Repairs You Can Do Yourself
If you are considering a DIY garage door repair project, there are several factors to keep in mind. Along with the obvious matter of Cost versus Benefit, additional factors you need to consider are the length of the project, tools involved, and skills or knowledge required to successfully complete it. Perhaps the most important question to ask is: does the potential repair involve any risks? If, after careful research, you come up with even the slightest possibility of either injury to yourself or damage to your property, the answer is - call the professionals. That being said, there certainly are a few things you can do as a homeowner to help identify and prevent serious issues as well as perform quick fixes to resolve simple garage door malfunctions.
1. General Maintenance
One of the most important things you can do to ensure smooth operation of your garage door is to perform routine maintenance checkups. We recommend that you check your door twice a year to avoid any insignificant malfunctions from escalating into full-blown problems.
Begin by visually examining your garage door. Look for loose hinges, worn rollers and cables. If you see any chipped paint, sand it down and touch up or repaint the door. This will prevent the door from rusting.
Inspect all the hardware and make sure all the hinges and bolts are tightened. Check the rollers. Have a professional change the rollers if yours look worn. Dealing with bottom bracket rollers can especially be dangerous as they hold a lot of tension from the cables and can result in serious injury should the repair go the wrong way.
Lubricate all moving parts. Those include hinges, tracks, rollers, and springs. Use garage door lubricant or silicone spray. Wipe springs with motor oil every three years to prevent them from rusting.
Test automatic reversal system on your door. The automatic reversal system prevents the door from continuing to close if an object is detected in its way. This feature is the most important when it comes to safety. Manufacturers recommend that you test this feature every month to avoid potentially serious injury. You can test the automatic reversal system by following the next steps. 1) Open your garage door. 2) Place a 1-inch object (2 x 4 board laid flatly will do) on ground right under the door. 3) Press the button to close the door. 3) The door should go back up once it detects the object underneath. If the door will not reverse, call for professional garage door service.
Test the emergency manual release. Start with closing your garage door. Then pull the emergency release cord. Once you pull on the cord, the door becomes detached from the opener. This feature allows you to open and close the door manually during power outages or when the opener is malfunctioning. Caution: if the door wouldn’t move easily when being operated manually, call a professional, as it might be a sign of more serious problem like being off-track or having a broken spring.
Clear any residue and dust from the tracks to allow for smooth operation of the door. You can use a brush to do so. Follow up with spraying a lubricant.
Repair or replace weather stripping. Weather stripping helps with the insulation of the garage. It also prevents water, dust, bugs and critters from getting in.
Finally, test the balance of your garage door. First close the door and disconnect it from the opener by pulling on the emergency release cord. Once disconnected, pull the door up manually. If the door moves freely, it’s well balanced. If the door is sticking, first check if the tracks are lubricated. Lubricate if necessary. After the lubrication, lift the door 3-4 feet off the ground. If the door stays in place, moves up or down slowly, it’s well balanced. If, on the other hand, the door slams down or shoots up, it is out of balance. To fix the off-balanced door, call a professional as this repair involves high-tension cables and springs that can be very dangerous.
2. Noisy Garage Doors.
Noisy doors are another common issue that can be easily fixed without the help of a professional. Usually the doors that are well lubricated and generally well maintained are fairly quiet. If you hear grinding, rattling and/or screeching sounds when operating the door, you need to first inspect the door for any loose hardware. Tighten any loose hinges and bolts. If you notice worn rollers, have them changed. Lubricate the hardware with garage door lubricant or silicone spray. These tips should help eliminate the noise. If the noise persists, call a professional.
3. Frozen Garage Doors.
Frozen garage doors are a common problem during colder months. The door simply freezes to the ground and cannot open when pressing the opener button. Make sure not to keep pressing the button if the door has not opened after the first try. Continuing to do so may burn out the opener. Instead, use a blow drier or a heat gun to melt the ice that sealed the door to the ground. Alternatively, you can use a shovel very carefully to chip away at the ice. Make sure to remove all the water from under the door to prevent the door from freezing in the future.
4. Quick Malfunction Fixes.
No matter how attentive you are to the routine needs of your garage doors, things can still go out of order. Calling a professional is a great idea, but not before you troubleshoot for the following issues. Doing so will help you avoid wasting your own and technician’s time as well save you from having to pay for any service call charges.
Sensors misalignment is one of the biggest offenders on the list of simple and easy fixes you can perform yourself. First, make sure nothing is obstructing the way between the sensors. If your door suddenly refuses to close or if it closes only when you keep pressing down the opener button, chances are the sensors are misaligned. Locate the receiving and sending sensors on either side of the garage door track. Align the receiving sensor by loosening the wing nut, and slowly moving the sensor until the LED is glowing steadily and not flickering. Tighten the wing nut. The LEDs on both safety reversing sensors glow steadily when they are aligned. Keep in mind that the safety reversing sensors should be installed no higher than 6 inches above the garage floor.
Another reason why your garage door wouldn’t close is that something might be obstructing the way between the sending and receiving sensors. If you do find an object causing the issue, simple remove it and try to close the door again.
Sometimes the issue with a malfunctioning door can be so simple that it can be fixed by checking whether the electrical supply has been cut off to the garage. Replacing dead remote batteries will provide a quick and simple solution to the problem of unresponsive opener.
Making sure to fix any broken glass ASAP is very important. Not only will the fix prevent unnecessary birds, insects, and moisture from entering the garage, you will also help avoid any security concerns as garage doors are often a first-choice entry points for trespassers and burglars alike.
5. Ensuring Security of Your Home
Speaking of robbers, ensuring security of your home is undeniably one of the most important things you can do to protect your property and avoid damage to the garage door itself. Obviously, adding an alarm system is the best thing you can do for security of your home. Additionally, you can install a smartphone app that will allow you to connect your phone to the garage door opener via the Internet. Once installed, the app will allow you to open and close your garage door remotely. Such apps are excellent in providing an extra layer of protection to the overall security of your home and are indispensable when it comes to ensuring your own peace of mind.