With temperatures at near-record lows, it's almost certain that the winter chill will leave you with a stuck garage door. This is usually caused by ice buildup along the garage door's weatherstripping, resulting in a frozen seal that keeps your garage door frozen in place. Fortunately, there are several ways you can free your garage door without causing any added damage to it.
Use a Space Heater
If you have a space heater on hand, you can use it to melt the ice and snow holding your garage door in place. This method is the slowest of the three, but it's also the safest since it allows for a gradual, even melting of large-scale ice buildup without the risk of refreezing.
Place the space heater close to the garage door, but make sure it's not close enough that it causes the rubber weatherstripping to warp or melt. Make sure the heater element is facing the garage door. The idea is to increase local temperatures above freezing, allowing the ice to uniformly melt from the door.
Keep an eye on the space heater and make sure the meltwater isn't encroaching on the unit. Also, don't leave the space heater running unattended as this could increase the risk of a fire.
Use a Heat Gun
Another way you can remove ice buildup on your garage door is with the help of a heat gun or a hairdryer. Both are ideal for dealing with smaller patches of ice holding your garage door closed.
If you're using a heat gun, place it on its lowest setting and sweep it back and forth over the frozen areas. Refrain from lingering on one spot for too long and make sure the heat gun remains several inches away from the surface being thawed out. If you're using a heat gun, you may need to set it on medium or high since it's not as powerful as a typical heat gun.
Use Hot Water
You can also use hot water to quickly remove ice buildup and free your frozen garage door. All you'll need to do is fill up a bucket with very hot water and pour it over the frozen portions of the garage door. Use your remote control or have a partner immediately open the door, as the hot water will most likely freeze once it cools down.
This method allows you to free your garage door almost instantly, but it also comes with plenty of risks. Not only is there the hazard of handling very hot water, but you'll also end up creating a larger, icier surface that could pose a hazard for others.
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