Garage doors are often the most prominent feature of a home. They protect your car from the elements as well as allow you and your family safe access to your home. A garage door is something that you most likely use every day, and is therefore something that needs to be maintained and cared for.
But wait! Before you call in a technician, there are several easy maintenance steps that can and should be done by you or somebody in your household on a regular basis.
Your monthly maintenance checklist:
First and foremost, for safety reasons, always tell someone if and when you start maintenance on your garage door. Safety is always the first priority, by telling somebody you can avoid serious injury caused by somebody opening or closing the door while you are working on it.
Lubricate the door a few times a year. Use a small amount of spray lubricant on the hinges, tracks, and rollers.
To reduce repairs, get a tune-up every so often. A tune-up’s cost ranges, but it is typically below $100, which is significantly less than any repair cost that you might need if you neglect your garage door, making a simple tune up well worth it!
For ALL garage doors: once a month, with the door closed, look up at the door mechanisms – the springs, the pulleys, the cables, etc. Make sure there is no fraying on the cables, everything looks sturdy, and that everything is still in good shape.
For garage doors with an automatic opener system, you should do several things monthly in this order:
1. Door balance test: Disconnect the automatic opener and gently lift. The garage door should open with little to no resistance and remain open without you holding it. If it does not, your door may require maintenance to fix the system unbalance.
2. Reversing mechanism test: All garage doors manufactured after 1 January 1993 are required by law to have a reversing mechanism installed. Lay a 2×4 (or something similar) of wood beneath an open garage door. Use your automatic system to close the door. When the door hits the piece of wood, it should automatically open again. If it does not, your door may require maintenance.
3. Force test: Close a fully opened garage door using the automatic system. As it closes, push the garage door back up using your hands. If it continues to close and fails to reverse, your door may require maintenance.
To help avoid any issues in the replacement of your springs, the best thing to do is let your technician know ahead of time what the make and model of your specific garage door is. This way, they can check to see if they have the correct spring in their inventory before sending somebody out. It is incredibly important to have a spring of the correct weight and size installed. Failure to install the correct spring can result in a mismatch in of weight that can result in serious injury and damage to you or your garage door. In order to test the efficacy of a new spring system, perform a simple balance test as described above.
Don’t get frustrated!
A tip that will most certainly come in handy this year is also one of the simplest. Winter brings ice and snow and all sorts of inconveniences when you are trying to get some where quickly. The last thing you need is for your garage door to be frozen to the floor, but too often it happens!
If pushing the button to open your door with the automatic system fails to break the ice, try to resist the urge to hit the button over and over again. This moment of frustration could potentially strip your gears or burn out your motor. The better, and less frustrating, alternative is to take a hair dryer to melt the ice, a de-icing product, or – being careful not to damage your door – use a shovel or an ice scraper to free your door.
Take a moment to clear all the existing moisture – snow, ice, and the like – away from your door so you won’t run into the problem again coming home from a long day at work!
Take time, save money
Taking just a few minutes a month to check the basics could save you mountains of dollars in the long run on garage door repairs. If something doesn’t look right or sound right, do the standard monthly maintenance checks and call a technician for any repairs so the “up-down-up-down” life of your garage door can go on uninterrupted – hopefully for 10,000 more cycles!