly affect your home as the weather gets colder. Here are four ways that winterizing your garage door will help you long term.
1. Increase the Life Span of Your Garage Door
As with most things in your home, your garage door greatly benefits from regular maintenance. Taking care of your garage door helps sustain the door for longer. Your garage door is a home appliance that you likely use every single day, which means that it undergoes lots of wear. Taking good care of your garage door not only ensures convenience for the time to come but also helps you avoid an expensive bill that comes with replacing a garage door.
2. Improve your Home’s Energy Efficiency
One of the goals of winterizing your garage door is ensuring that the insulation is thick enough to prevent large amounts of cold air from getting into your garage. Interior walls shared with the garage are prone to letting in freezing air from the garage through the walls and the interior garage door. You can spend less money to heat your home by keeping your garage warm and avoiding the cold air seepage into your home’s interior.
3. Protect Your Pipes
Some homes have water pipes that run through the garage. Extremely cold air can cause these pipes to become brittle and burst, which creates serious plumbing damage. Burst pipes also mean potential water damage to things inside your garage. You can save stress by keeping your garage warm to prevent burst water pipes that could have easily been avoided. By winterizing your garage door, you extend the life of the door itself and the contents in the garage, including the water pipes.
4. Store Items Safely
While burst water pipes can cause severe damage that you want to avoid, you also need to protect the items in your garage from another risk in the winter: moisture buildup and damage. The cold winter air is filled with water from the snow. Boxes of stored possessions, power tools and even shoes may be irreparably destroyed by the moisture in the air. Items near or on the floor are at the highest risk of moisture buildup.
How to Winterize Your Garage Door
As long as you regularly maintain your garage door, winterizing it is easy. An important factor to consider is when to prepare your garage for the season change – you likely will not want to begin this process after the temperature has dropped and snow has started to fall. Follow our five tips for how to winterize your garage door before winter actually arrives to ensure a pleasant and easy experience.
1. Inspect the Door and Its Tracks
Although it seems simple, inspect your garage door and the tracks. Watch and listen as the garage door goes up and down a few times, and note any sounds it makes. Pay attention to whether the door gets caught in any particular spots. The severity of what you find during an inspection will tell you whether you need to call a professional for help. Regular tune-ups are important for increasing your door’s life span, and it’s better to address issues before the snow arrives rather than be surprised.
2. Inspect Your Opener and Its Safety Sensors
Spend some time inspecting your opener for any broken parts. As with the door and tracks, a quick inspection of your opener should tell you whether you need to call for maintenance. Check that your safety sensors are working properly, as well. If your garage door keeps pausing as it opens or closes, there could be an issue with the sensors. Snow can quickly pile up and inhibit the effectiveness of the sensors, so be sure to get out ahead of this to ensure your door works throughout the winter.
3. Check the Weather Stripping
The weather stripping around the perimeter of the garage door keeps out cold air, dirt, debris and bugs. Heat exposure and extremely cold weather decay the stripping, and any small damage can render it completely useless. Cheap, flimsy stripping also has minimal effect on keeping cold air and weather elements out of the garage. If you find cracks, tears or missing pieces, the entire strip should be removed and replaced. Changing only small pieces can leave small openings between the strips, which counteracts the work you put in.
4. Lubricate the Moving Parts
Many of the moving parts to your garage door are metal, which means that lubrication is essential for keeping them running smoothly. Springs, rollers and hinges are all parts of the door that need regular maintenance. A non-silicone lubricant is ideal, and avoid using a sticky grease that collects debris. Fresh lubricant is less likely to dry or freeze during the cold weather.
5. Add Insulation
Your garage door and walls will require proper insulation to keep your garage warm during the winter. Insulation on a garage door prevents moisture buildup that can freeze. This buildup makes the door heavy and may prevent the door from opening at all. Many newer garage doors come with built-in insulation to ensure temperature regulation. Exterior walls should also have plenty of insulation in them, as cold air can easily seep through gaps. Make sure that the walls are undamaged before adding insulation for the winter.