Charlotte is officially experiencing the Winter cold, with temperatures below freezing most mornings and a serious windchill, but Winter is only beginning! Everyone knows how important it is to take care of your home in the cold, but knowing what that looks like can be more difficult. Luckily, we happen to be experts in everything garage-door-related, and can offer some advice about preparing your garage for the Winter temperatures. Proper preventative measures can keep your home nice and toasty all season long, and save you some serious cash.
The first step is understanding the dangers that the cold poses for your garage. If you’re in the Charlotte North Carolina area, you’re not at much risk of your whole house getting snowed it (except for the occasional freak snowstorm!) but the cold itself can be a threat. Garage doors, like all machinery, are made up of many moving parts. The cold can be dangerous to these parts.
Firstly, cold can cause metal parts to contract. This can lead to more serious problems, like warped tracks resulting in a garage door falling out of its rails, or a contracting spring breaking. Broken spring repair is a serious and dangerous enterprise, and if the cold does happen to snap yours, contact an expert rather than trying anything yourself! The spring holds all the weight of the door, which depending on the style of door can mean several hundred pounds! If you have exposed pipes in your garage, they can also be at risk from the cold temperatures. Uninsulated pipes can freeze or contract, causing them to separate and breaking down your home’s piping completely.
Secondly, the cold can freeze and garage door lubricant currently in your system. Many part of the garage door assembly and the opener assembly are lubricated to keep them functioning quietly and well, and if the lubricant freezes, it can lead to long-term problems. This is not as serious a problem as metal warping, so a homeowner could solve this problem themselves with some garage door lubricant purchased at any home and garden store.
Thirdly, the cold precipitation can lead to puddles forming at the base of your garage door. Depending on the slope of your driveway (or whatever else you have around the bottom of your door) melting snow or rainfall can build up at the base of the door. Water itself can be a problem for homes, but a more serious problem for this season comes when the water freezes. A frozen puddle at the base of your door can cause the weatherstripping at the bottom to crack or break off, which means that the next rainfall will run right into your garage! Even if it doesn’t rain any further, the gap at the bottom of the door will let cold air into your garage.
Lastly, an additional threat that water can pose during this time of year is the floor of your garage. Depending on what surface your floor is, the snow and water you track in on your shoes can be a problem for your garage’s floor, potentially damaging things in the garage or presenting a tripping hazard. If a wet spot freezes overnight, you can find a nasty surprise waiting for you the next morning! There are floorings which are more resilient to these dangers, like epoxy or specially-made mats.
So how do you protect yourself against these dangers? Firstly, you can make sure that your weatherstripping and garage door fit snugly into the frame. This is a basic step towards insulating the garage which will keep the temperature in the garage under control. Weatherstripping can be replaced by a homeowner, but if the door is out of alignment and doesn’t fit into the frame well, call an expert.
If your garage’s temperature falls, that will result in a higher heating bill for your home’s interior as the cold air from the garage seeps into your home. There are other simple steps you can take to keep the temperature up, like choosing a well-insulated garage door, making sure that outlets, fixtures, and cracks in your garage’s walls are insulated, and leaving the garage door closed as much as possible. Approximately three out of four homeowners store their cars in their garage, and if you’re tired of stepping into the freezing cold whenever you want to get in your car in the morning, you could also install a heater in your garage.
If your garage is going to be cold anyways, you can take some steps during the warmer days to prepare. For example, some days in Charlotte we’ve been seeing temperatures around 70 degrees during the day! This time is ideal for any work you have to do in the garage. If you store winter gear or holiday decorations in the garage, this is the best chance to move them into the house, so you don’t have to retrieve them during a chilly 30 degree morning!
At the end of the day, it’s up to each homeowner to decide how much attention they want to give their garage. Looking after your garage can pay dividends in many ways, from protecting the possessions you keep stored there to keeping you warm on frigid winter mornings. There are many steps that a homeowner can take to insulate or prepare their garage, but for the more complex jobs, you’ll want to contact an expert in garage door repair, broken springs, and garage door insulation – like A Plus Garage Doors!