A garage door in need of repair in Dallas, Fort Worth can cause a host of problems — from water leaks to security concerns. Here are a few of the most common garage door-related problems and some inexpensive ways to fix them. Be sure to give your garage door a visual and mechanical inspection at least every six months. Look for tracks that are clean without oil build up. Make sure the sensor is aligned with the reflector to make sure the door stops while the door is closing. Lastly, look over the chain or steal line to make sure there are no fissures. Looking over these few items can ensure that the your garage door smoothly for a long time.
Safety first with overhead door repair
Garage door safety Older homes may have charm that's difficult to find in a new house today, but often they do not compare well when it comes to meeting current safety standards. In fact, even houses built only 15 years ago may have major components that don't measure up. Case in point: automatic garage doors.
Although these sometimes massive doors are spring-loaded and move at the touch of a button, maiming injuries and several deaths (mainly to children) occur every year. There are many contributing factors. One is that a garage door is the largest and heaviest moving object in a house; another, that the convenience of mounted keypads and portable remote controls means garage doors are often used more than any other entrance.
Safer garage doors There are two main ways to make automatic garage doors safer. The first and most obvious is to install a modern system that meets current standards.
Since January 1993, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has required that all garage door openers have what's called an external entrapment protection system. In practical application this translates to an electric eye (or similar system) aligned with the opening and mounted four to six inches off the floor. These will reverse the door before it hits anything detected by the sensors in the door's path.
Many older systems reverse only after contact (sometimes quite a collision) or don't reverse automatically under any circumstances. If your garage door is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading, says the CPSC, and replace pre-1982 openers that do not reverse.
The CPSC offers this strong recommendation because the auto-reversing feature has significantly reduced personal injury and property damage -- so much so that in 2001 the standard was extended to include automatic security gates that are increasingly common at the entrances of apartment and condo communities.
The second basic safeguard is to test your door periodically (the CPSC suggests a somewhat rigorous, once-a month schedule) and perform regular maintenance and repairs as needed. Although basic guidelines apply to all automatic openers, check your owner's manual or contact the opener manufacturer about specific (and sometimes different) procedures.
Most of the safety guidance is aimed at parents of young children; No. 1 on the list compiled by door manufacturers, the CPSC and the National Safety Council, is not to let kids play "beat the door." Backing up a sensible step, the groups also advise parents not to let children play with or use garage-door remote controls.
As a further precaution, you should mount the keypad wall control out of children's reach -- at least five feet from the floor -- and in a location where users can clearly see the moving door.
In case all else fails and someone is pinned by the door, it's also important to know how to use the emergency release. Generally, you simply pull down on the short rope hanging from the operator motor. This feature, a standard since 1982, disconnects the opener system from the door so you can lift it by hand.
Testing old and new doors In older houses, the garage door may be original or a replacement. Not sure of its vintage? You might be able to track the door's manufacturing date through a model type listed in the owner's manual. If not, conduct this series of tests in order to discover if the door does not have a reversing feature or is a modern model with the feature in need of repair.
• Balance. To check balance, start with the door closed and trip the release mechanism so you can maneuver the door by hand. If the door is balanced (properly spring-loaded and running freely on its tracks), you should be able to lift the door smoothly without much effort and it should stay open about three or four feet above the floor.
If the door flies up or down when you let go, the balance needs adjusting. Because the springs store so much power, you should have their tension corrected by a qualified service contractor.
• Force setting. Test the force setting of the opener by holding the bottom of the door as it closes. If the door does not reverse as you apply moderate resistance, the setting is probably excessive. (Consult your owner's manual for specific details about adjusting the setting.)
• Reversing test. Place a 2-by-4 block on the flat in the path of the door. If it does not promptly reverse on hitting the block, you should repair a modern opener or replace an older one that lacks the reversing feature.
Basic maintenance The humdrum part is basic maintenance, mainly cleaning, oiling and a shot of graphite in the lock. Many manufacturers recommend cleaning the tracks and then applying a light machine oil, except to plastic parts.
One of the largest door makers, Genie, says to oil door rollers, bearings and hinges monthly, using a silicone lubricant or light oil.
There are some fixes any homeowner with a level and socket wrench can take on, such as aligning the tracks. Though door wheels have some leeway, if the tracks are not parallel and plumb, the wheels can drag and also wear out prematurely.
The solution is to loosen the bolts in the track mounts just enough so you can realign the tracks before retightening.
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Things to know about garage springs If you are like most people, you probably have paid very little attention to your garage door springs. While understandable, this oversight is also a bit unfair. There's really no single part on your garage door and garage door opener that is more important to the raising and lowering of the door. That's one reason for paying some respect to the springs. Here's another: Garage door springs are dangerous!
Very dangerous, in fact. Do yourself a favor and read Garage Door Safety Tips before thinking about repairs or replacements.
If you are having trouble with your garage door, it may be due to some problem with the springs. (For more information on diagnosing garage door problems, see Garage Door Troubleshooting.) Garage door springs do break, and they can be replaced. There are suppliers out there who sell replacement springs to DIYers, and there are DIYers who have safely and successfully replaced their own springs. I won't try to convince you not to take that approach if you need new springs, but I will strongly suggest that you carefully weigh the risks versus the rewards in this project before deciding to do so. And I also suggest that you make sure your health insurance premium is paid up.
This article is not a how-to on garage door spring replacement. It is intended to acquaint you with garage door springs and some of the maintenance duties you can perform yourself.
Two Types of Garage Door Springs There are two different types of springs used on garage doors. Torsion springs are attached just above the closed garage door, while extension springs are located above the upper tracks on both sides.
Garage Door Springs and Your Safety Garage door springs are tightly wound, meaning they are under a lot of tension.
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. (For tips on finding a qualified garage door pro, see How To Find the Best Garage Door Installers and Repairmen). If your garage door is old, or if it is showing signs of age, let an experienced contractor inspect your garage door springs.
But if the springs are just squeaking and otherwise making a lot of noise, there are some things you might want to do before calling in the troops. A little squeak does not necessarily mean a big problem, any more than an aching head means a brain tumor. Apply some garage door lubricant to the springs and see if it makes any difference. If it doesn't, you may have a serious problem brewing. For suggestions on the best lubricants to use on your garage door, check this site. For some additional advice on reducing the noise of your garage door, see How To Quiet a Noisy Garage Door.
Garage Door Safety Cables The two types of garage door springs discussed above work differently. A garage door with extension springs will have a safety cable on each side of the door running through the spring and attached to the wall or ceiling.
These cables are an important safety feature. Extension springs are under a great deal of tension, and if one was to break, it could cause serious injury. Safety cables help control a broken spring.
If you have extension springs on your garage door but can't find any safety cables, call a garage door pro and get a pair installed.
Out of Balance Springs The best sign of a well-functioning garage door is that it opens and closes smoothly and quietly. When it stops working as it should, the problem can be serious. Try operating the garage door manually (pull the cord attached to the arm connecting the rail trolley system to the door). If the door continues to be difficult to operate, the problem could be that the springs are out of balance. In this case, you can be confident that the problem isn't going to fix itself.
And failing to fix it could result in an escalating list of worn and broken parts. Call a pro ASAP.
Garage Door Spring Brackets Garage door springs are attached to brackets on the bottom of the garage door. As with the springs, these brackets are also under a lot of tension and should only be adjusted or otherwise maintained by a pro. Newer models of garage doors have tamper resistant brackets that prevent the curious but inexperienced among us from getting into trouble.