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 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.
Cost vs. Value
When replacing a garage door, most homeowners are cost-conscious (i.e. they’re worried about the upfront cost of materials and labor).
This focus on price is understandable. After all, garage door replacements are usually an unexpected expense. One day the door is working fine, and the next day, it isn’t.
However, as with most home improvement projects, you should be value-conscious.
Be prepared to pay a little extra for quality and experience. The higher price is well worth the added expense, since a properly installed garage door essentially pays for itself.
According to Remodeling Magazine, the average return-on-investment (ROI) of an upgraded garage door is a whopping 83.7 percent, ranking it among the top four home improvement projects of 2014. But the true returns don’t stop there:
- Given their size and exposure to the elements, garages often result in excessive heating charges in the winter and exorbitant cooling expenses in the summertime. By installing an insulated door, you can dramatically cut down on your monthly utility bill, helping to speed up the payback period of your investment.
- Garages also represent a major security risk. A well-fortified garage door can reduce the likelihood of theft.
You can further boost these gains with regular maintenance — especially during the winter months when garage doors undergo the most wear and tear. For some simple guidelines, click here.
How Much Should You Budget for Garage Door Repair?
So value (and not price) should be your primary focus. Fair enough. But how much should you actually budget when replacing a standard residential garage door?
Costs vary considerably. The exact price depends on any number of factors, including:
- Materials. Garage doors come in all shapes and sizes, using a wide range of different materials. A basic, un-insulated steel door costs less than a higher-end, custom wood door.
- Workmanship. It’s possible to replace a garage door on your own (as a weekend project). However, DIY garage door replacements often end up costing more in the long run (check out these articles here and here to learn why). You’re almost always better off hiring a professional to complete the job. Ask about what warranties are available.
- Location. Prices also vary by region. This makes a lot of sense given the major differences in architectural styles and climate that exist throughout the country. A typical stone home in Vermont has very different requirements than a stucco home in Arizona. To get a better idea of pricing ranges, type your ZIP code into this free search tool in the footer below.
Value is more important than cost. But if you’re still worried about budget, the best tip of all is to keep your garage door in optimal condition for as long as possible. In addition to the winter maintenance tips mentioned above, you can also conduct an annual DIY checklist. At the first sign of trouble, you may be able to make minor fixes on your own before the problem requires professional intervention.
When you are a homeowner, it is good to have an understanding of how things work so you are able to take care of the upkeep on your own. This can save you significantly with repair costs. A big issue people have is with their garage door functioning when the weather turns cold. Below are a few details to keep in mind.
Is your vacation lock causing your garage door opener not to function properly? Many garage door openers offer a vacation lock located on the wall console. This switch is used as an extra security function and stops all electrical operation of the opener once the door is closed. This button should only be used when you are away from the door for an extended period of time. Be sure to check this switch to see it is in the off position.
Door Sensors Need Alignment
One of the issues that could be occurring is that the photo eyes are out of place. Something as simple as a trashcan bumping them can cause this to happen. Usually the fix is as simple as readjusting the photo eyes into the correct alignment and the opener will operator again.
When the weather begins to change and the temperatures begin to drop, your garage door springs are more likely to break when reaching their life span. When this occurs, it is important to contact a professional repair service. Operating a garage door with a broken spring can be very difficult to do and can cause further damage to the garage door opener. The spring is a vital part to making your garage door system function properly and should be kept in good order at all times. Only trained professionals should perform repairs of this nature, for the spring holds an extreme amount of tension that can cause serious injury if mishandled.
How to Figure Out the Problem
When your garage door opener is not functioning properly, always be sure to check the basics. First, be sure that if your wall console offers a vacation lock, this is in the off position and is not engaged. Secondly, be sure that the sensors are in place. If there are led lights blinking, it is possible the photo eyes are out of alignment or they have been damaged and need to be replaced. Finally, inspect your garage door for a broken spring. If you believe your garage door spring has broken and the door is in an open position, call a professional repair service immediately. Do not pass under the door under any circumstances.
Regularly maintaining your garage door has many benefits and should be done on an annual basis. This includes testing the balance and alignment of your door and the safety reversal of your opener. Make sure you read through the owners’ manual to find out any other maintenance that may be required.
Some people believe that an attached garage will add more value to a home in today’s housing market. Others say that a detached garage is more desirable. At the end of the day, homeowners who are planning on adding a garage to their property should decide between an attached or detached unit based on their own personal preference.
People who live further north generally see more value in an attached garage unit. The frigid winters make quick trips out to detached garages very uncomfortable. The need to put on a winter jacket for a quick walk outside in order to get something out of the car is certainly a burden that often results in a preference for an attached unit.
Another reason people value an attached garage over a detached garage is that attached units make the house appear larger – especially on structures that have the garage doors placed facing the rear. Viewers from the curb will only see the garage as part of the housing structure. Additionally, attached garage units almost always identically match the homeâ€™s exterior design as opposed to many detached units that were built years later with different materials.
Finally, an attached garage unit tends to offer much more convenience. This is especially true for homeowners who like keeping an extra freezer or refrigerator in their garage. It is much easier to open a door directly into the garage to grab a tub of ice cream as opposed to having to walk outside to retrieve a few scoops. In addition, unloading a packed car is much easier with an attached garage.
Despite the fact that attached garage units tend to provide more convenience, a shield from bitter weather and girth to home structures, many people still prefer detached garage units.
Lots of homeowners feel safer with a detached unit because they are further away from the gas emissions and other hazardous fumes that often inhabit garages. A running car in a garage can emit toxins like benzene that may drift into the home.
Other reasons to feel safer with a detached garage include limited entrances into the home. Although attached garage units can be built with safe and secure doors, it is always possible for a burglar to sneak in through a garage window. If the door from the garage to the house is unlocked, there is no stopping a home intruder. With a detached garage, the potential harm would only be done inside of the garage.
A final reason that detached garages are preferred by certain people is that they provide a different level of privacy compared to attached units. People who like to set up workbenches or build and paint things in their garage can do so with limited distractions in a detached unit. If the space is connected to the home, it can be difficult to have any privacy.
Everybody has different priorities. If privacy trumps convenience, then a detached garage is the way to go. If the idea of having to go outside for every trip to the garage seems bothersome, then an attached garage is the better option.
Either way, all garages must have safe and reliable garage doors in order for them to be effective. The professionals at Garage Door Repair LLC work day and night to ensure that homeowners have a trusted team available if any part of the garage door system breaks or wears out.
Homeowners with attached garages should especially have a team like Garage Door Repair LLC on-call. As noted previously, a broken garage door system makes homes more vulnerable to break-ins. Detached garage owners should also have Garage Door Repair on speed dial. Many detached units have a single entrance â€“ the garage doors. If the garage door system is broken there would be no way to get in or out of the garage.
Garage Door Repair professionals have worked with both types of residential and commercial garage door systems for decades. Their experience, knowledge and reputation for great customer service make them the easy choice for garage door support.