How to Know When It’s Time to Repair or Replace Your Garage Door
Out with the old, in with the new! That’s one way to look at things, but while familiar sayings may ring true, there’s usually more to decision making than that. The important thing to remember is that any time you have to make a choice there are several things to consider, things unique to you and your set of circumstances. Evaluating your wants, needs, and desires, tempered with practical considerations, can help you get the best results. Your garage door is damaged. Sure, you want the door to work properly. You need to be able to live and work as you did before. And like most people you desire the best, newest, safest, quietest garage door available. There are several ways to approach this.
Signs You May Need a Replacement
Example #1: Car versus door leaves you with a dented section.
- Proper, safe, section replacement by homeowners is usually not practical. In many cases a section replacement may be half the price of a new door.
Get a new door. This gives you a chance to have the latest features, perhaps better insulation, new color choices, better weatherstrip, maybe a row of windows. You’ll have a new warranty too.
- What if you have two doors on your garage and the new product won’t match the old? As well, a replacement section may not look exactly the same as the rest of the door due to the natural fading which, depending on the age and location of the door could be very noticeable.
- If the door has had a lot of use, wear parts like rollers and cables may cause trouble and expense in the future.
- Have you had a number of service calls in the past? Springs have a limited life and can fail after a specified number of cycles–maybe not long after you replace the damaged section.
- How old is the door? How old are you? (Sounds funny, but consider this for all major purchases.)
- Do you plan to stay in the house?
- What was the condition of the door before it was hit? Have you already had a service call because of the accident?
Signs You May Only Need a Repair
Example #2: The door does not work properly.
- Inspect the door, inside and out, for obvious defects like broken cables or springs.
- While the door is in the down position, disconnect it from the operator, if applicable. Open the door. If it is heavy, or noisy, return it to the closed position and lock it in place. Have your Garage Door Repair technician check the door.
- If there are major problems, the same principles shown above apply: How old is it, overall condition, how often it’s used, your plans to stay in the house, etc. In many cases a simple repair is the best way to go.
- The door may not be connected to the operator drawbar arm.
Example #3: Your operator is not working.
- There may be loss of power to the unit.
- Photo eyes may be dirty or out of alignment. Note: that service technicians will not repair any operator that does not have external safety devices, such as photo eyes, making total operator replacement the only option available to the homeowner.
- There could be an obstruction in the opening.
- The problem may be with the door, not the operator.
- The low voltage wiring to the wall button may be loose or broken.
- Transmitter batteries may be weak. Light bulb replacement is an easy task.
- With an operator, the age of the unit is a major consideration since there is ongoing improvement in the technology available that gives owners more convenience and security than ever before. Unless there is a very simple fix, operator replacement and the benefits to the homeowner make this an easy choice.
Let Us Help
Decision time. Ask yourself what’ll you have when the job is finished. In summary, because of the tools and techniques needed there’s little a homeowner can safely do to fix a door problem, so whether to fix an existing door/operator, or installing new equipment is a question of value. Calculate this by looking at the facts, list the pros and cons and see what will be the best choice for you. Often one of these–the pros or cons–will far outnumber the other.
At GarageDoorRepair.com, we connect you with local garage door repair experts from around the country. Find a locally licensed company with highly-trained technicians who can provide garage door repair replacement services in both commercial and residential settings.
Is Your Garage Door Not Closing? These 7 Reasons Are to Blame…
One or more of these reasons is likely responsible for your garage door closing partially, but not all the way:
1. Something blocking the door
Though this problem should be obvious, it shouldn’t be overlooked. If there’s something blocking the door from closing all the way, a full close will be impossible. Check your garage floor and the area surrounding it for any objects or debris that might be causing the improper close. You may also want to check the tracks, and the garage door itself, for the culprit.
2. Faulty safety sensors
First, and perhaps most commonly, your safety sensors could be working improperly. These twin sensors usually sit near the bottom of your garage door, less than 6 inches above the ground. They face each other, sending a signal across the length of the doorway to determine whether there is anything in the way of the closing garage door. If one or both of these sensors are not receiving power, or are not emitting the signal properly, your garage door will respond by failing to close all the way. This is a safety feature, but it can be annoying when there isn’t anything actually blocking the door. If the root cause is a sensor failure, you can purchase a new pair of sensors and replace the faulty ones.
3. Safety sensor misalignment
In many cases, the photo eyes are working properly, however, they are sending a perpetual signal to your garage door that something is in the way as a result of misalignment. This can occur if one sensor is struck or moved out of place. Conveniently, most sensors are equipped with a light that informs you whether they’re in alignment or not; when the light is on and solid, both sensors are aligned and functioning properly. When the light is blinking, they’re out of alignment. This problem can usually be corrected by returning the sensors to their proper orientation.
4. Broken springs
Garage doors rely heavily on various springs to open and close with ease. If any of these springs are broken or damaged, it could lead to the door becoming misaligned and not closing properly. Fortunately, it’s easy to tell when one of these springs has been damaged; a brief visual inspection, even from a non-expert, will be able to diagnose the problem almost immediately. We recommend leaving all spring repairs to a professional.
5. Damaged cables
All garage doors depend on some sort of cabling to lower the door properly. If any of these cables are worn or damaged, they may not be able to complete the task properly. In most cases, a thorough visual inspection should be able to spot any damaged cable. We recommend leaving all cable repairs to a professional.
6. Door travel limits
You may also have a problem with the travel distance setting on your door. In most garage door openers, there’s a default setting to tell the garage door how far to close. This can be improperly set upon installation, or slowly drift away from the original setting over time. If the setting is too high, the garage door will stop short of the actual ground. If the setting is too low, the garage door will “think” it’s hit an object when it’s actually hit the floor. Either way, you’ll need to adjust the door travel limit setting. Different models of opener have different means of achieving this, but it’s usually done with knobs on the machine itself.
7. Damage to the tracks
Finally, if the tracks responsible for carrying the garage door down have been bent, warped, or otherwise damaged, it may prevent the door from closing properly. If the tracks are blocked, a simple removal of the blockage should be enough to restore working order. Otherwise, you may need a track replacement.
Fixing Problems on your Own
As you’ve read, some of these problems can be easily fixed on your own. For example, if there’s something blocking the door, you can move the object and hopefully, the door will return to its normal movement.
However, there are some issues that are better left to the professionals—especially if it involves parts of your garage door that you don’t fully understand. Overhead torsion springs, for example, are tightly wound and carry high loads of tension. If improperly handled, they can cause severe lacerations or damage to your house. Plus, if you attempt to fix something on your own without fully understanding your actions, you may end up damaging the garage door even further.
Your best bet is probably to call in a professional, who will be able to diagnose your problem faster, and handle it more safely. If you’re looking for a garage door maintenance and repair specialist in your area, use Garage Door Repair to search by zip code in the footer below. Chances are, you can have a professional out to your home within a day or two, and your door will be working properly in no time.
Considering DIY Garage Door Repair?
Here are a few reasons you might want to reconsider…
A sign in a Pennsylvania bicycle repair shop reads:
$ 50.00 per hour
$ 75.00 if you watch
$ 100.00 if you help
$ 200.00 if you worked on it first
There’s a lesson here and it is that the bicycle repairman has learned from years of experience that some things are more complicated than they look, more dangerous, and in the long run, more expensive. DIY attempts to perform door work might well carry the familiar warning ‘don’t try this at home’.
Of course homeowners can and should inspect their doors, apply lubrication, and look for obvious signs of wear. This includes things like listening to doors and operators in motion, or checking to see if the perimeter weatherstripping is doing the job, all the while using common sense as you would with any large moving object.
List of safe DIY Garage Door Inspections
- Park your vehicles outside, close the door and see if it moves smoothly.
- Disconnect the door from the operator and move it by hand. Does it stay closed? Does it drift down from the open position?
- Look to see if it sits level on the garage floor.
- Does it clear the header when in the fully open position?
- Check to see if the photo eyes are clean and properly aligned.
- Inspect the sections inside and out; worn or damaged sections can mean that the door no longer provides security for the home, and could cause property damage and serious bodily injury.
- Is the operator plugged in correctly?
- Make sure the track is fastened securely to the jambs, look for frayed cables, broken springs, worn rollers, and loose fasteners.
Be mindful of the fact that to the untrained eye it’s easy to miss something that is worn, loose, or broken.
Doing these things should be a regular part of household maintenance. If you are handy around the house go ahead and snug up a loose fastener, tap that nail that holds the weatherstrip to the jamb, clean and lube the door as necessary. When a serious problem arises, however, it’s best to turn to an expert for help.
3 Serious Reasons to reconsider DIY Garage Door Repair
- Tools. An experienced garage door repairman will have the proper ladders, specialized tools, and the correct parts needed to fix most problems. He will also have things the homeowner won’t have and can’t buy at a big box store: cold rolled steel winding bars of various sizes, aircraft cable, special cable pulleys, operator parts, spring stock and gauges, torches and much more. Hammers, screwdrivers and pliers are good for small jobs around the house, but of little use, and can cause injury, when performing proper garage door repairs.
- Training. Another consideration is that with overhead garage doors things must be done in the proper order. What’s the first step to take to adjust, replace, or wind a spring? Are repairs made with the door in the open or closed position? How would you attach a new cable to a spring, drum, or bottom fixture? If you attempted to do the work yourself, how would you test it to see if it was okay? Tested it safely, that is. The garage door spring is among the most dangerous repairs and can result in serious injury, or even death, if not done correctly.
- Ladders. It sounds simple, however, each year thousands of people are injured or killed in home-related accidents. And, almost without exception, the number one leading cause is always falls. The Home Safety Council says falls account for roughly 6,000 deaths annually. While you’re always susceptible to a fall, you should do everything you possibly can to avoid situations where falls are particularly dangerous. This includes climbing ladders to fix garage door issues.
The old definition of an expert was someone who came from more than 50 miles away and was carrying a briefcase. Mark Twain joked that an expert was just a regular fellow from the next town over. Our factory trained technicians are close at hand, have a truck full of parts and specialized equipment and have something else in their tool kits – Safety. In most trades, a pinch, a cut, and a bump on the head are all common on-the-job injuries, and as a result workers quickly learn from experience how to do things the right way, the safe way. In our business training and experience are top priorities.
Safety is a serious concern at all large major companies. Some multi-national corporations go so far as to cease production at every facility they own if there is an accident with injury anywhere in their system. Full reports and appropriate instructions are sent to all parties at every location and orders are issued before operations are resumed. That’s serious. Being safe is a priority for them and good word of advice for a homeowner.
If you decide to do the work yourself remember that you can fall, and things can fall on you. As well, DIYers working on a garage door can and do sustain cuts, bruises, broken bones, eye injuries, even electrical shocks, all as result of not having the right tools, parts, and experience.
Above all else, safety is the key factor in making the decision to use a professional.
Be safe, DDIY. Contact Your Local Garage Door Expert Today.
A Hacked Child’s Toy Can Open Any Garage Door In Less Than 10 Seconds
When you think of “hacking” you most often associate it with computers, bank information, and other online accounts, but it’s not just these that can be hacked. What if we told you that a child’s toy can be programmed to open your garage door? Well, it’s true! A popular security researcher, Samy Kamkar, demonstrates how he can hack most garage doors using nothing more than a modified electronic toy. The product is the IM-me, which was marketed by Mattel to replicate texting on a single-use device for young girls, but is now discontinued.
Fixed Code Systems Vs. Rolling Code Systems
It’s important to note this hack doesn’t work against every garage door opener—only ones that respond to “fixed code” transmitters. The fixed code garage door system use 8-12 bit codes—that’s 4,096 possibilities. In modern technology security terms, that’s an insignificant level of security.
More secure “rolling code” systems feature advanced technology that prevents hacking of the radio signal that opens your door by selecting a new code from billions of combinations every time you open your door.
If you value not only what’s in your garage, but the safety and security of your home and family, then you’d better make sure your garage door opener uses a secure system. To ensure your garage door opener is secure, upgrade to a system that uses rolling codes, hopping codes, Security+ or Intellicode. Each time the remote is activated it automatically changes access codes, which prevents illegal entry from any type of access code signal duplication device like Kamkar’s. Current products from garage door manufacturers’ Overhead Door®, LiftMaster and Genie offer up to date security. Contact your local Garage Door Repair company to find out more about these products.
Do You Have A Vulnerable Garage Door System?
In this video, Kamkar explains how to determine if you have vulnerable garage door system.
Residential Garage Door Opener Options
Automated garage door installation is a popular project for do-it-yourself people because of the ability to customize and control such variables as noise and speed. In general, you have three types of drives to choose from, each with unique pros and cons. None are the clear best option, meaning the type of garage door opener you choose comes down largely to personal preference. Here are a few advantages to each of the three types of automated garage door opener drives: screw, belt and chain drive.
Screw Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: Screw drive garage door openers are different mechanically than the other two options, as they require a trolley to ride on a threaded-steel rod, which rotates with a motor to move the door. It does not require the same type of pushing and pulling force of traditional belt and chain driven garage door openers.
The advantages: Screw drive openers are simple, and for that reason, preferable for people who want fewer moving parts to maintain. Screw drive units are somewhat sensitive to temperature and are not considered optimal in regions that see drastic shifts in temperature as seasons change. In most cases, they are noisier than belt drive units. Cost-wise, screw drive units tend to be more expensive than belt drive and chain drive openers.
Chain Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: Chain drive units are classic garage door openers and are among the oldest and most common styles, running the door along a track. These units rely on a bicycle-like chain to push the trolley connected to the J-arm, which is attached the garage door itself.
The advantages: One caveat (or advantage, depending on how you look at it) is noise. Because of the design, chain drive units tend to cause a slight vibrations and metal-to-metal noise. For that reason, these units are more popular for detached garages than garages situated beneath a bedroom, for example. Some people prefer a garage door that opens with a bit of racket so they can be warned if someone is about to enter. Over time, chain drive units have become much quieter with newer technologies, such as softer start-and-stop features and DC motors. Chain drives are considered to be the most economical option.
Belt Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: For many people, belt drives are considered to be the most luxurious option because of their sleekness and relative low level of noise. Belt drive openers use the same mechanisms as chain drive openers, with the exception that instead of a chain, they use a belt — largely eliminating the vibrations and noises associated with chain drive openers. The belts are typically made from fiberglass, steel-reinforced rubber or polyurethane.
The advantages: Belt drive garage openers are the quietest types of openers (almost silent by comparison with chain drive units), although they tend to cost just a bit more than the chain option.
* If you’d like further information and prices on garage door openers, be sure to consult one of our expert garage door repair companies. Find your local expert by entering your zip code in the form in the footer!
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably give little thought to your garage door — until it breaks. Suddenly, you’re forced to make all kinds of decisions about materials, installers and even the types of springs required to safely raise and lower your garage door.
Your garage door springs are more important than you probably realize. Property damage, personal injury and even death are just a handful of the dire consequences awaiting homeowners who gloss over garage door spring selection and safe installation. Yes, actual deaths have been a result of poorly installed springs, which is one of many reasons replacing a broken garage door spring should not be a DIY project. Always contact your local garage door experts when you are dealing with a broken garage door spring.
This article covers the most common spring types:
Different Types of Garage Door Springs
Although there is a broad range of different spring types (and sub-types), the two most popular categories are extension and torsion springs.
1. Extension Springs
Usually located above the upper horizontal tracks on both sides of the door, extension springs are the most common residential garage door spring type. In order to open the door, these springs extend — providing counterbalancing force to support the door. The more force that is applied (via hand or motor), the more the extension spring expands. All extension springs should be paired with safety cables. Safety cables prevent the extension spring from becoming a projectile in the event of a spring, cable or bottom bracket failure. These events can occur at any time while the door is open, closed or in motion. Safety cables should be installed on all extension spring doors.
2. Torsion Springs
Whereas extension springs “extend” or “stretch,” torsion springs use torque to raise garage doors. Attached above the garage opening, torsion springs slowly twist and coil on the shaft whenever force is applied (via hand or motor).
Torsion springs come in a wider variety of options, including various wire sizes and lengths. These variations are calculated specifically dependent upon your garage door weight, height, track radius and more.
Which Garage Door Springs Are Best?
Because extension springs are usually much cheaper, they are often the garage door spring solution in most residential construction projects. It is important to note, however, with more exposed parts, they’re also more dangerous.
By contrast, torsion springs are able to support more weight and last twice longer. They offer greater overall balance, making it easier to open and close your garage door. And with fewer exposed parts, they’re also safer to use. As a result, torsion springs tend to be more expensive.
If you’re in the market for new garage door springs, be sure to factor in the added benefits of a torsion spring system. When it comes to home improvement projects, garage door replacements provide some of the highest returns. You can further boost the ROI of your investment by choosing longer-lasting torsion springs over extensions springs.
Remember that whether through stretching or torque, both types of springs operate using extreme tension. To limit exposure to damage or injury, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a professional garage door installer before attempting any repairs on your own. To find reputable consultants in your area, use the free search tool located in the footer below.