Garage Door Maintenance Tips for Every Homeowner
When you do maintenance on your home, what is it you are doing? Checking the furnace, water heater, windows, and doors? Well, something that many people overlook is the actual garage door maintenance. How many times have you had troubles with your garage door, only it is too late to do anything about it?
Providing garage door maintenance twice throughout the year should help you keep it functional, looking good and working without having an expensive bill from repairs last minute. In this blog, we will give you some steps to keep that pesky door working and in great shape that you won’t have to worry about it not working when you need it to.
Types of Garage Doors
There are two types of garage doors, you have the manual and automatic. Manual doors will need to be opened by hand, whereas the automatic doors will have openers that move the door by mechanics. Both types will need regular maintenance to ensure that nothing major goes wrong.
Manual and Automatic Doors
Watch and Listen
When you open your garage door, too often you find that it can jerk upward, like it is struggling to move. This will cause the garage door to be loud and obnoxious, and maybe not opening or closing fully. If you hear scraping sounds or loud sounds when it is moving, check out the cables and springs. Most garage doors should be quiet when in motion.
Keep the Tracks Clear
Take the time to look over the tracks on both sides of the door to make sure that there is nothing in its way. This could be some form of debris or rust. Anything that can get stuck in the tracks will cause the door to not open properly and most people will force the door open, and this will cause more harm in the long run.
Make sure Hardware is Tightened
How many times a day do you open the garage door? Depending on how many vehicles you own and keep in the garage, it gets used probably more than the front door. Making sure that the brackets holding the tracks to the walls and ceiling are in tight will ensure that they don’t come loose.
The framing and tracks can become loose and make it harder to open the door over time, and eventually can come off, in which case now you have a bigger problem to fix. Take the time to tighten any bolts that you might find that are loose.
Inspect the Rollers
Besides the bottom rollers, you can easily remove the other rollers on the door. Checking these to make sure that none are loose, chipped, cracked or even worn will help keep the door functioning. Over time, if you do not check for the debris, this can get wedged into the rollers, or if the tracks are loose, can wear on the roller to one side.
Rollers help life the door up and down the track, and if the rollers are loose or not functioning correctly, they will not work.
Cables, Pulleys and Chains
Garage doors have a series of cables and pulleys to help lift the door and close it. This also allows the door to be more under control when opening and closing, instead of slamming shut. There are different springs that can be used, depending on the door you have, but the concept is the same.
Touching these cables can be dangerous, but if you notice that there is a strand loose or even one that is broken, you will want to call a service person in to replace them. They will attach some cables to the rollers themselves, and those you will want a service person to replace or check while looking at the cables.
If you notice that the chain is loose and you want to know how to tighten a garage door chain, read the manual or call your local technician. They can take you through the steps needed to get this done; However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, have your technician do this for you. Chains can be a fickle part of the system and hard to fix.
Keeping all the moving parts on the garage door well lubricated will reduce the stress on the whole system itself. Applying a spray lubricant on the rollers and hinges will keep them moving smoothly. If they are stuck you can always use your trusty WD-40 to penetrate the system to get it moving.
Using a garage door opener grease, like white lithium, is good to have on hand. This can be used on the pulleys and bearing. Don’t use the lubricant on the belt drive on an automatic system; as it will gum up the system.
Weatherstripping runs along the bottom of the door to help keep out cold weather, water, dust, and some dirt. Make sure that the weatherstripping is not falling apart or coming off. Reattach loose spots or replace the whole thing if there is a lot of damage. Most wooden doors will not have weatherstripping attached to them on the bottom, so if you check and yours does not, have a professional install one for you.
The proper balance of the door will help ensure that the door works easier and not harder when using it and lasting longer. A well-balanced door will stay in one spot when partly opened; if it moves or budges, then something is wrong and you need to call a professional. If it crooks the door when stopping in one spot, then the door is not properly aligned.
Clean and Paint the Door
If your door is steel, check for rust spots on the door and sand, prime, and repaint it. You can wash fiberglass doors with an all-purpose cleaner. Wood doors can have a variety of issues, from chipping, water damage, warping or not sealed well.
Garage Door Opener
The newer models of openers will have a diagnostic system built into it, in which it will flash code if something goes wrong. This will tell you if there are broken springs, dirty tracks, or even a misalignment. Knowing your system and what all the codes mean will help you keep the system working properly. Garage door opener maintenance can be confusing if you don’t understand the system, so if you should direct questions you have to the manufacturer or a company that fixes them.
Cleaning Optic Sensors
Any garage door opener today must have an optic sensor system with it to prevent it from closing on someone or something. These sensors must be aimed properly for the system to work and be clear of debris.
First, make sure that the sensors have nothing blocking them, and if not, then make sure they have not become misaligned. The eyes can sometimes become loose, so all you should need to jiggle or rotate the sensor slightly and it should become back in alignment.
Test the Auto-Reverse
As we stated above, the sensors that make sure the door will open if something obstructs its view can also go faulty. Most manufacturers recommend testing the system to make sure it doesn’t malfunction. You can accomplish this by putting a piece of hardwood in the door’s opening and lowering the door. It should automatically return or bounce off the object and return. If the door does not automatically return, then an adjustment will need to be done. The manual should have directions on how to make this change.
Older openers may not have this feature, but now it is mandated by building codes in many areas, so think about replacing yours if you can.
Make Garage Door Maintenance Routine
Depending on where you live, the weather over time will take a toll on your home. Whether it is rain, snow, or humidity, it will impact your home. Garage doors are no exception, and it is the largest part on your home that is used multiple times a day in all weather. Knowing how to maintain a garage door may seem harder than it is, however, in the long run, it will save you money.
- Bob Vila – Keep Garage Doors in Top Shape
- Dummies – How to Maintain Garage Doors
- Garaga – Top 10 Preventive Maintenace Tips for Garage Door Owners
- The Spruce – 10 Tips for Seasonal Garage Door Maintenance