A Colorado Garage Door Storm Survival Guide
We understand the power of storms here in Colorado. Whether it’s punishing snow in winter or powerful hail in the summer, we’re always braced for storm damage. Consider this statistic from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA): Of all the states in the Union, Colorado had the second highest number of hail claims between 2013 and 2015 with 182,591. Colorado weather can wreak havoc on a home.
Garage doors are no exception. Powerful winds, heavy snow and hail stone impacts can damage a garage door. Damage can be unsightly and impede the functionality of your garage door. After a significant storm event, homeowners like yourself may wonder what steps to take next.
We created this guide to help you handle Colorado garage door storm damage. Whether you’re worried about how to fix a dented garage door panel, how to get a frozen garage door open or need to know how to open a garage door without power from the outside, our goal is to give you the information you need to get your garage door back into functional and beautiful condition.
A July Colorado Hail Storm Causes Significant Damage
A look into Colorado’s recent past provides an example of the state’s severe weather. On July 28, 2016, Colorado Springs was hit with an incredible hail storm. According to the Denver Post, the storm caused $352.8 million in damages to both homes and automobiles, and that’s not including damage to commercial property. Half a million dollars in damages have been estimated at the Colorado Springs Airport alone. Unsurprisingly, the storm was one of the costliest storms in Colorado state history, ranking at number 6.
Anyone who experienced damage suffered, but people with adequate insurance coverage suffered much less. We can help you think about what you can do to protect your garage door, but nothing compares to a comprehensive home insurance plan.
What can you do to prepare for a severe Colorado storm? Let’s look at specific steps you can take to make sure you’re fully braced for Colorado weather.
Hail Storms: How to Prepare and Fix Damage
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to physically prepare for potential hail damage. Because of the strength and substance of hail, the best you can do is make sure your home is fully covered for such damage.
It won’t necessarily protect your garage door, but if hail is predicted, you should move your car into the garage so you can at least avoid hail damage on your vehicle.
The best way to address hail damage is to have a preferred Colorado hail damage garage door repair professional in mind. There are some things you can do on your own to fix common hail damage, such as a bent garage door panel, but professionals are likely your best bet for addressing any significant garage door hail damage.
Much of the most noticeable damage will be cosmetic. Dents and dings in aluminum doors can impact your home’s curb appeal. You shouldn’t ignore cosmetic issues, because they can also be symptoms of larger, more significant structural problems.
For example, dents and misshapen doors can put added pressure on the hinges, causing them to wear unevenly and potentially fail unexpectedly in the future. Additionally, a dented door may cause issues with your locking mechanism without you knowing it, compromising the security of your home.
Not all garage door hail damage can be repaired, so it is important to have a professional assess the damage and help you determine the most cost-effective course of action. You should make sure to document the damage as soon as it occurs, so you can receive the proper compensation from your insurance policy. Finally, make sure to keep notes and records, including copies of all the repair estimates, so you can more effectively coordinate with your insurance policy.
Preparing for and Addressing High Winds
Dangerous winds can strike quickly and unexpectedly, and wind can damage a garage door. It’s crucial to prepare your garage doors for high winds in Colorado Springs. First and foremost, you should examine local building codes in order to determine the minimum wind resistance for your garage door. Make sure you’re in line with local building codes. These minimum requirements can help serve as a guideline for future garage door purchases. Investing in a door that exceeds the minimum requirement is a great way to ensure your door will be able to weather occasional high winds.
Garage door bracing kits that can be added if you want to improve the wind resistance of your door without replacing it. Bracing kits are often designed for homeowners in hurricane prone parts of the country, so they will go a long way in preventing wind damage in Colorado.
Finally, if you are in a pinch and know that you need to brace your door for high winds but don’t have time to acquire a specially designed kit, there are a number of DIY plans for braces using 2x4s. If you install a rigid bracing system, make sure to disconnect the garage door motor in order to prevent accidentally lifting the door during or after installation, as it could cause significant damage to the lifting mechanism or injury to you or others.
If your door has been damaged by high winds, have a professional inspect it. Winds can often cause unseen damage, which could cause significant problems in the future. Always have a professional in mind who has experience dealing with high wind garage door damage in Colorado.
Preparing and Protecting Your Garage Door During a Snow Storm
More than any other form of inclement weather, Colorado homeowners must be prepared for heavy snow. There are number of issues that can arise during heavy snow fall, so it is important to be prepared.
- The first thing you should do as a homeowner every winter is lubricate your door hinges and lifting mechanism. If the various moving parts in your door become frozen and stuck, you likely won’t realize it until you attempt to open your locked door. This strain can cause significant damage. Additionally, it is much easier to lubricate moving parts as opposed to adding lubricant to locked, immobile joints. In other words, a little DIY maintenance work every fall before the snow falls will save you from a much bigger job later on.
- If you are expecting heavy snow fall, there are steps you can take to ensure that the threshold of your garage door doesn’t freeze shut. Many people are diligent about applying salt or sand to their driveways before a snowfall, but you should include salt both directly in front of your door on the outside and just inside you door as well. This well help ensure that condensation along the threshold of your door doesn’t freeze and lock your door shut.
- After the snow has fallen, you should shovel or snow blow as soon as you can. In order to be efficient, make sure to either bring your shovel or snow blower outside before the snow falls or at least move it into a place where it is easily accessed, even if your garage door cannot be opened. A state-of-the-art snow blower isn’t going to be much help if it is stuck behind a parked car within a garage that is frozen shut. Tackle your shoveling immediately — the longer snow piles and sits against your garage door, the more likely it is to cause damage to your door.
Besides causing your door to freeze shut, driveway snow is also a common cause of door dents — not from the snow itself but from cars that are sliding on the snow trying to park. Remember, even if you are driving as carefully and slowly as possible, a layer of snow on your driveway can prevent your car from stopping.
Snow sitting against your garage door can cause your door to freeze, and prolonged exposure to ice can harden your weatherstripping. As your weatherstripping hardens, it becomes less effective at keeping out cold and moisture, which increases the risk of snow damage. Even if you have been diligent about removing snow, weatherstripping will naturally age over time. Examine it as part of your pre-winter preparations. If it has hardened noticeably, have it replaced professionally.
Addressing Common Winter Problems
Now that we’ve addressed some of the specific weather conditions common to Colorado, we also want to give you some advice for dealing with common problems. There are a number of issues that you can handle on your own, and you can use this guide to distinguish the problems that have DIY solutions and those that require a professional.
How Do I Open a Garage Door That Is Frozen to the Ground?
Your first step is determining if your garage is frozen shut. A few functionality issues can cause your door to become immobile, so before you start working on unfreezing your door, check the springs and cables to ensure they are in place. If they appear damaged, call a professional immediately, as springs should never be repaired by an amateur. If you hit the lift button on the wall of your garage — proving that a dead battery in your lift remote isn’t to blame — make sure not to continually hit the button hoping it’ll start to work. If you are trying to engage the motor and the door is too frozen to lift, you can severely damage your motor by causing gears to strip. You could also potentially blow out the motor.
If you are confident that everything else is in working order, you can start taking some basic steps to fix your frozen garage door opener:
- Step 1. Disconnect the lifting mechanism from the door. This is a crucial step for ensuring your safety. To disengage the lift, pull the manual release cord. This cord generally hangs from the actual lift motor and has a red handle. This way, if the motor engages, you won’t get hurt by a suddenly moving door.
- Step 2. Remove the ice. Many people try to take drastic steps, such as pouring boiling water on the door threshold. Boiling water can quickly freeze in cold weather, so you will likely only make the ice harder. Instead, use a tool like a chisel or a screw driver to chip away at the ice manually.
- Step 3. Once you chip away enough of the ice, try lifting the door by hand. Because you have detached the door from the motor, you should be able to lift it easily. And because you won’t blow a motor if you try to lift the door by hand before it is free, you can try to lift it as often as you want.
Once you have lifted the door, it may be wise to keep your door open, as long as further inclement weather isn’t anticipated. Additionally, if you are still concerned that your motor may have been damaged, you should schedule an appointment with a professional with knowledge on how to fix a frozen garage door in Colorado. That way, you can be confident that you haven’t accidentally done some unseen damage to your garage door lift mechanism.
How Do I Open a Garage Door Without Power?
Power outages are common during inclement weather, but they can happen at any time. Every homeowner should know how to manually open their garage door from the inside. During a power outage, your first step is pulling the detachment cord and putting the garage in manual mode. By detaching the motor, you will have to lift your door by hand, but you won’t need any power to do so.
If you are expecting an extended power outage, keep your garage door in manual mode. In manual mode, remember it can be lifted by hand, even from the outside. Most garage doors also come with manual locks, so make sure to use them if you have disconnected the lifting mechanism.
When you are ready to reengage the motor, consult your owner’s manual. It will tell you how to reset a garage door after a power outage, as the process may be different depending on your model. Many lifts will automatically reengage if you run the motor while it is disconnected. The motor will move the spring attachment into its proper place.
Is a Garage Door Battery Backup Worth It?
Many new garage motor models come with a battery backup, so you can use the motor even if the power is out. For people in areas that experience frequent black outs — such as Southern Colorado — this can be a very helpful feature.
A garage door opener battery backup system is simple but is a relatively new feature. Unfortunately, if you don’t have one currently installed on your motor, you can’t simply add one. In order to take advantage of this powerful feature, you need to replace your motor. Considering how often garage door opener battery backups are used, it is a worthwhile investment in Colorado.
Having to get out of your car in the freezing cold to lift your door by hand for days while you wait for power to be restored doesn’t sound inviting. A new garage door opener with a battery backup is convenient and gives you some comfort in an emergency situation. Be sure to test the battery before the winter, so you can feel confident when the first big storm hits.
Counting on American Overhead Door
It’s always wise to have the tools and skills to fix common weather problems on your own. Hopefully, some of our tips will prove useful next time you experience a severe Colorado storm. We are committed to being a service to the community. We never charge clients for giving advice over the phone. If you call us for help and we can talk you through your issue over the phone, the help is free of charge.
We also know that sometimes there are problems that should be left to a professional. Issues like aging or damaged lift springs, severely dented doors, and worn out gears are problems that require a professional repair or replacement. You need a garage door service professional you can trust whether it is a small, simple fix or a total garage door overhaul.
We have been providing community-focused expertise since 1985. We started as a small operation in Colorado Springs, and have since earned a reputation for peerless service and extensive knowledge. We are the largest non-franchised overhead door dealer in Southern Colorado. We have any recently established a new location in Salida, CO, helping us reach beyond our first home in Colorado Springs.
We supply the highest quality brands. You can trust our work and the products we install. The doors we install are renowned for their durability, and we only work with the best motors on the market. We offer both residential and commercial solutions, so you can replace or repair any garage door no matter the type of property you own.
We are also provide 24-hour service, which is crucial in a storm situation. No matter when you discover that the weather has rendered your garage door inoperable, you have a partner you can count on.
In Colorado, we experience severe weather. And as a Colorado homeowner, we understand your many worries. Your garage door is important, so we want you to be prepared with the tools to solve the most common weather-related garage door problems. If you find that you can’t solve your garage door issue on your own, feel free to contact us, any day or night. We look forward to partnering with you and helping you, rain or shine, snow or hail.