When colder weather conditions roll around the corner, it brings with it a horde of necessary changes to your living conditions. The festivities and toasty nights around the fireplace are some optimistic experiences that people look forward to. On the other hand, slippery roads, higher expenditure on power are unforeseen setbacks that are a common part of the winter season.
Patio doors, especially, are not given the attention they need during the time of winter and are often overlooked. Owing to the cold weather, patio doors can often get stuck, leaving the rest of the interiors of the house along with its occupants to brave the cold. On the other hand, if the patio door is frozen shut, it becomes quite a handful to try and pry it open.
How Do Patio Doors Freeze In The Winter?
It’s simple enough to say that the harsh and cold weather conditions cause patio doors to freeze and get stuck. But, arriving at this conclusion without skipping a few steps in between provides for better understanding. First off, not all doors freeze during the winter. It depends on the material that the doors are made of and where they are positioned (the position determines the level of exposure to the harsh weather). Doors made out of glass, steel or even plastic work well in warding away solid substances. However, water can seep through the gaps, rest around the hinges and freeze, causing the door to get stuck.
How Can One Avoid the Freezing of Their Patio Doors?
1. Complete sealing – Just before the winter sets in, it is wise to open the patio doors to check the strength of the weatherstripping. Weatherstrippings help in sealing small gaps in doors and windows. On account of wear and tear and foresight, it might come to light that there are parts of the door where there is no weatherstripping or that it is weak and maybe even ripped apart. Weatherstrippings are available at local stores. They can be bought and used to replace the old one by simply measuring how much is needed and sticking it after cutting out the old stripping.
This will prevent the air from entering and causing the water on the hinges of the door to freeze. It is very important to remember that this cannot be used as a preventive measure for glass doors.
2. Using a door sweep – The gaps that often exist in patio doors are on the lower side. Using a door sweep to supplement the weatherstripping to block the air can be very helpful.
3. Reshaping the door itself – It might be pertinent to reshape the patio door itself. This is necessary only if the weatherstrippings are intact and the door sweep is not enough to block the air from coming in. If this is the case, it means that the door is out of shape and does not fit the frame. It can also mean that the frame might be too big or small for the door. Adjusting the door or getting a new one is advisable in such instances.
4. Lubrication – Applying lubricants on the hinges can stall the doors from freezing today much later than when the doors would have frozen without the presence of the lubricants. People can use the normal gasoline-powered lubricants that is used for daily use and only might need stronger ones for the worst weather. People can consult local hardware stores for the recommended lubricant based on the weather conditions of the locality they live in.
5. Keeping the door open on occasion – It is not going to be extremely cold throughout the winter season. It gets comparatively warmer during parts of the day and parts of the season as a whole. During the warmer parts of the day, the door can be left open for a few minutes. This allows any frozen particles present to thaw out because of the warmer temperature from the inside of the house forging itself with the temperature outside to achieve equilibrium. The recommended duration to keep the door open is between five to ten minutes.
How Does One Deal With a Door That is Already Frozen?
1. Do not try to pry the door open – Using some pressure and coercing the door into the opening is not going to work. In fact, it can prove harmful to the door and the person trying to do it. It can cause the door to crack and also cause some damage to the person attempting it. This is especially true if it is a sliding glass door. Even if it is a conventional door, using force can compromise the structural integrity of the frame and even damage the lock.
2. Breaking the ice – Instead of trying to open the door, pressure can be applied to the borders of the door that frozen. It can cause the ice to crack. However, it is important to remember no to use too much force to damage the rest of the door. The idea to get the ice to crack. Anything ranging from kitchen utensils to cardboard can be used to pick at the ice slowly but effectively.
3. Refraining from metal – In try to break the ice, it is also important not to use sharp metal objects and they can damage glass or chip off the paint.
4. Unconventional methods – Any method that allows one to melt the ice can be used in a situation where patio doors are frozen. The most effective way is to use slightly warm water by pouring it over the ice, causing it to melt. Using hot water is not advised, especially if the patio door is made out of glass. Hot water can cause the glass to shatter, which is obviously an undesirable outcome. Anything that mildly increases the surrounding temperature and causes the ice to melt is highly recommended over other methods. But, the same warning against the use of hot water is recommended here as well.
Fixing a patio door and getting it to work again can be done without too many complications from the comfort of one’s home without needing too much investment or outside hire. But, preventing the freezing of the door in the first place is so much more convenient. Before the onset of winter, it is advised to spend a day to check for gaps in the door, the presence and status of weatherstrippings (whether they are in good condition or not) are highly recommended. Stocking up on a lubricant is also key. Lastly, it is also useful to set a reminder on any phone app during the winter to remind the user to keep the patio door open for a few minutes and close it immediately afterward. If it can be gauged that the door itself is too weak, it is strongly advised that the door be replaced before winter comes. It’s a small long-term investment that will guarantee a payoff. Sometimes, it might be that all that needs to be replaced are the rollers, screens and the glass and the whole door might have to be replaced only when it’s absolutely necessary. It is ideal that these changes come before winter begins.