Archive for the ‘Home Garages’ Category

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

hanging garage door
Before & After – Garage Door Off Track

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Dented garage door section
Broken Panel on Garage Door
  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  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. 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.

  3. Sensor misalignment

    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.

  4. Broken springs

    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.

  5. Damaged cables

    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.

  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.

Changes that you make in your garage can save energy and improve your home’s environmental profile. Attached garages serve as conduits for heating and cooling losses in the home, and fumes can leak from the garage into living areas. Hazardous materials often collect in garages where they get spilled or forgotten, and can harm pets or pose health threats. Many household pests make homes in cluttered garages, and the best way of preventing infestations on your property is to control garage areas with preventive measures, regular cleaning and environmentally safe pest-control products.

Resist turning your garage into a storage facility, because most people accumulate junk that they will never use. Garages become physical hazards to health, and finding useful items becomes nearly impossible when things aren’t labeled and stored properly. Making your garage green is one of the easiest ways to lower energy and utility usage, reduce your carbon footprint and ensure safety in the home. Here are six tips for greener garages:

1. Change Light Bulbs or Fixtures

Incandescent lights consume more energy than most people think, but you can replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting or CFLs. If you use your garage as a workshop, consider installing task lighting to reduce energy costs while providing enough light to work safely.

2. Green the Doors in Your Garage

Most garage doors are relatively flimsy, so garage-door insulation becomes important for conserving energy and preventing outdoor air from leaking into garages and attached homes. Energy Star recommends using well-insulated garage doors with R-values between 13 and 17.5 percent. These types of doors come with built-in insulation while most garage doors use polystyrene materials that only have R-values in the 5 to 7 range. Other energy-saving ideas for your garage doors include the following green practices:

– Seal cracks and install weather-stripping to prevent hot and cool air from getting in or out of your garage.
– Choose doors made from recycled content to promote the responsible use of resources.
– Keep automatic garage doors in good working order to reduce the time that doors remain open, which prevents heat or cool air from escaping.
– Caulk around any doors from the garage to your home or yard, and check for leaks in windows and doors.

3. Install a Ventilation Fan

An exhaust or ventilation fan prevents stale garage interiors, circulates air more efficiently and helps to disperse dangerous fumes in garages caused by petroleum products, cleaners and chemicals.

4. Handle Hazardous Materials Safely

Many people store hazardous materials in their garages that they never use, which pose a risk of spills, off-gassing, and poisoning pets and children. Paints, chemical solvents and petroleum-based products are among the top hazards to healthy living, according to the DIY Network. Pesticides, auto fluids, paints and other chemicals can leak, pose fire hazards, generate toxic fumes, and cause burns and respiratory problems. Eco-friendly chemical storage practices in the garage include the following habits:

– Road salt and ice-melting compounds can cause pets to develop diarrhea and vomiting, so keep these products secure.
– Antifreeze smells sweet, and as little as one tablespoon can kill a cat, so wipe spills immediately.
– Consider transferring chemicals to a shed set aside for that purpose.
– Keep your garage clean and uncluttered by recycling materials, organizing tools and work areas, and making sure that chemicals don’t filter into the ground or air.

5. Building, Decorating and Insulating Materials

Use energy-efficient building materials for garage structures, doors and windows. Learn how to insulate your garage in an eco-friendly way:

– Insulate pipes, water heaters and ductwork to make garages weather-tight.
– Caulk between floors and garage walls.
– Insulate garage walls and ceilings with the right R-value insulation.
– Replace older windows with Energy Star-certified versions.
– Consider installing solar panels to make your garage self-heating.
– Use eco-friendly paint to avoid the volatile organic compounds found in regular paint.
– Hose down garage floors regularly to remove road salt, slip hazards, stains and auto fluids.
– Monitor garage walls and foundations for cracks, moisture, mold and discoloration.

6. Conserve Water for Washing Vehicles

You can collect rainwater from your garage roof to wash vehicles, clean the garage and even water your lawn. Simply channel water from the roof into a rain barrel, and use the water for any number of purposes around the house, such as washing pets and cleaning sidewalks and patios.

You can reduce energy usage, increase comfort, protect your family and prevent environmental damage by making your garage greener. Most people don’t think about the garage when looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, but garages provide many opportunities for practicing green habits.

Spring is finally here, and with it comes the desire to get things clean. Over the winter your garage has taken a beating. The Christmas lights may be piled up in the corner, while leaves and salt have cluttered up the floor. Now that the temperatures are warming, it’s time to start thinking about garage maintenance. Here are the steps to take to get your garage in great shape again and ready for summer cookouts and family fun.

Tackle the Clutter

The garage is a place where things tend to accumulate and stay, unused, for years. On a warm morning, remove everything from the garage. Analyze each item and determine if it has been used in the last three years. If not, toss it or slate it for a garage sale in the future. Keep in mind that toxic items, like old paint or batteries, must be disposed of safely.

Clean the Floor

Proper garage maintenance means you’ll spend some time on your floor, which is likely pretty grimy after winter. While you have the garage empty, sweep and wash the floor. The winter brought in a lot of gunk, and this is the time to get it out.

Check the Door

Before you start reloading the garage, give the door and the opening system a visual inspection. Look for any obvious signs of wear and tear, such as worn springs or rails. Open the garage a couple of times and watch the system work to ensure it is functioning as it should be.

Test the safety features by placing something on the floor, out of the line of the photo eye sensor, to ensure that the door reverses when blocked. Then, place something in the way of the photo eye sensor to ensure that the door will not engage.

Spring cleaning is an excellent time to lubricate the moving parts on the door. Apply a spray lubricant to tracks, rollers and hinges to keep it functioning well. This garage maintenance step should be performed a couple of times per year.

Reload the Garage

When you put your things back in the garage, do it in zones. Put similar items together in logical places. The broom, for example, should be by the kitchen door. Invest in peg boards, shelving and cabinets to keep tools organized. Any items in boxes or tubs that cannot be seen should have labels.

If over the course of your spring cleaning you notice that your garage door needs help, GarageDoorRepair.com is ready to be at your service. Contact us today to find a qualified garage door repair professional in your area who can provide the service you need.

winter garage doorWhen temperatures start dropping, your garage becomes more than a place to simply store your vehicle; it becomes your first respite from the chill. When a garage door is malfunctioning due to the cold, it is going to keep you from safely pulling your vehicle inside. Unfortunately, cold weather garage door problems are very common. By knowing what problems you may be encountering and how to approach them, you can be back by the fireplace in no time.

Common Garage Door Problems:

Excess Grease

Excess grease on your garage door tracks is a problem that can occur any time of the year, but it can really start causing issues in the winter. Too much lubrication can throw your rollers out of alignment, making it difficult for the door to open and close smoothly. Finding the balance between enough lubrication and too much is one of the most important parts of garage door maintenance.

Contracting Metal

Certain materials contract when temperatures dip below a certain threshold. Metal is one of these materials, meaning that it’s not uncommon for a garage door’s springs, screws and other metallic components to shrink and seize up in the winter months. You can’t keep this phenomenon from happening, but you can mitigate its effects by adding more lubricant. Apply plenty of garage door oil to the springs, the torsion ball bearings and the screw drive. Keep oil away from the tracks to avoid the first problem mentioned.

Thickening Grease

Most lubricating greases are designed to operate under extremely hot conditions. This is what makes them so effective in the high-power conditions found in engines. Unfortunately, lubricants don’t necessarily work as well when subjected to the cold. Low temperatures can harden grease, thickening it to the point where it makes a very poor lubricant. Make sure this hasn’t happened in your garage door. Remove old, hardened grease with an applicable solvent, and replace it with a silicone-based oil for better winter results.

The best approach to preventing garage door problems in the winter is to stay on top of regular maintenance. Regular lubrication, consistent cleaning and careful usage should keep your garage door functioning until spring arrives.

Cold winter temperatures and snowy weather are tough on your home’s exterior, causing damage to the roof, windows, doors and seals if you’re not partaking in proper preventative maintenance. However, many homeowners don’t realize that these extreme conditions can also wreak havoc on your garage door. There are a few issues that are common in areas that experience harsh winters, but you can avoid expensive garage door repair if you keep your eyes open for the warning signs.

Seals and Weather Stripping

winter-garage-door

As you drive into your garage, your car tires bring snow and water in with them. In addition, snow piles up outside the garage door during winter storms. In both cases, the moisture adheres to the seal or weather stripping at the bottom of the garage door. Then, when you open the door, the seal may rip and detach from the bottom. To avoid needing weather seal replacement services, sweep the snow away from the area as often as possible.

Broken Springs

Frigid temperatures cause metal to become hard and brittle, including the springs. If you have difficulty opening your garage door and it feels heavy, you may have a broken spring. Only a qualified garage door repair expert should replace a broken spring.

Garage Door Drive Track

The drive tracks are the two long strips on each side of your garage door that guide it into place as it raises and lowers. When they become obstructed by debris, the door will jam. Keep them free of obstructions by brushing the drive track frequently, especially during winter when sand and salt are used to remove snow and ice on roads.

Other problems can arise when winter weather strikes, but being aware of the most common issues can help you catch many of these concerns before they become serious. Preventative maintenance and regular inspections should be performed yearly at a minimum. Recognizing these issues will not only save you money, but also can prolong the life of your garage door.

Find Your Local Garage Door Service Experts

Use My Location