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.
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!
As the largest moving piece in your home, the garage door should command a lot of respect and attention. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t understand that garage door openers don’t last forever and never consider the possibility of replacement. If you own a garage door opener that’s more than 15 or 20 years old – and especially a pre-1993 version – then you’ll be interested in learning more about the benefits a replacement can provide.
It’s Time to Replace, When…
The average garage door opens and shuts roughly 1,500 times per year. And while everything might seem fine one day, it’s possible that it’ll give way the next. That’s just the nature of garage door openers. Sometimes they’ll give you a warning sign, while other times they simply decide to stop functioning.
There are things you can do to ensure your garage door opener enjoys a long, safe life, but there are also a number of factors out of your control. However, one of your key responsibilities as a homeowner is to remain aware of what your garage door opener is telling you. Keep an eye (or ear) out so that you know when the time is right. Specifically, here are 5 reasons to replace your garage door opener.
1. 1993 CPSC Rule
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries to children and pets who became entrapped underneath garage doors with automatic openers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) established a new set of rules in 1993 for automatic residential garage door openers.
The rule was enacted as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990 and required that any automatic garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 conform to the various entrapment protection requirements laid out in the legislation.
The 1993 CPSC rule contains a lot of information, but the basic gist is any garage door manufactured after the ruling is required to have a safety reversing mechanism. This feature uses two sensors on either side of the door. If at any time during the closing of the door an object, child, or pet interferes with the beam running between the two sensors, the door immediately stops and reverses.
If you have a garage door opener that was manufactured and installed prior to this ruling, then it’s time to replace it with a new one. You’ll need an opener that’s equipped with a safety reversing mechanism.
Even if you have a post-1993 unit, it’s important that you regularly check the safety reversing mechanism to ensure it’s working properly. You can do this in three simple steps:
- Look to the bottom of each side of the garage door and verify that the sensors are mounted no higher than six inches off the ground. Any higher and the sensors won’t be able to recognize objects in the garage door’s path.
- Use an object to the block one of the sensors and then press the garage door opener button. The door should not close while you’re blocking the sensor.
- Lay an object that’s 1.5 inches or higher on the ground (in the door’s path) and again press the close button. The door should begin to close and then reverse direction.
Most people aren’t aware of how important their garage door’s safety reversing mechanism (or lack thereof) is. Keep these tips in mind and check to ensure you’re compliant..
2. Noise Issues
Every neighborhood or street has that home with the noisy garage door opener. Don’t be that neighbor. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can be a nuisance for everyone. If your garage door opener has been noisy for years, you probably don’t even notice. Take this opportunity to check the noise level of your opener. Is it on par with the neighbors’ garage doors, or does it seem unusually loud?
Older garage door opener models were built with large, noisy components, while newer models use much quieter chains or belt drives. The latter is virtually silent when compared to an old chain unit. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3. Home Security
Older garage door opener models were very low on security features. They had fixed codes that could be stolen using radio frequency identifier devices, which made them a popular entryway into the home for burglars.
On the other hand, modern models use advanced technological features with rolling codes. This means the code changes each time the door is operated. As a result, the code cannot be stolen. This prevents break-ins and enhances security. If you’re still using an older model, then it’s important that you review its security features to know whether your home is fully protected.
4. Battery Backup
Few things are more frustrating than having your car locked in the garage during a power outage. While older models have latches that can be pulled to manually open the door, these mechanisms often get stuck over the years and can be difficult for some individuals to operate.
New models have battery back up features, which are extremely useful during power outages. Your garage door can open and close for many cycles using this battery. While you may only need to use it once a year, it provides peace of mind.
5. No Outside Keypad
Older garage door opener models had manual operation. If you wanted to open the door from the outside (without the remote opener in your vehicle), you’d have to use a key. Newer models feature keypads on the outside of the garage door, which require a simple programmable code for entry. This lets you to give access to people, even when you aren’t home.
Contact a Local Expert Today
It’s easy to take your garage door opener for granted; however, it’s imperative that you give it the attention it deserves. If you have any of these five issues, then it’s time to consider replacing your outdated model with a newer and more functional solution.
Enter your zip code in the footer below to contact us today to learn more about what the replacement process looks like!
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 home with a garage is a wonderful thing — wonderful, that is, when you know how to use/protect it. As great as it is to have extra storage and a place to park, those benefits become liabilities when you don’t practice proper garage safety. Keep your garage in proper working order so that it, its contents and your household members stay safe. Follow these tips for maximizing garage door safety:
Our Top 10 Garage Door Safety Tips
Keep the Opener Out of the Reach of Children. One of the most important garage safety tips is to keep your door opener out of the wrong hands. Don’t let kids — especially small children — play with the openers, and don’t keep remotes where they can access them.
- Prepare for Emergencies. Should you need to open the door in case of an emergency/accident, you’ll want to know where the emergency release feature is located. Find out and be prepared.
- Be Cautious. Never step, walk, run or otherwise move under a closing or opening garage door. Teach your kids to never do so.
- Inspect Gears. Each month, take the time to inspect springs, cables, rollers and pulleys to know they’re still working properly.
- Test Auto-Reverse. If your garage door has an auto-reverse feature, put a roll of paper towels in the door’s path on occasion to make sure it’s working. If you don’t have this feature, look into getting a door/opener that does — it can prevent serious accidents.
- Watch Your Fingers! Don’t put fingers in between door sections, and teach your kids to avoid doing so. If you have small children, look for a door with non-pinch panels to help avoid injuries.
- Don’t Leave Door Ajar. Never leave your garage door partially open, whether or not you’re nearby. It’s both a security and a safety risk, as someone could enter the garage (and possibly your house) and/or someone could get caught underneath if the door is reactivated.
- Unplug When You’re Away. When you’re going to be out of town, unplug the door opener unit — or lock it so that it’s unusable.
- Change the Code Often. Get a rolling code that changes the garage access code with each use. Or, at the very least, regularly change the standard codes on the opener and remotes.
- Prevent Invasion. Always lock the door to your house when you leave, even if the garage door is closed. Should someone get your remote, it could mean access to both your garage and home if the service door is unlocked. Likewise, keep tabs on your remotes — don’t leave it with a parking attendant, for example, and consider putting it on a key ring so it stays with you at all times.
To protect your home and loved ones, follow the garage door tips above. At Garage Door Repair, we’re happy to help you repair or update your garage to make sure it’s safe and in good working condition.
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!