Protecting Your Garage During Winter
You probably use your garage to protect vehicles, appliances, and other pieces of equipment you can’t leave outside during wintertime. However, did you know that protecting your garage itself is just as vital when cold weather arrives?
Snow and ice can cause metal springs to rust, wooden panels to crack, and all kinds of other headaches for homeowners with garages. Fortunately, we service dozens of garage doors every year, so we know exactly what causes these problems and how to prevent them. Read on, and discover our best ideas for protecting your garage this winter.
Protecting Your Garage Also Protects the Contents
Before we dive into the “how-to” section of this article, we need to offer one more word of caution. Protecting your garage isn’t just a matter of keeping it functional and avoiding expensive repairs come springtime. It’s also essential if you want to save the items you’re storing inside the garage — from cars and trucks to tools and toys that aren’t weatherproof.
Two main culprits can damage these items: moisture and freezing temperatures. Here’s a breakdown of what each can do, along with some tips for protecting your garage’s interior against them.
Many homeowners assume that moisture only builds up inside garages when they are poorly sealed, allowing snow and ice to enter and melt. Sealing your garage is certainly an important part of protecting its contents from the elements, but you also need to watch out for moisture from other sources.
Some homeowners warm the insides of their garages with space heaters during the winter — but too much heat in winter creates excess humidity, which can make your vehicle rust. For best results, try to keep the temperature at or around 8 degrees celsius — warm enough to protect the inside of your garage from the cold but cool enough to prevent large amounts of moisture from forming and damaging metal surfaces.
It’s also a good idea to clean off anything that you regularly take in and out of the garage during winter (such as a car or truck). Removing snow and ice from the vehicle as soon as you bring it in from the cold will prevent it from melting on your vehicle overnight. Finally, consider running a dehumidifier alongside any space heater you use so that you can keep the space dry as well as warm.
You’ve probably been out in the cold before and discovered that your phone died unexpectedly. That’s because cold temperatures are notoriously hard on batteries — and the battery in your car is no exception.
Lead-acid batteries lose approximately 20% of their capacity in freezing weather, so you’ll want to keep the inside of your garage warm. Just remember not to overdo it since extreme heat adversely impacts battery life too.
Your car isn’t the only piece of equipment that will thank you for warming the inside of your garage during winter. Any battery-powered electronic devices will benefit from being stored in balanced conditions, from household appliances to power tools.
Protecting the Garage Itself
When you set out to winterproof your garage, you’ll need to pay special attention to a few key areas. Here’s an overview of what to focus on and how to spend your energy.
Doors and Windows
Windows and doors account for roughly 25% of the heat loss in any home. Many homeowners diligently seal these areas in their houses, but it’s just as critical to do the same in your garage if you want to prevent heat loss.
Many kinds of weatherstripping products are available at home-improvement stores, but it’s vital to know the right application for each. Here’s what we recommend for the different problem areas in your garage.
- For doors connecting the garage to the rest of the home: use vinyl or rubber sweeps that you can attach to the bottom of the door itself, so heat doesn’t leak out of your home.
- For garage windows: apply foam tapes or felt strips to the window’s edges to prevent heat loss through the cracks.
- For the garage door itself: install tube-shaped gaskets to the bottom of the door so that it creates a seal with the concrete underneath whenever you close it.
Protecting the Garage Door and Opener
Once you’ve sealed the garage door properly, you’ll want to spend some time making sure it can withstand cold winter weather. Here’s a quick checklist you can use to make sure your door is winter-ready:
- Clean and lubricate all the moving parts in your opener. Lubrication will prevent springs, joints, and other critical components from rusting during months of cold-weather usage.
- Check any existing weatherstripping on the door to make sure the seal isn’t broken. If you see a break in the seal and don’t feel comfortable replacing it yourself, contact a licensed professional for assistance.
- Check your door’s balance by manually opening it halfway. If it doesn’t stay there, you might have a problem with your springs. Too much spring tension will cause it to fly open, whereas too little will cause it to fall shut.
- Test the safety mechanism on your garage door by sliding an object in front of the photo eye while the door is opening and making sure the door reverses. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to get the photo-eye serviced before the door is safe to use.
We recommend calling for professional help if you notice problems in any of the above areas. Using a licensed contractor is the best way to ensure a high-quality outcome while protecting your warranty on any of these parts or systems.
Winterproof Your Garage This Year
Don’t wait for rust, dead batteries, or damaged materials to teach you the importance of protecting your garage in winter. Use the information above to ensure that your garage (and everything in it) will be safe from winter woes this year, and contact us if you need help from the experienced Garage Door Repair Pros of Calgary and Edmonton.