The garage door is the home’s largest feature, and one of its most frequently used. They provide security and style for years to come.
Below are ten maintenance tips that all homeowners should do to keep their door in its best condition. For best results perform routine maintenance at least once a month and consult your owners manual for other recommended services.
1. Perform visual inspection of hardware
Thoroughly inspect hardware including moving and non-moving parts like brackets, cables, framing, pulleys, rollers, and springs. You’re looking and listening for signs of wear, anything that doesn’t look or sound right.
Listen for squeaking, clicking, or knocking sounds as the door raises and lowers. It should operate smoothly and nearly silently.
Make sure hardware is free of dust and debris or spider webs that can obstruct operation. Also check for knicks in any materials, and frays in the cabling that are signs of impending failure.
2. Check lubrication of moving part
All moving parts should be lubricated unless they’re constructed from plastic. Items such as plastic rollers or idler bearings don’t need to be lubricated, but metal parts do.
White lithium grease is the best lubricant because it doesn’t contain additives that leave a residue or inadvertently degrade the metal. It’s easily and conveniently available from big box home improvement stores and comes in easy-to-use spray bottles.
For best results make sure the areas are clean before applying lubricants. It’s not necessary to use detergent to clean the surfaces, and detergents can actually cause damage to the structures. Simply wipe down the surfaces, vacuum the areas, or use a blower to remove dust and debris.
3. Complete reversal test
If your garage door opener was manufactured after January 1, 1993, then it complies with the most current federal safety standards which require the unit to be equipped with a reversing feature. If your opener is older than that and doesn’t have one, then it needs to be replaced with one that does have this safety feature.
Testing the reversal function involves placing a piece of wood or other similar items on the floor in the center of the open doorway. Push the wall button or use the transmitter to close the door. It should automatically reverse direction when it contacts the item. If it doesn’t then you need to consult a professional garage door repair company.
4. Complete force setting test
Doing a force test is another safety measure because proper force keeps the door from accidentally closing on a person, pet, or vehicle.
Test the force by holding the bottom of the door while it is closing. When properly adjusted the door will quickly reverse. If it doesn’t then there is too much force and the door needs to be adjusted to a lighter number.
Make sure to check the system again after making the adjustments.
5. Check the door’s balance
Your garage door should open smoothly and evenly whether you use an automatic opener or operate it manually. Unbalanced doors cause premature damage to the door’s components, and leaves gaps in coverage.
Adjusting the door’s balance involves changing the tension of the springs. Doing so can be dangerous because the springs are under a lot of pressure; if they come undone or break they cause serious bodily harm.
6. Replace the weatherstripping
Supple weatherstripping located at the bottom of the garage door is instrumental in preserving the items stored in your garage. It acts as a barrier against the elements so that things like snow, rain, and small animals can’t get inside.
Make sure it’s not cracked or brittle, or that any sections are missing. Replacing it should be fairly easy; weatherstripping is sold at major home improvement retailers.
7. Check other safety features
Many new garage door systems are equipped with additional safety features such as infrared photo eyes, and edge sensors that ensure the doorway is clear before it fully closes. These sensors should be installed no more than six inches from the floor.
The infrared sensors should be able to detect when an object moves into the doorway during operation. To test this function you’ll need a large item such as a bucket or piece of wood.
Stand near the edge of the open door then use your remote to close the door. Move the bucket or piece of wood into the doorway so that it interrupts the infrared beam. The door should automatically stop, or begin opening.
8. Install a containment cable
Spring doors are under a lot of pressure, and breaking can cause serious damage to nearby people and objects. Containment cables are a safety feature that keeps the garage door spring from dangerously flying out.
Containment cables are fed through the extension spring then bolted to the bracket on the upper front rail; on the other end of the spring, the cable is secured with a washer and nut.
Once installed you should periodically inspect the cable itself, the bracket, and the hardware. The cable shouldn’t be bent or frayed. The bracket should be secured to the rail. Consult a professional if anything looks worn or feels loose.
9. Check the tracks
Damage to your door’s tracks causes it to become unbalanced and prematurely wear your equipment. Tracks don’t ordinarily move but can get bent or broken if hit by a vehicle or other equipment. The screws used to attach the tracks may also become rusted or loose.
10. Inspect and repair the surface of the door
Modern garage door materials are durable and intended to last many years with very few problems, but that doesn’t mean they can be ignored, especially if you’re in an area prone to inclement weather such as hail or hurricanes.
Small dents aren’t usually cause for concern. But large cracks and damage should be repaired as soon as possible.
Your home’s garage door is a high-traffic item intended to last several years. Keeping it safe and functional requires regular maintenance throughout the lifetime of the door. These guidelines are things all homeowners should keep on their “to do” list.