A good car owner is always cognizant of upkeep and maintenance. When it comes to things like changing the oil, topping off fluids, rotating tires, and protecting leather and upholstery, we do a good job of staying on top of what needs to be done. However, for some reason, most of us don’t do as well with inspecting and maintaining the garages that house our vehicles.
The Importance of Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Your home’s garage door is extremely important in multiple respects. Unfortunately, it’s also something the majority of homeowners take for granted. In order to stress the need for regular inspection and maintenance, let’s examine the three biggest reasons why your garage door matters.
- Safety. The number one reason to regularly inspect your garage door has to do with safety. As the largest moving part in your home, it would be foolish to blindly open and close this mechanism without ever reviewing its condition. If a malfunction were to occur, it could damage your vehicle, home, pets, or even children.
- Security. Garage doors not only protect your vehicle from the elements, but they also protect your home from external threats. It’s the largest entry point in your home and needs to be properly cared for to ensure it doesn’t become a target for burglars and other criminals. If you’re not maintaining it, then it’s probably not doing an adequate job of keeping your family protected.
- Aesthetic appeal. Finally, there’s the aesthetic appeal. A deteriorating garage door can make your home look old and dilapidated, while a new door and opener can add value to your property. It may not be as important as safety and security, but don’t discount aesthetic appeal.
When you look at your garage door in light of security, safety, and aesthetic appeal, regular inspection and maintenance suddenly becomes more of a priority. But don’t pull out your toolbox and turn on the power tools just yet. There are a few things you need to know about working on your garage door.
The Dangers of Garage Door Springs
Most homeowners have a little bit of a DIY streak in them. There’s something empowering and satisfactory in handling a job that others call the professionals for. And while there are some small maintenance jobs you can handle on your own – and we’ll discuss these in the next section – there are also many garage door-related problems you should never attempt to fix on your own.
In particular, you should never mess with the springs. Every garage door has one of two types of springs: a torsion spring or extension spring system. Extension springs stretch down either side of the horizontal track. Torsion springs are mounted horizontally on a bar above the door when it is closed. When the door is in the down position, the garage door cables attached to the bottom corners of the door cause the spring system to gain tension.. When the door is opened, the springs unwind and energy is transferred to the door so it can lift.
There are many dangers when dealing with your garage door springs. First you could cause the door to suddenly slam shut, injuring or damaging whoever or whatever is below. However, this generally pales in comparison to the risk of trying to fix or replace the torsion spring.
“Garage door [torsion] springs are tightly wound, meaning they are under a lot of tension,” explains Jeff Beneke, a garage door expert for About.com. “When they break, or when some unsuspecting DIYer tries to fiddle with them, they can cause a whole lot of pain. Wise DIYers know that this is one household chore that is best left to the pros.”
With torsion springs, there’s always risk of the door slamming and injuring someone, but it’s the spring itself that poses the biggest risk. The sheer amount of tension these springs build up over time means one wrong move can snap it out of place. An error here could mean broken bones in the hand or face. And if the force is enough to come back and hit you in the wrong place, it could mean disfigurement, concussion, or even death.
We suggest always calling the professionals to handle spring-related maintenance. In other words, this is not a DIY garage door repair.
DIY Inspection and Maintenance Tips
While you never want to work on your garage door’s extension or torsion springs without calling for professional help, there are some simple inspection and maintenance related tasks you should be able to safely handle on your own. Here are a few:
Checking Old Springs
It’s perfectly okay to visually inspect garage door springs. In fact, you should do this a few times a year. Look for anything that appears to be broken or deteriorating. If you inspect these mechanisms regularly, you should notice if something is out of place.
All garage door openers manufactured and installed after 1993 are required to have a safety reversing mechanism. Test this system regularly to ensure your family is safe. You can do it in three easy steps:
- Start by locating the sensors on the bottom of either side of the door. The sensors should be mounted within six inches of the ground. If they are any higher, it’s recommended that they be lowered.
- Using an object, block one of the sensors and press the garage door close button. The door shouldn’t close.
- Now, lay an object that’s at least 1.5 inches high on the ground and in the pathway of the door. Press the close button and observe what happens. The door should begin to close and then reverse once hitting the obstruction.
If the garage door’s safety reversing mechanism seems to be working, then you’re good to go. If not, call a professional for a second opinion.
Lubricating Hinges and Rollers
The last thing you can do on your own is lubricate squeaky hinges, rollers, and springs. It’s best not to touch these parts, so use a bottle of white lithium grease spray. This will allow you to keep the system running quiet and smooth.
Contact a Local Expert Today
If your garage door is in need of repair or maintenance – especially when it comes to extension and torsion springs – then please reach out to us today by entering your zip code in the footer to schedule your repair.