How to Know When It’s Time to Repair or Replace Your Garage Door
Your home’s garage door is probably something you take for granted. You hit the button on the remote and expect the door to quickly and quietly open and close. But when your garage door has a problem, it can be a real pain. The question is, do you simply need a repair or is a replacement in order?
Signs You May Only Need a Repair
In most cases, a garage door replacement isn’t necessary. Garage doors – and the mechanisms that control them – are made to last and most issues are tied to simple fixes. If you’re experiencing any of the following, then a repair should be adequate.
The Door Stops Opening and Closing (Without Warning)
The most common issue homeowners report is a garage door that won’t open or close. And while this can be alarming and inconvenient, it isn’t usually a reason to worry. In almost all cases, an unresponsive garage door can be repaired and brought back to fully functioning order.
One of the more common causes is photo-eye sensor obstruction. The photo eye sensors are located about six inches above the ground, one on either side of the garage door. These sensors send out an invisible beam that connects them. It’s easy for someone or something to bump one of these sensors and move them out of alignment. When this occurs, you simply need to realign the sensors.
If the sensor isn’t the issue, it may involve your opener. Perhaps the battery needs to be replaced in your car opener, or something has happened with the wiring between the wall opener and the system.
Finally, there’s always the chance that there’s some sort of physical obstruction in the wheel track. Conducting a simple visible inspection should be able to tell you if there’s a problem here.
Uneven Garage Door Movement
Have you noticed that your garage door seems to be uneven when opening and closing? Perhaps one side moves faster than the other, or something seems to be out of whack? When it comes to uneven movement, the problem tends to be related to either spring issues or track issues. A garage door repair professional should be capable of quickly identifying and correcting the problem to restore normal operation.
Slight Squeaking and Squealing
As homeowners, we tend to become used to the little quirks and issues of our houses. So maybe you stopped noticing how squeaky your garage door is…until someone else points it out. Should you be alarmed?
Slight squeaking is nothing to worry about. In most cases, it’s simply the result of parts scraping against each other. There may also be the presence of dirt and debris, which can gunk up the tracks. A repair professional can come in and get everything cleaned up, or you can try applying a lubricant yourself – such as WD-40 – to see if it makes a difference.
Signs It’s Time to Replace the Garage Door
While they’re made to last, garage doors certainly aren’t made to last forever. There comes a time where it simply makes more sense to perform a total replacement than to keep limping along and throwing money into regular repairs.
If you’re currently dealing with some issues and are unsure how to proceed, here are some possible signs that you need to go ahead and think about replacing your existing setup.
You Don’t Like the Appearance
Sometimes homeowners simply don’t like the appearance of a garage door and feel as if it takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the home. If you’re tired of looking at an ugly garage door, then there’s not much you can do to repair it. A replacement may be your best option.
The Door is Seriously Damaged
A garage door is unique in that part of it is “indoors,” while the other half is exposed to the outdoor elements. Between weather, vandalism, and collisions, garage doors can take a beating over the years. If there are entire broken/dented sections on your door, or you fear it’s actually a security issue, then a replacement is probably something you should seriously consider.
Unreasonably Loud Vibration and Noise
Squeaks and squeals shouldn’t worry you too much, and can be remedied by applying some lubricant or cleaning the parts, but unreasonably loud noise may be cause for concern. If you notice that there’s also severe vibration and parts look to be rubbing against each other and causing excess friction, then it would be smart to have a professional come out and look at the situation and provide more clarity on how to proceed.
Lacks Child Safety Features
For the most part, today’s garage doors have features that are designed to keep infants and pets safe. They can detect when an object is in the way and will stop before completely closing. However, it’s possible that older homes still lack these updated features.
If your garage door doesn’t have some sort of mechanism that prevents it from closing when an object is in the way, like photo-eyes, it’s best to invest in a replacement. Some people will try to upgrade old doors with these features, but it’s typically a better investment to go ahead and replace it.
Let Us Help
Believe it or not, garage door repair can actually be a very dangerous task. Not only is the garage door the largest moving mechanism in your home, but the springs are under extreme tension and could seriously hurt or even kill someone who isn’t properly trained in the field.
While most garage door repairs are very affordable, messing something up by attempting to do it on your own can result in a much more expensive bill when you’re eventually forced to call in the professionals. It’s best to avoid the risk and save your time and money by calling on the experts the first time around.
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 24-hour garage door repair services in both commercial and residential settings.
Is Your Garage Door Not Closing? These 7 Reasons Are to Blame
Garage doors have one main job, but they only work properly if their internal moving parts are in order, and the door is free to move as intended. Occasionally, you’ll encounter a problem that’s easily noticed and fixed; for example, if your garage door closes all the way, but will not open, it might have accidentally slipped into manual mode. If it’s open, but will not close, there may be something stuck on the tracks.
More difficult problems tend to have more complicated symptoms. For example, you might notice your garage door starting to close, but never finishing, stopping halfway and retracting back up, or simply stopping halfway.
What could be the cause for this?
Why Your Garage Door Isn’t Closing Completely
One or more of these reasons is likely responsible for your garage door closing partially, but not all the way:
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.
Safety sensor problems
First, and perhaps most commonly, your safety sensors could be working improperly. These twin sensors usually sit near the bottom of your garage door, about an inch 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.
It may not be the case that your sensors aren’t working properly, however; they may be in perfect working condition, but sending a perpetual signal to your garage door that something is in the way. This often happens when the twin sensors are somehow out of alignment, which can happen if one 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 stable, 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.
Garage doors rely heavily on multiple sets of springs to open and close; there are overhead torsion springs, which drive the main action, and a secondary set of door springs. If any of these springs are broken or damaged, it could lead to the door becoming unable to complete its closing function. If one spring has suffered more wear than the other, it could also lead to balancing issues that prevent the door from being closed. 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.
Depending on what type of garage door opener you have, there may be cables necessary to complete the lowering action. If any of these cables are worn or damaged, they may not be able to complete their full cycle. For example, if a cable is frayed at a particular point, it could catch on the system, and prevent the cable from moving any further. In some cases, a visual inspection can diagnose this problem as well; in others, the damage may be harder to notice.
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.
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.
Here’s Why You Should Never Attempt DIY Garage Door Repairs
Everyone has a little bit of a DIY spirit in them. So, when you first experience issues with your garage door, your inclination may be to self-diagnose the problem, watch a couple of YouTube videos, and get to work. And while it may seem easy enough, DIY garage door repairs come with some pretty grave risks.
7 Reasons Why DIY Garage Door Repair Isn’t Smart
When the kitchen faucet drips, you can typically head to the local home store and get the parts you need to fix the issue. When there’s a hole in the drywall, all you have to do is purchase a couple of items and you’re ready to patch, sand, and paint. When there’s a problem with your washing machine, you can do some research and solve the issue within a matter of hours. However, when there’s a problem with your garage door, your first reaction should be to call a professional. Here are a few reasons why:
Torsion Springs Can be Seriously Dangerous
There are two types of garage door spring systems: extension systems and torsion systems. The latter – while reliable and commonly used – are very dangerous from a maintenance and repair perspective.
“Torsion springs are normally mounted horizontally above the opening of your garage door,” one expert notes. “When you pull the door down, cables attached to the bottom corners actually force the springs to wind up, in turn energizing the system. When you open the door, the springs then unwind and their energy transfers to the door, helping it to lift up and making it easier to open.”
Sounds simple enough right? Well, once these springs become compromised, they can become dangerous – or even deadly in extreme circumstances. The springs store mechanical energy when they’re tightened. If a spring breaks, the tightly wound coils quickly convert that energy and unwind in a violent and unpredictable manner. If you’re nearby, the springs could hit you in the face, eyes, arms, or chest.
You Can Make the Problem Worse
When you embark on a DIY garage door repair, you have all the right intentions. You’re probably trying to save some time and money. However, you may actually make the situation worse. Should you mess something up – which is quite likely – you could cause additional damage to the door. It’s also possible that you could trigger damage to the garage itself or any of the items inside the garage – your car included.
Falls are Dangerous and Deadly
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.
Improper Use of Tools
Nobody wants to drive to the local home store, just to buy a tool that may only be used once for a specific job. Unfortunately, many garage door repairs require very specific tools. This means homeowners often try to get by with the wrong tools, which results in unsafe work conditions.
Not only does the risk of using the wrong tools increase your chances of further damaging your garage door system, but it could also damage the tools themselves. Furthermore, when it comes to power tools, one wrong move could lead to injury.
Falling Garage Door
Did you know that steel garage doors commonly weigh more than 100 pounds and wooden garage doors can weight several hundreds of pounds? In other words, this isn’t something you want to lose control over. Should the door come crashing down, it could damage (a) the door itself, (b) the floor beneath the door, and (c) anything standing in between the door and the floor. That last item could include you, your car, a pet, or just about anything else.
While it may seem unlikely that you’d do something to cause your garage door to suddenly come crashing down, this is actually quite common in DIY repairs. Improper disconnection of the door restraints is a huge risk that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Using the Wrong Parts
Every garage door has its own individual nuances. Some have very specific requirements in terms of parts and materials that can be used. As a DIY repairman, you may not be aware of this. As a result, you’ll probably end up purchasing whatever replacement parts you can find.
At first, everything may seem good. The door goes up and down. However, days, weeks, or months down the road, shoddy repairs can come back to haunt you. This could result in additional damage or even injury.
Fixing the Wrong Thing
Garage doors are fairly simple mechanisms, but the average person needs to spend some time studying how they work. If you’re attempting to fix a problem without doing any research in advance, you may actually end up addressing the wrong issue.
Much like human illnesses, there are often “referred symptoms” with garage doors. If you aren’t careful, you could end up fixing the symptoms as opposed to the problem itself. This is a waste of money and may make your problem even worse.
Contact Your Local Overhead Door Expert Today
As you can clearly see, your garage door isn’t something you want to tackle on your own. While it may look like a simple contraption, it’s by far one of the most complex and dangerous mechanisms in your home. The good news, however, is that help is never too far away.
Enter your zip code in the footer below to contact your local expert today!
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.
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!