Your garage door is the largest moving part in your house. It can also be the most dangerous.
We won’t try to scare you with epic horror stories of garage door FAIL. You can Google that yourself, but be prepared for gruesome tales of decapitation, lost limbs and lifelong suffering.
Every single day in this country, a garage door repairman goes to a job where there is blood splattered everywhere.
But that won’t happen to you if have your garage door installed by a reputable and experienced technician, if you follow the the simple maintenance tips outlined in your owners manual, and if you have ALL repairs done by a professional.
There are still pitfalls, though.
One of the most common injuries resulting from poor garage door maintenance is strain, specifically back strain when trying to correct a garage door malfunction. Then there’s people falling of ladders while trying to re-adjust their openers, cuts and scrapes from metal tracks, and sprained limbs due to reaching,twisting and stretching.
The two most important things to remember to avoid costly and dangerous garage door maintenance are to inspect your operating system regularly, and to call in a professional at the FIRST sign of trouble.
Here are a few tips for upkeep of your garage door and opener. These simple safety and maintenance can be performed by you, but leave the hardcore stuff like installation and spring replacement to the pros.
* Have your garage door and opener checked by a qualified technician once a year, just as you would your heating/cooling system. It only costs a few bucks, and may save you a bundle by identifying potential problems.
* Always respect the awesome power of an electric garage door. Never let children “play” in and around a moving garage door, or with the remote.
* Let everyone in your house know when you’re doing maintenance or inspections, so they won’y accidentally
* Use monthly walk-through inspections as a way to familiarize yourself with the mechanism, and to spot early warning signs of trouble. Close you garage door and stand inside. Inspect the springs, rollers, mounting hardware, cables and pulleys. Look for signs of wear and damage. Use common sense – if both your garage door springs don’t look identical, something is amiss.
* Likewise, if your garage door doesn’t sound right, don’t just ignore it. Although it is monstrous in size, your garage door mechanism is a precision instrument that should perform as effortlessly and silently as a well-oiled machine. Garage doors, unlike people, do not get noisier as they get older.
* Check your door’s balance. If you have an automatic opener, close the door and disconnect the opener. You should be able to lift the door manually with little resistance, and the door should remain fully open. If your door is difficult to lift or doesn’t stay open, it’s probably out of balance and requires service by a trained technician.
* All automatic garage doors manufactured after 1993 are required by federal law to include a photo-electric sensor and reversing mechanism to prevent people, pets or objects from being crushed by the door. If your system pre-dates these important safety features, it’s a recipe for disaster. Test your system by placing a 2×4 piece of wood on the floor directly underneath the door. If the door does not immediately reverse upon touching the wood, you need to call a serviceman right away.
* Also check the photo-electric eye sensor by passing a broom handle through the path of the photo eye after pushing the button to close your door. If the door doesn’t reverse, close the door and clean the photo eyes with a soft close. Then re-align the photo-electric eyes by hand. If that doesn’t solve the problem, call a professional.
* Test the force setting on your automatic opener by holding the bottom of your garage door with outstretched hands as it’s closing. If the door keeps going down and doesn’t quickly reverse, the closing force is too strong and needs to be adjusted by a service technician.
* Last, but not least, grease up your garage door mechanism at least twice a year by applying spray lubricant liberally to the tracks, rollers and hinges.
Take care of your garage door and it will take care of you, for many years to come.