In many instances, the garage door is the single largest moving part in a home. Garage doors require proper maintenance to ensure their continued functionality and convenience. While major repairs should be left to the experts, such a spring replacements, every homeowner should conduct regular basic maintenance and inspections to spot problems before they become serious. The following maintenance tasks are well within the reach of the average homeowner, and should be performed regularly.
1. Lubricating the Moving Parts
In efforts to extending the lifespan of your garage door system, be sure to keep the rollers, hinges, and other moving parts well lubricated. This will help limit the stress on the door and door opener. Bi-annually, we suggest apply a high-quality spray lubricant, such as white lithium grease spray, on the rollers and hinges. Be sure to clean off any excess. A penetrating solution may be required for any rollers or hinges that seem to be seized up. Once freed, apply the lithium grease.
In addition to the rollers and hinges, its important to lubricate the spring system. This includes the pulleys on extension-spring setups and the bearings on torsion-spring setups. Spay oil across the torsion spring to keep it running smoothly. If your garage door opener utilizes a screw or chain, Lubricate these as well. Do not use lubricant on a belt-drive opener.
2. Inspect the Tracks
Inspect the tracks on both sides of the door to make sure they are free of debris and rust. Dirt and dust can build up on the track and lead to premature failure of your rollers, springs or bearings. A damp cloth will take care of most of the cleaning needs here. For sticky residue, use a solvent metal cleaner. If you live in a cold climate, snow and ice in the track may also be a concern. You can also use a level to make sure the tracks are perfectly vertical along their vertical sections. While minor adjustments can be a DIY project, any major track adjustments should be trusted to the professionals.
3. Repair or Replace Weatherstripping
Looking to save energy? Inspect your weatherstripping. The rubber weatherstripping around the door opening and on the bottom of the door helps keep out the cold as well as water, dust, and dirt. There are several ways the seal at the bottom of the door can be attached, dependent on the garage door model. If this is torn, damaged, or missing, look to have it replaced. The weatherseal around the door opening comes in many different colors to match your door and home style.
4. Inspect the Garage Door Opener Safety Features
All residential garage door openers manufactured after 1993 should have an auto-reverse feature that is designed to stop and reverse the direction of the door if it detects an object in the path of the door or it hits an object while the door is closing. This safety feature is activated by a force setting or by a pair of safety eyes on each side of the door. These eyes should be located no higher than 6″ from the floor.
Test the force setting by placing a 2×4 board flat on the ground in the path of the door. When the door comes down and touches the 2×4, it should reverse direction and return to the open position. Test the safety eyes by starting to close the door, then passing your leg in the door’s path. The door should reverse direction and return to the open position. If your garage door opener does not have these features, we suggest replacing it.
5. Test the Door Balance
To ensure the safety and well being of your garage door and garage door opener, regularly inspect the doors balance. If your garage door is not properly balanced, the garage door opener will have to work harder, shortening the lifespan. Test the balance by pulling the release handle on the garage door opener, placing it in manual mode. Then manually place the door halfway open. The door should remain in place. If the door begins to drop or raise, the door is improperly balanced or the springs are beginning to wear out. Trust all spring repairs to a professional.
6. Tighten all Hardware
The vibration and motion caused by the garage door consistently moving up and down can result in loose hardware over an extended period of time. Inspect all of the track brackets and door fasteners to ensure everything is tight. Use a socket wrench to tighten up any loose bolts you find.