Automatic garage doors are typically the largest moving objects in a home, but they’re often neglected when it comes to proper maintenance or sorely needed repairs. Not only can this shorten the lifespan of a garage door and garage door opener (the machine that raises and lowers the door), it can cause significant safety hazards. So here are five things you should know to keep your garage door in great shape for years to come:
- How to Operate the Manual Release
A manual release allows you to open your garage door when the opener is broken or the power is off. This will vary based on your model, so it’s up to you to pull out your owner’s manual and locate the release. It’s a good idea to do this before you have a problem, and even practice a few times.
- When to Replace the Garage Door Springs
It’s important you know when to replace the garage door springs that control the descent of your door and make sure it rises and lowers evenly. If the door descends more rapidly than it used to, or if one side seems to lower more quickly than the other, that’s a sign your springs need replacing. It’s important to note that it may or may not be visibly apparent that your strings have become stretched out.
- How to Test the Auto-Reverse System
The auto-reverse feature is an important one you should test once a year in three different ways. First, set something in the way of the sensor (a roll of paper towels works well) and push the close button. The door should refuse to close. Then, place a non-expensive object (such as a sawhorse) beneath the door but not blocking the sensor’s eye. When you press the close button, the door should descend, touch the item and immediately re-open. Finally, clear the area under the door and press the close button. As the door descends, wave a rake or broom handle in front of the sensor. The door should reverse. If your door fails any of these three tests, you need to investigate further.
- Which Cleaning Agents to Use
Dirt and exhaust can create a grimy, greasy film on your garage door. This can usually be cleaned off with a mild solution of water and detergent, but you should check your owner’s manual. This is also a good time to check for rust, which can progress quickly if not removed.
- When to Call a Professional Technician
There are some problems that you can solve by buying garage door replacement parts and doing some work yourself, if you’re handy. But even experienced DIY-ers should know when it’s time to call the garage door repair company. Anything that deals with the full weight of the door should be handled by a professional. You should also check your garage door opener’s warranty; you may void it by doing work yourself.
Do you know when to replace the garage door springs? How to test your safety features? Discuss in the comments.