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Garage Door Repair Tips
by Dave Spencer
Some homeowners really like to do projects around their home. Others like to do fix-it projects because they want to save money. As garage door technicians, we understand both motivations.
There are a number of tasks that a typical homeowner can accomplish by themselves regarding their garage door. On the other hand, there are some things that a do-it-yourselfer should never attempt.
Here is your list of DIY garage door items
If your garage door stops and starts, rumbles or vibrates check your garage door tracks. Take a look at the mounting brackets to see if they are loose. If they are, tighten the attaching bolts and screws.
With the door closed, examine each track for crimps, flat spots, or dents. If you find damage, pound it out with a hammer or rubber mallet. Badly damaged tracks should be replaced.
Inspect the tracks to make certain they are properly aligned. Horizontal tracks should slant slightly downward. Vertical tracks should be exactly vertical.
Tracks have to be the same height on both sides of your door. If the tracks do not appear properly aligned, loosen the screws holding the mounting brackets. Tap the tracks into place. Recheck the tracks using the level to make sure their height is correct then re-tighten the screws.
It is a good idea to regularly clean your tracks with a cleaning solution. Clean the rollers and wipe down both tracks making certain they are dry.
Caution: Be careful of spiders while you work on your garage door.
Spiders love to make webs using your door tracks. A bite from the wrong type of spider can put you in the hospital.
Lubricate all moving parts using silicon lubricant spray or powdered graphite. Use household oil or silicone spray on your roller shafts. Do not put any lubricant on the rollers themselves.
Finally, if you have a garage door opener and your door won’t close and your garage door light flashes, something is in the path of the door. Remove anything that you think could possibly be in the pathway and try again.
If your door still won’t go down, you may have a problem with your stop/reverse lights. Wipe them clean and try again. You’ll probably get your garage door to work.
Here are garage door repair items you should never do without proper training.
One of these is anything to do with 220 volt power. Any mistake in this area could be instantly fatal. Fortunately garage doors don’t use 220 volts, but if you need to install an additional circuit in your home to accomodate garage door electronics, you may come across 220 volt considerations.
The only cure for a broken spring is to replace it. You may have torsion springs or you may have extension springs.
Extension springs are located along the horizontal track on either side of your door. Even though only one spring is broken, both springs should be replaced at the same time. Once your springs are replaced, your door should be re-balanced so it will work properly.
Big box stores carry a limited inventory of extension springs. If they don’t have an exact replacement for your door, you’ll need to do some shopping on the internet. Extension springs can be replaced by a very handy homeowner, however it is usually on the “no no” list.
Torsion springs wrap around a bar that you can see above your garage door when it is closed.
The average torsion spring will last for approximately 10,000 open/close cycles of your garage door. There are upgraded springs which you can install that will last 15,000 cycles or more.
A 10,000 cycle rated spring with normal usage will last from 7 to 10 years. Once this time period has passed, the spring will break and your garage door will suddenly fail to open.
Just like garage door extension springs, both torsion springs should be replaced at the same time, even though only one is broken.
You will have to know the specifications of the spring you are replacing. This includes the diameter of the spring, the length, the capacity, and the amount of torque required. There are usually no markings on the spring, so this can sometimes be difficult to determine.
It doesn’t help that the big box stores and local hardware stores don’t sell replacement torsion springs. The only place a homeowner can purchase a spring is to find a wholesaler on the internet that will sell to individuals. That is easier said than done.
Replacing a torsion spring is risky. Torsion springs can quickly snap back and injure you. There are a large number of people injured every year attempting to do garage door repair work. In order to prevent injury, you should call a garage door technician.
The technician will have the proper tools and will know what type of springs that should be used. His experience and expertise will allow him to troubleshoot your problem accurately and quickly.
Your garage door is heavy and bulky!
If your garage door has come off its track, don’t mess with it. It may have jammed in a partially open position or one section may be hanging by one track and the hinges to another section. Regardless of the particulars of your door’s situation, leave it alone. Do not attempt to put it back on its track by yourself.
If you are attempting to put your door back on track or replace a torsion spring and your door gets away from you, it can cause injury to you and damage your property. The risk is just not worth it.
Fortunately, most garage door problems are easily solved by people who have training in the field. Don’t be afraid to call us. A service call can be an inexpensive solution to a major problem with your door.
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