You pull into and out of your garage hundreds of time a year, always expecting your door to reliably open and close at your whim. Going up and down so much can be pretty taxing, which is why after being neglected for months or years, garage doors rightfully start to complain loudly.
If your door sounds more like a train’s “clack-clack” as it runs down the track, you’ve definitely let things go way too far. Fortunately, garage doors tend to be pretty foolproof and tolerate neglect more than other important parts in your home.
Parts of a Garage Door
* Opener. You know this one; it’s that big box in the center of the garage ceiling. The opener is designed with a shuttle that moves the door up and down with the help of a chain, screw or belt-driven motor. You can even get Smart Garage door openers now.
* Springs and cables. Your door might feel light if you manually lift it while it’s hung, but this is because of a highly tensioned giant spring (or two) mounted above your door with attached cables. Always treat these with the respect required, they can be very dangerous to work on directly (call a pro!).
* Sensors. If you look closely near the bottom of each garage door track, you’ll see sensors that resemble tiny cameras. As a team they maintain an almost invisible laser beam that causes the door to reverse if something suddenly breaks it during door decent.
These three systems are vital to the door’s function and without all of them in working order, the door becomes very unsafe and unreliable
Taking Care of Your Home’s Biggest Front Door
If you can’t remember the last time you did anything with your garage door, now is the time to get on this. There are a few tasks that you should absolutely not attempt without help or considerable experience, like replacing a broken spring, but for the most part, garage door maintenance is a snap.
Run down this checklist and your door will be ready to roll again!
* Tighten all screws and bolts. Because your garage door vibrates as it moves up and down, this can slowly start backing screws and bolts out. Start at the bottom and work your way up, tightening all fasteners and replace any that seem to be missing or broken. Don’t forget to check the hinges between the door panels!
* Pull the manual garage door release. With the garage door closed, pull that handle hanging down from your opener. With the opener’s shuttle unlocked, check your door’s balance by opening the door about half way. If it stays where you put it, you’re gold. If not, call a pro to help — rebalancing a door can be difficult and dangerous. Don’t forget to push the door open all the way to re-engage the opener’s shuttle.
* Check the safety reversal system. Grab a scrap 2×4, cement block or something of similar size and shape and place it directly in the path of the garage door. Now, shut the door using the garage door opener. If the door stops as soon as contact is made, your safety reversal system is set properly. If not, you’ll need to find your manual and look up which knob or button is used to decrease the force required to stop the door. This is one of those things you’ll test way more often than you’ll have to adjust.
* Break the beam. Check that the indicator lights on your infrared sensors are showing that the eyes are adjusted properly. Once they’re looking deeply into each other’s eye, close the garage door. Before it reaches the ground, pass a broom between the sensors. The door should stop, otherwise, your sensors may need to be cleaned or replaced.
* Grease some squeaky wheels. You’ve tightened hardware and tested the door’s safety features. But wait! There’s one more thing. It’s time to lubricate. You won’t actually be lubricating a lot of the system, you’ll be cleaning it, but it’ll run more smoothly and that’s the point.
Start with the track itself, cleaning it with carburetor or brake cleaner and a cloth. Next, using a silicone based garage door lubricant, spray between the pin and wheel on each roller, wiping off any excess (lubricant doesn’t belong on the track). If your rollers are nylon, take extra special care because they slip easily.
You can also use the same lubricant to coat the outside of your torsion spring (the one above the door itself). Again watch for drips.
A garage door can be one of the biggest systems in your home, so it’s best to take proper care and check in on it from time to time.
Conrad Smith – Owner
Your Real Estate Consultant
REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury
Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart