Your Garage Door Is Frozen Shut – What To Do – And What Not To Do

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It’s time for work, but your garage door is frozen shut and won’t open – Here’s your best plan of attack.

Winter has arrived in America and across the country, vehicle owners are preparing their rides for battle. You have your washer fluid topped off, your tires are the best you can afford, your AAA card is active, and you have an emergency kit in case you get stranged on a lonely highway. But what if you are stranded in your own home? That is the unfortunate reality when blowing sleet and snow are able to stick your door’s bottom rubber seal to the floor. Here is BestRide’s guide to getting out that stuck door.

Do Not Try This

The first advice we have is to not try bumping the door with your vehicle. It can damage the door or knock it off of the tracks that hold it in place. At a minimum, you will end up with a dented garage door that is visibly damaged from both sides.  How do we know this? Ah, let’s just say a friend tried it…

Melt The Ice With Water

One option you have is to melt the ice that is sticking the door shut. There are really two best options for this plan of action. First up, hot water. Go back inside, fill up your tea kettle and boil some water. Once done, make yourself a cup and try to relax. Then take the rest outside and pour it along the bottom seam of the garage door. Give it a minute. Then try the garage door. We will bet donuts to dollars that the door opener will struggle against the ice and then slam itself open. If so, you can drive on. There is just one problem. You are leaving behind a line of water to refreeze your door shut. So do your best to wipe it away with whatever you have on hand before you head to work. Consider leaving the door open an inch.

Melt The Ice With Salt

Another plan is to sprinkle ice melting salt along the edge of the door. We have used this method successfully in the past, but it takes time. You will need a half-hour or more for this method, and it works best when you can actually see a visible ice build-up along the bottom edge of your garage door. That salt is also not great for the health of your door if it is made of sheet steel. The upside to this method is you don’t arrive home to a refrozen door (usually).

Many Kicks

One option we have used successfully is the Karate Kid method of frozen door persuasion. If you have boots on, kick the door lightly, not hard enough to break a toe, along the lower edge repeatedly. Sometimes doing this while you actuate the door opener is enough to free it. Sometimes not. But you do get some satisfaction from the kicking.

Prevention Tips

If your garage is not part of your home and frozen pipes are not a worry, consider leaving the door up just an inch if you see a winter ice storm or rain to frozen rain is coming. This makes your garage attractive to mice and other critters, but if they want to get in, they probably will anyway. You can also leave the door up if you are worried about the power going out and don’t have a battery backup. Most garage doors have an emergency pull handle if the power does go out, but those can be tricky to re-engage sometimes.

Extreme Measures

Since your garage is flammable, we insist you do not try a torch. We also suggest not using a lever. It can torque your door out of shape and make using it a bigger problem than you already have. If you have any other home remedies to a frozen in place garage door, please tell us in the comments below this story.