My house's door open outwards and overnight the snow has accumulated outside (to half the door height) and prevented the door from being opened.

What to do in this situation if we want to open the door and go outside?

  • 9
    I'm guessing you're not from Boston, as you haven't already jumped out the window.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 19:14
  • 2
    We're inexperienced DC residents :(
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 19:20
  • 2
    @Tester101: I would most likely put it into the lifehacks category somewhat
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 21:38
  • 7
    Order pizza delivery and promise a good tip.
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:56
  • 2
    Start by posting a picture, and also post details of the other windows/doors/escape routes in your house. It's unusual for the slab door to open outwards, but it's common for the screen or storm door. Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 15:08

6 Answers 6


Go out a door that's not blocked and walk to the blocked one to clear the snow.

If all your doors are blocked go out a window and do the same.

If it's a screen door, remove the screen and reach through the opening to move the snow. You can use a broom or even a pot or baking pan if your don't have a shovel within reach.

  • 6
    ...and then replace the door with an in-swinging one in the spring.
    – Comintern
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 18:53
  • 6
    +1 You missed setting fire to the blocked door. (But DIY's lawyers might get nervous)
    – bib
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 18:58
  • @bib if it's a wooden door, (ab)using a heavy kitchen knife as machete would be a safer destructive option. A metal door wouldn't care either way. Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 19:00
  • 3
    A chainsaw would be faster, and the wood chips could supply anti slip traction.
    – bib
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 19:12
  • 5
    Not a particularly good idea using the personal heater. It could melt some of the snow but water resulting from that is likely to run into the wall, door frame and framing surrounding the door. This could have long term problems. Another aspect is that the heater is small with respect to the total size of the door and snow depth. It will melt locally but then the water will run down and likely re-freeze making ice which could block the door even worse and be harder to remove. Best is to go out an unblocked door or window and shovel the snow away from the blocked door.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 19:49

Here are some options:

  1. Use another door
  2. Go out a window so you can dig out the door
  3. Call someone who can come over and dig you out
  4. Hole up and wait for the snow to melt.
  • 2
    Rock the door back and forth a bit to compress the snow and eventually sneak through the door.
    – gbronner
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 21:07

In most cases, snow is not a solid substance. It is powder so it has a bit of movement. What you have to do it push the door a little bit open, and close it repeatably. From this you will hopefully be able to get your hand out the door to clear more snow. From that you can then open it even more. Repeat this process until you can fit a shovel out to clear the door.

In the future it would be better to open the door every few hours so that the buildup of snow is less at each time and only swinging it allows it to open.

An alternate option is to open your garage door as it is vertical and will not be blocked by the snow.


I doubt the snow is so compacted that you cannot open the door at all. You don't have a huge ice-cube out of your door.

So, just open the door as much as you can and dig your path clean.


I have a glass storm door. The glass insert has screws on the inside. I'm going to take out the screws, remove the insert and hopefully get outside .


Unhinge the door from hinges. In case of emergency break door with axe.

  • 11
    With an outward opening door, I don't believe you can access the hinge pins from the inside while the door is closed.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 2:35

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