Celebrate the return of spring with a few home improvement tasks. A season for renewal, spring home improvement often includes decluttering, organizing, and cleaning. The changing of the seasons also provides the opportunity to care for the one home feature most homeowners forget: the garage door. Maintaining the door now can prevent big and, possibly, costly problems later.
Good to Know: Some preventative maintenance tasks should only be completed by a garage door repair professional. Do not attempt to adjust the torsion or, alternatively, extension springs. The springs are what make the door work and, as such, are under an immense level of tension. Bolts painted red also require professional adjustment.
Here are five maintenance tasks you can easily complete.
Monthly Visual Inspections
One of the first things you should do is to visually inspect the door. Note any unusual noises or jerky movements during its operation. Inspect the tracks to ensure no debris catches the rollers. Also inspect the door for excessive wear and tear, damage, and rust or corrosion – all issues that can ultimately lead to garage door failure if not addressed.
Monthly Door Balance Test
If your garage door is not properly balanced, the springs, along with the cables and pulleys will have to work much harder to lift and lower it. Harder the work = shorter the lifespan. To test the door’s balance, follow these steps in the proper order:
Monthly Automatic-Reversal Tests
There are two safety features designed to automatically reverse the direction of your garage door: mechanical and photoelectric. To test the mechanical safety feature, place a 2×4 in the path of the door, and activate the opener to close. The door should immediately reverse direction as soon as it contacts the object. The second feature, the “photo eyes” are designed to detect anyone or anything that crosses their line of communication, immediately cutting off the signal used to lower the door. This prevents the door from closing. With the door open, test this feature by passing a broom in front of the sensors; it should immediately reverse. If the door fails either of these tests, immediately disconnect the door from the opener, and contact a professional for repair.
Every six months – once in the fall and again in the spring – apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the garage door’s hinges, rollers, and tracks. Avoid using WD-40. Try to also avoid getting any product on the rollers or tracks as this can cause the door to slip. Although, you should wipe down the tracks using a clean, damp cloth.
Annual Weatherstripping Inspection
If the threshold seal on the door’s bottom is brittle or cracked, replace it, along with the weatherstripping right away. You may also want to consider adding insulation. These products help keep heat out during the summer and retain cooled air during the winter. Threshold seals, weatherstripping, and insulation can be found at most any local hardware or home improvement store. Just cut to size and install.
Regularly Clean the Garage Door
You’ll be amazed at the effect cleaning a dirty garage door can have on curb appeal. Wash the door’s surface and windows (if applicable) with a mild liquid soap and water. To avoid damaging the door, use a soft sponge, cloth or brush. Rinse thoroughly with a garden variety hose.
Are you having issues with your garage door closing? Here are some of the more common reasons why your garage door may not close or stay closed.
Worn or Bent Tracks
If the tracks responsible for guiding the door while it is opening or closing are bent, warped or otherwise damaged, the door may not close properly. Another common problem that may cause issues with the door is clogged tracks. If this is the case, try wiping them down with a clean, damp cloth to see if this fixes the issue. If the door still won’t close, contact a garage door professional for repair.
Broken Garage Door Springs
One of the most critical components in a garage door assembly is the spring system, which includes either torsion or extension springs, along with cables and pulleys. This system provides counterbalancing force to safely open and close the door each time the opener is activated. For the average household, this is four times daily, which translates to a lifespan of just seven years for standard 10,000-cycle springs.
If the springs break because of normal wear and tear or damage the door could be unable to close. Repair of broken garage door springs almost always involves complete replacement of both springs. If you suspect a spring has broken, do not continue to operate the door, as this can damage the door’s assembly. Property damage or personal injury may also occur. Always contact a garage door professional.
Safety Warning: If the door was in the open position when the spring broke, do not disconnect the opener from the door. The could cause the door to come crashing down. Always unplug the opener from its power source until repairs can be made.
Misaligned or Obstructed Sensors
The garage door opener is equipped with photoelectric safety sensors that if misaligned or obstructed may prevent the door from closing. The main function of the “photo eyes,” as they are also called, is to detect an obstacle in the path of their electronic beam. If an obstruction breaks their communication while the door is closing, the door will reverse, opening instead of closing. The opener lights will also flash.
If your garage door won’t close, check to see if any of the contents of your garage are causing an obstruction, as this can cause the malfunction. If the garage doorway is clear, you may need to either clean the lens using a soft microfiber cloth, or realign the sensors by simply pushing against the metal brackets. When the light on the sensors comes back on, and stays on, the door opener should operate normally.
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