Whether or not you are the DIY type, there are several steps you can take to ensure your garage door operates without fail, and without calling in the experts. None of these steps are complex or challenging, and together they require less than 20 minutes of your time. In this brief article, we are going to look at four things you can inspect or check on a quarterly basis (every three months or so) to be certain that the entire garage door system is working properly.
Step One is a Visual Inspection of the Complete System
The first step is incredibly easy, and requires nothing more than using your eyes to do a visual assessment. Step inside the garage and safely close the door. Then review them following the steps itemized below:
- The rollers – Do any seem worn out or unable to roll smoothly along the horizontal tracks?
- The lifting cables – Do any seem frayed or compromised?
- The overhead torsion spring – Does it seem in good order or look like it might be worn or broken?
- The overhead extension springs – Do these hang down at all or seem distended?
- The horizontal tracks – How aligned do they appear? Do they tilt away from one another?
- All of the bolts and screws in the system – Visually inspect the entire system’s many bolts and screws…there should be nothing lose or out of place.
Step Two is to Ensure the Garage Door is Properly Balanced
One of the most important parts of the inspection is this one, and to do it, you just follow these steps:
- Pull down on the red emergency release cord (this is what disengages the automatic/electric opener).
- Use the lifting handle to open the door.
- How much force or strength did it take to open the door? Could you do it with one hand or did it take both hands and a lot of strength? If the door is very heavy or difficult to move, it means the spring system (which works as a counterweight to allow you to easily open the door on your own) probably needs professional repair.
- Lift the door about four feet from the ground (halfway open). Let go of the door. Does it remain in place or slowly close as soon as you release the handle? If the door closes, it too is a sign that the spring system is out of whack and requires professional repair.
Step Three is to Ensure the Mechanical Reversal System Functions Properly
Did you know your garage doors are designed with two reversal systems to guarantee optimal safety? The first is the mechanical reversal system. Here are the steps to check on its function:
- Use a sturdy piece of lumber (we suggest a 12″ long piece of 2″ x 4″ lumber).
- Next, open the garage door and place the lumber along the flat area of the door’s threshold.
- Use the electronic controls to shut the garage door.
- When the door touches the piece of wood, it should reverse direction immediately.
- If that fails to occur, it means you must adjust the opener’s level of sensitivity. This is easy to do and you can find “limit adjusting screws” on the outside of the garage opener’s housing. It requires a screwdriver and nothing more to adjust this setting. Usually, arrows indicate more or less sensitivity, and turning the screw near the downward-pointing arrow counterclockwise a quarter turn is all that is needed.
- Retest the door and ensure it is sensitive enough. It not, try again and keep repeating until it automatically reverses when it encounters the board.
Step Four is to Check the Photo-Eye Reversal System
The second automatic reversal system is the one that uses the photo eye sensors. These appeared first in 1993, and since that time all garage door openers in North America require them. They use a simple beam of light that crosses the garage door’s opening, but you cannot see it with your eye. It works by positioning two units on opposite sides of the door, roughly 5-6 inches (13 to 15 cm) from the ground. If anything passes between the sensors, it stops or reverses the door. To check it, just close the door with the remote, and while it is lowering, pass your foot in front of one of the sensors. This breaks the beam and forces the door to reverse its course instantly.
If that fails to occur, it means that one of the two units is misaligned or broken and needs to be replaced or repaired. That is not a DIY job and requires a call to an expert.
What to Do If Your Garage Door Fails a Few Steps
If one or more of these steps shows the need for an expert, simply contact us at 207-784-0622! We have our unique “Tune-up” program that gets your garage door back in good shape. If you think it is time to change your garage door or door opener, we can also send you an email quotation or pay a visit to your home and explain the different models to fit your needs.