Residential garage doors are the biggest home appliance you’ve got and one of the costliest. They’re something you tend not to think about often with everything else going on in your life. If it’s going up and down and no one’s complaining, we’re good, you may be thinking.
Until you’ve had an automatic door break, you may not realize the important role they play. An untimely break (and frankly when is a break not untimely) can seriously disrupt your schedule and your life.
Your garage door is basically a movable wall in your home that protects your belongings and prevents access to the more fragile doors leading right into your home.
It is also heavy, with some formidable parts. It’s easy to overlook the complicated nature of a residential garage door when everything’s working smoothly. You merely push a button, hear the familiar sounds, and take off, with anything but your garage door on your mind.
Why Bother With Garage Door Maintenance?
It’s working alright, why should I have some kind of maintenance schedule? Isn’t that just the company trying to make more money off me? There are many DIY stories on the internet and relayed by garage door repairmen of people who believed that and got in over their heads when going it alone.
Just like a car, your garage door needs regular maintenance to continue working properly. Also, just like a vehicle, some seriously costly and dangerous things can happen if you don’t regularly maintain your garage door.
With a garage door maintenance program, you head off problems before they happen. It’s less expensive to maintain than to repair big problems down the line.
Having a company come out late at night when you can’t close your garage door is a headache for you.
Consistent maintenance allows you and the technician to recognize issues that may happen in the future. For example, if a roller is starting to wear out, you’ll want to know. Maybe it’s still got some life in it, but you may need to keep your eye on it.
That gives you peace of mind, that unexpected issues aren’t going to happen to you when you’re rushing out the door at 7 a.m. to be at an important meeting.
A maintenance check can look out for kinks, twists, and bent brackets that occur with use. Maybe your door gets used multiple times a day.
You’re not sure what to look for and the videos on YouTube look slightly different than your equipment.
A technician can easily point things out to you that may need to be replaced immediately, or in the near future. They are trained to identify parts that aren’t lubricated properly. This is a fairly easy fix, but crucial if you want your door to operate smoothly.
They can also notice little things that don’t seem like a big deal but may end up becoming a big problem if not dealt with.
Experience will guide them to trouble-shoot nuances you wouldn’t know to look for. For a knowledgeable repairman, what could take them 5 minutes, could take you hours to get around, simply because it’s not your main skill-set.
What Can Happen Over Time To A Garage Door
Garage doors are designed to last for a good 20 years, if maintained well. They may begin to warp or bow over time, becoming unsightly and functioning less than optimally.
When doors are opened and closed frequently, nuts and bolts shift and loosen with usage. Nylon rollers deteriorate over time. Batteries and light-bulbs will need to be replaced.
While some people can make these simple tweaks on their own, for others standing on ladders is out of the question.
You’re careful not to let it happen, but once in a while someone may run into the door with their car. When even minor accidents occur, unseen damage can happen, and you may see issues down the line that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Garage door maintenance is needed because doors can become unbalanced. When this happens, parts are negatively affected and tweaked through use.
Even without continual use, parts can become damaged or rusty. It’s best to be aware of the state of your home, particularly a movable main-hub such as the garage door.
Tragically, children and pets can and have been hurt in garage door accidents. People place a lot of faith in automated systems, not realizing how quickly things can go wrong when the system hasn’t been maintained.
More than 30,000 people are injured each year by garage doors.
Parts get worn out, stick, and lock up, only to fall on people or cars.
What Can I Check on My Own?
To really maintain and repair a garage door you need specialized tools, knowledge and training. Even highly educated and intelligent people have been seriously injured by garage doors, because certain parts are unique to garage doors and require specialized knowledge.
Overhead torsion springs can be very dangerous. Springs and cables are under high pressure, and can snap and whip, causing serious injury. Never remove the bottom roller-bracket, for example. The cable underneath can be extremely dangerous.
And of course, you wouldn’t want to cause additional problems and cost yourself more money in the long run.
There are a few checks you can do that will help. Your technician can run through these with you if you’re unsure of anything.
Do a visual check once a month. This is to make sure your door is operating smoothly and is balanced. If your door can be opened and closed manually, test its ability to do this. It should be easy to move.
If it gets stuck or seems to require more effort than it should, you’ll know you should get it checked out.
Batteries and light-bulb replacement. Replace batteries in your remote and replace batteries and light-bulbs in the overhead unit as per manual requirements, if it is safe for you to do so.
Lubricate door hinges. Open your garage door slowly to lubricate the hinges.
Do a reversal test. Garage door maintenance will prevent doors from malfunctioning. Garage doors are designed to immediately stop when they detect an obstruction.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated reversal function after a review in 2013 noted that 40% of emergency systems fail.
This is obviously an important test to prevent injuries. Place a smaller object in the doorway to test its stopping function. It should reverse quickly and go back up.
When Should I Have My Garage Door Inspected?
People often ask if they should have their door inspected when they move into a home that is new to them. This is a really good idea since you don’t know what that door has been through. Just because something looks nice doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a hidden problem.
Have it checked out if you hear any unusual sounds or something isn’t working perfectly.
Regular garage door maintenance should be done every 6 months to a year. How frequently you have it done depends on the type of door you have, how old it is, and how frequently you use it.
Some people use their door once a week, while other use it 18 times a day. Obviously, it will wear out more quickly with continued use.
Can I Save Money by Having a Garage Door Maintenance Schedule?
New residential garage doors are a beautiful thing. But you may not need one. A technician can give you an honest assessment of whether you’d be better off maintaining your door for another 5 or 10 years, or if it would be more cost effective to purchase a new one.
If your door hasn’t been maintained, a trained repairman can let you know what damage can be fixed. When bowing has been caused by pressure, or the hinges have damaged your door, you need an expert to fill you in on your options.
Garage door maintenance will save you money on costly upgrades and emergency repairs down the line. As we all know, planned costs such as maintenance are a lot easier to handle than unplanned, big malfunctions.
After all, they cost more money and cause more stress.
Our extensively trained and personable technicians will answer your questions and set your mind at ease. You’ll feel good knowing you’re taking safety seriously and planning for your financial future.
We’re here to help. We know garage door issues are frustrating and want to be your first choice to help keep your home and family safe. Contact us today for any questions you may have regarding our residential garage door preventative maintenance program. Have other questions or concerns regarding your garage door, we are here to help with that as well!