The garage door is one of the most important aspects of the home. It’s also something that is easy to take for granted. We push a button or two, or pull a lever, and the door opens, giving us a warm, safe area to work, or a nice place to store our vehicles, out of the elements. Many people even access their homes through their garage, preferring to use that entrance rather than the front door. And, why not? For many people, the garage is an extension of their home. But what happens when your garage door stops functioning properly? A malfunctioning door can lead to issues ranging from minor inconvenience to serious injury. Read on to discover some tips on how you can implement some routine garage door maintenance techniques to keep your door working the way that it should.
As always, especially when working on potentially dangerous mechanical items in your home, be sure to put safety first. Some industry estimates state that over 30,000 people each year are injured in some type of garage door accident. When you consider that the garage door is most likely the largest moving part of your home, it only makes sense that great care should be taken when doing any type of garage door maintenance on your own.
There are three major safety precautions to keep in mind when attempting your own garage door maintenance. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start:
While some repairs may need to be completed by a qualified professional, there are several things homeowners can do on their own to ensure the continued safety and reliability of their garage doors.
One of the easiest things you can do regarding your garage door upkeep is to check for rust or weathered portions of the door that need to be painted or repaired. If your door is wood, check for and remove any peeling paint, then prime and paint if necessary. Wood can also warp over time, so make sure to check for that as well. If there is weather stripping along the bottom of the door, make sure it is in good condition. If there is none, make sure the bottom of the door is sealed and painted, then install weather stripping. And, if your door is steel or metal, you may need to sand any rust spots, then prime and paint.
Besides the physical condition of your door, it is also important to examine its mechanical condition. One thing you can do is check your door’s balance. Use the manual release to raise or lower your door to the half-open position. (Remember, you should have your electronic controls disengaged at this point.) If your door remains in position, then your balance is probably good. However, if the door raises higher, that might be an indication that the springs are wound too tight, and if it lowers, that probably means your springs are too loose. If you determine that your springs need to be adjusted, it is probably a good idea to consult with a professional, as damage to your springs and/or door, as well as personal injury, can occur if proper safety measures aren’t taken.
Another simple action you can take for routine garage door maintenance is to make sure all hardware is tightened. The garage door opens and closes so much over the course of a year. The stress can eventually cause some of the hardware to loosen. Pay special attention to any brackets holding tracks to the walls and ceiling and any hardware that anchors the main garage door opener unit to the frame.
You or a professional should inspect the rollers alongside the garage door at least twice per year. They should be replaced approximately every five years. Replace any that show significant wear during your twice-yearly inspection. Make sure you do not remove the rollers that are near the bottom on each side of the door. These are attached to cables that are under strong tension and could be very dangerous if not handled properly.
Most automatic garage doors have an auto-reverse feature which will force the door to raise if it detects an object in its path. This is another item to add to your list when conducting routine garage door maintenance. Obviously, this is important, as it could be catastrophic if a member of your family, or even your car, was in the doorway at the time of malfunction.
To test the auto-reverse feature, place a 2 x 4 board on the floor directly underneath the open garage door, then initiate the process of closing the door. (You will need to power on your electronics if you had previously disconnected them for maintenance purposes.) Once the door hits the board, it should bounce back up immediately and remain open until the object is removed.
If you have the type of garage door with sensors on each side, try waving an object underneath the door as it’s closing. It should stop moving once it senses the object. If the auto-reverse feature is not working, consult your instruction manual for details on how to adjust, or consider hiring a professional.
Cables and pulleys attach to the garage door and to the brackets at the bottom of the door. They provide the tension that helps to open and close the door as well as assist in operating safety features, such as the auto-reverse function. While it is very important to regularly inspect cables and pulleys for any damage, such as fraying or significant wear, most professionals do not recommend that a homeowner attempts to change or repair these items on their own, as the potential for injury is great due to the high tension present.
Next to work, home is where we spend most of our time. Therefore, it’s important to make sure our homes are safe and function properly. Following the simple steps outlined in this article will assist in doing just that. By implementing even one of the suggestions here, you can begin the journey toward successful garage door maintenance.
If you’d like to learn more about proper garage door maintenance, or would like to hire a professional, please contact AGS at (940) 343-7537 today. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation as well as all the information necessary to make the best decision for your garage door needs.