If you’re a handy person, or at least someone who is willing to get your hands dirty and try new things, it’s hard to hire someone to fix a problem in your house. But when it comes to you garage door – the largest moving system in your home – that’s exactly what you should do.
3 Primary Risks of DIY Garage Door Repair
When it’s operating smoothly, your garage door isn’t something you focus on. You hit a button and it goes up. You get in your car, pull out, press the remote transmitter in your vehicle, and it goes down. In fact, it’s such a habit that you don’t even think about doing it at all – it’s as routine as pressing the brake pedal in your car to shift into reverse and back out of the driveway.
But what happens when you’re rushing off to an important meeting, you hit the button, and the door won’t open? Or when the door does open, you hear an awful sound? It’s at this moment that you, as a homeowner, have a decision to make. Are you going to attempt to diagnose and fix the problem yourself, or will you call in a professional to take a look?
If you have a DIY gene in your DNA, you’ll be tempted to find your own solution. You think to yourself: How hard could it be? But that may be the wrong question to ask. The truth is that DIY garage door repair is more dangerous than anything else. You may be capable of fixing a problem 7 out of 10 times, but it’s those two or three times where something goes wrong that your decision can prove dangerous.
Garage door safety isn’t something to take lightly. When it comes to DIY repair, there are three primary risks that you face:
Serious Bodily Injury
Garage doors are designed with certain safety features that are meant to protect homeowners from injury, even in the instance that there is a malfunction with the system. Unfortunately, when you attempt to repair a part and don’t know what you’re doing, these safety mechanisms quickly become useless.
Bodily injury is one of the biggest risks of DIY garage door repair – and one of the most important reasons for practicing proper garage door safety. Minor injuries include pinching – usually occurring when fingers are too close to the door’s panels when it moves up and down – and abrasions. However, there are some more serious injuries that can take place when proper precautions aren’t taken.
Crushing-type injuries can occur when a homeowner runs underneath a closing door, while concussions, lacerations, serious bruising, and even broken bones can occur when a garage door spring breaks.
Damage to House, Vehicles, and/or Possessions
You’re not just putting yourself at risk with DIY garage door repair. You’re also risking possible damage to your house, vehicles, and other possessions in your garage – such as tools, lawn equipment, and bikes.
Garage door springs are the biggest risk factor. Most springs have a life expectancy of 10,000 cycles. This means the average lifespan is anywhere from three years (used eight-times per day) to 14 years (used twice per day).
When garage door springs reach the end of their life cycle, they can break. This essentially releases all of the tension in the spring. Under normal circumstances, this merely leaves your garage door inoperable.
But if you manipulate the spring prematurely or incorrectly during repair or maintenance, you could actually cause it to fly off and hit objects in your garage. In some cases, the force is so strong that it can shatter windshields, rip through drywall, or concuss a bystander.
Damage to the Garage Door System
A typical garage door will last anywhere from 15 to 30 years – at least that’s what most manufacturers claim. However, it honestly comes down to personal use and how well you treat and maintain your garage door.
If you take care of your garage door, have it serviced when problems arise, and avoid doing anything that could compromise the system, you can extend the life of the garage indefinitely. The opposite is true when you don’t take the proper precautions.
You might think you’re saving some time and money with DIY garage door repair, but you could actually be shortening the lifespan. A shoddy job could put undue stress on the garage door, cause parts to wear prematurely, and/or damage key mechanisms. As a result, your garage door might not last more than a couple of years.
Put Garage Door Safety First
Admittedly, there are some situations in which you might not need to call a professional garage door repair company. While you should always proceed with caution, here are some examples of simple tasks you may do on your own:
- You obviously don’t need to call a professional when the batteries in your garage door transmitter go out. Simply replace them and you’re back in business. If the transmitter still isn’t working, you may need to reprogram it to the operator.
- It’s common for the photo eyes at the bottom of the garage door tracks to become misaligned. Simply correct their positioning with your hands so that they are facing each other and the door should open and close properly
- If the door won’t open, it’s possible that it was manually locked. Unlocking is as simple as finding the appropriate lever and turning it in the opposite direction. You may also have the vacation lock on, which is located on the wall mounted push button.
- Has the light on your garage door motor unit gone out? Simply pull off the plastic cover and replace the light bulb like you would with any light fixture in your home. Be careful using LED bulbs. They can cause interference with your garage door opener remotes.
Other than properly caring for your garage door, keeping it free from obstructions, and examining the system for worn out parts, there aren’t many repair and maintenance tasks you should tackle on your own. There are simply too many risks. Instead, use GarageDoorRepair.com to find a licensed and skilled repair expert in your area. Just enter your zip code in the footer below and we’ll get you connected!
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!