What was once a luxury, an automatic garage door opener is now the norm — being used in over 35 million households across the USA. A garage door is more often than not, the largest and heaviest mechanical apparatus in a home weighing, on average, over 400 pounds. Every year, more than 30,000 individuals suffer injury from automatic garage doors, including a great number of children. These accidents are sometimes tragic, causing broken bones, serious head and brain injuries, and regrettably even death. Accidents of this sort do sometimes occur due to equipment defects, but they may have been prevented with a little bit of maintenance to the door itself and all its associated parts.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure.
Garage doors are generally reliable, but despite all the use they get, they are often neglected when it comes to maintenance jobs around the house. You can easily check that your garage door is in good working order by following a few simple procedures.
Listen For Unusual Noises.
Just by listening for any weird noises when you open or close the door is one way to find out if a problem exists and if a garage door repair is needed. During the opening or closing cycle, the garage door should be relatively quiet. Any scraping sounds or jerky movements could indicate a problem which should be investigated.
Clean The Tracks.
Carefully look at both of the tracks to see if they are dust and debris free. Over the years, dust, dirt and other kinds of debris can accumulate in the tracks making smooth operation difficult. Clean the tracks with a rag, or stiff brush, removing anything you find there. Spray the inside of the tracks with lubricant. If the rollers are metal, spray them as well.
Make Sure The Tracks Are Plumb.
Use a level to test if the tracks are plumb (vertical) along the vertical sections. Small adjustments can be made if they are slightly out of plumb, but any major track adjustments should be left to a garage door repair company.
Inspect The Roller Brackets.
The rollers that allow the door to run smoothly are held in place by brackets. These brackets can loosen over time and checking them for tightness is something than can be done while the tracks are being inspected. Garage door service companies can make sure that all the brackets and rollers are in pristine condition, but any minor looseness can be done simply with a socket wrench or adjustable spanner.
Check Rollers for Replacement.
The rollers on the garage door should be inspected for damage every six months. Any rollers that are found to be cracked, chipped or otherwise damaged or worn should be replaced. The majority of the door’s rollers are easily removed by detaching the brackets holding them on to the door.
Never Remove The Bottom Bracket.
The bottom roller bracket on either side of the door is attached to the lift cables and are under tremendous tension. If there is a suspected problem with one of the bottom rollers or brackets, it is best left to a professional company like Fort Wayne Door to perform the repairs.
Perform A Visual Check Of The Door.
Look at the door to see if there appears to be any warping over the width of the door. This can indicate a problem with the operation and may cause difficulties in the future. In the case of a steel door check for any rust, which may cause further problems.
Tighten All the Hardware.
A typical garage door opens and closed hundreds of times each year, and the motion of constantly going up and down can, over time, loosen the door and track hardware. Check that the brackets holding the door tracks to the walls and ceiling, as well as the fasteners securing the garage door opener unit to the framing, are all tight. Use a socket wrench to tighten any loose nuts or bolts found.
Is The Door In Balance?
If the garage door is not balanced properly, then the garage door opener will have more work to do and the lifespan of the opener will be cut short. To test if the door is well balanced, simply disconnect the opener by means of the Emergency Release cord, raise the door halfway up and let go. The door should stay where it is without any manual assistance. If it starts to fall down, then the door needs balancing. Garage door service companies like Fort Wayne Door are best suited to performing this type of repair.
Check The Auto Reverse.
An automatic garage door opener should have something connected to it known as the auto-reverse feature. This is designed to stop the door and reverse the direction if it detects something in its path, or if the door strikes anything while closing. This safety feature is activated either by a pressure sensor or by two photocells on either side of the door, usually at floor level.
Test the pressure sensor by laying something sturdy on the garage floor in the path of the door. When the door hits the object, it should reverse direction and go back up. Testing the photoelectric sensors is as simple as starting to close the door, then swing your leg through the door’s path. It should stop and go back up. If not, then a serious problem exists and should be rectified immediately.
Nothing could be better than never having to get a garage door repaired.
With proper maintenance, the need to call in the professionals can be avoided. The frequency of these routine maintenance tasks depends a lot on your location. Colder climates put more strain on the working parts of a garage door, so spending an hour or two on maintenance before the cold weather sets in may save you from a large repair bill.