As the leaves slowly change and the temperatures drop, we are reminded that winter is right around the corner. Homeowners know to winterize their home, but often overlook their garage. This can prove to be a damaging, costly mistake. Read our tips on how to prepare your garage for chilly winds and snow.
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Ensure Your Garage Door is Up to the Challenge
Make sure that your garage is fully insulated with intact seals or weather-stripping. Take note, these components tend to degrade with time, so it’s important to check their integrity at least once a year. If your garage door is not well sealed, cold drafts and moisture can penetrate.
Similarly, make sure that the hinges are free of rust and are properly lubricated with silicone or lithium-based products. Avoid heavier oils, as these tend to harden up with lower temperatures.
Make sure to keep the rubber sealant at the bottom of the door dry by regularly wiping it off throughout the winter. Also consider applying table salt to the entranceway, as the edible version is less damaging to your tires than road salt. Both actions prevent the risk of the rubber freezing to the ground and ripping away from the garage door.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
Exposed water pipes in an unheated garage have heightened vulnerability to freezing and bursting. The result? Flooding can quickly engulf your garage and home. Use pipe wrap or foam sleeves to warm your pipes, secured with either zip ties or insulation tape.
Additionally, you’ll want to properly insulate the holes caused by pipes passing through exterior walls. This can be achieved with secured fiberglass insulation, foam caulk rope, or expanding foam sealant.
Why Excess Cold and Moisture Can Damage Your Garage and Belongings
As eluded to above, frozen water pipes often lead to rupturing and severe flooding. However, even if this worst-case scenario doesn’t play out, there are plenty of other risks to not winterizing your garage. The inward flow winter weather will drive up energy bills and prevent cold air from seeping into your attached home.
Dramatic drops in temperature wrecks havoc on your car. It slows the battery, hurting the starter and alternator. Various essential fluids like antifreeze and transmission fluid thicken. Tire pressure diminishes. Your vehicle’s electronic systems can also malfunction.
Wintery weather also jeopardizes equipment commonly stored in garages. As noted in this article, tires are best stored in environments with above-freezing temperatures and minimal moisture, or else you risk compromising their rubber. Similarly, it’s important to strategically store your lawnmower for winter so the oil doesn’t become too cold. If your garage’s temperatures become too cold, you can ruin stored paints, cleaning chemicals, and similar liquids.
In short, it’s crucial that you’re able to control the temperature and water levels inside your garage or else your jeopardize your most prized possessions (your house and vehicle).
Winterizing your garage is easy to accomplish as a short DIY project or there are professionals who can complete this on your behalf. Either way, the small investment or time and money will save both in the long run.