Most people think of their front door as the main entrance to their home.
Sure, it’s where guests enter, and the mailman drops off packages. But how often do you actually enter and exit your home through the front door? If you’re like most people, you enter your home through the garage door most of the time. On average, you open and close your garage door up to a dozen times per day. Between your commute to work five days a week, and a host of errands, your garage door will get quite a workout on a weekly basis. Compare that with the one or two times a day that your front door gets used. Taking into account your garage door’s weight, and the number of moving parts it has, your it might be the hardest working component in your home. Therefore, you should be paying close attention to its functionality.
Most garage doors weigh anywhere between 150 and 200 pounds; sometimes more. This is a pretty heavy load, even for a door that operates properly. Any parts that are broken or not operating as they should, will put additional strain on the other parts of the garage door. If you have a worn roller, or a loose hinge, your door won’t move up and down as smoothly as it should. The longer you allow your door to operate with worn parts, the sooner other parts begin to fail.
Many Moving Parts in Garage Doors
Your garage door has more moving parts than almost any other object in your home. Your typical residential garage door has a variety of panels, hinges, rollers, tracks, springs, some type of trolley system and an electric opener. When they all work well together, they make our lives convenient by allowing us to drive our cars into, and out of, the garage without exiting our vehicles. A task we all take for granted until the door doesn’t work.
If one part malfunctions, the door will either operate poorly, or not at all. If the door operates poorly, it’s an inconvenience; if it fails to close altogether, many of your belongings are exposed to intruders, creating a security problem. So you don’t want to wait until something breaks to fix it. Instead, maintain your door on a regular schedule to ward off unpleasant surprises.
Here are a few indicators that you need a garage door tune-up:
The number one sign that your door needs maintenance is noise. By nature, a certain amount of noise will occur when your garage door operates. After all, we can’t expect silence when an electric motor lifts a heavy object. With a finely tuned door, when you push the button to lift the door, you should hear the opener lift the door off the ground slowly, a mild hum from the opener, and a smooth sound of the rollers rolling in the tracks. The door panels will make a mild, but even sound as they make the turn at the top of the rail, then there will be very slight bump when the opener stops pulling the door. These sounds should be very subtle and smooth as the door opens. No noise should be detectable inside the house, or halfway down the block. If you hear creaking, popping, squeaking, grinding, or any other noise that doesn’t sound normal, it’s time to find the source of the problem. The cause of the noise could be as simple as insufficiently lubricated parts, loose hinges or broken rollers. But there are some serious problems that can cause noise, and they should be addressed immediately.
Faulty Garage Door Springs
Faulty springs can cause a variety of serious problems when it comes to door operation. Your garage door opener doesn’t lift the entire weight of the door by itself. Most garage door systems have springs that aid the opener by taking some of the door load off the opener, allowing easier door movement. If the springs malfunction in any manner, your door may open unevenly, or in some cases, not at all. Springs can also break. Garage door springs are under a lot of pressure, and if one breaks, it can cause a very dangerous situation if anyone is in close proximity to the door. It’s imperative that your door springs are in exceptional condition. If your springs appear old, corroded, rusty, or stretched, have them inspected by a professional.
Like any opening in your home, your garage door has gaps where it meets the opening of the home. To keep the outdoor elements from entering the home, your garage door has weatherstripping at the bottom and around the sides of the door. If any of the weatherstripping around the door is worn or cracked, it should be replaced.
Any of the problems listed in this article are reasons to have a professional inspect your door. But even if nothing appears to be wrong with your door, you have to start your maintenance program at some point. Why not now? If you have a brand new garage door, it’s best to have it tuned up every six months from the time you buy it; however, if you have a garage door whose history you don’t know, it’s best to have maintenance done as soon as you can, then get on a six month tune-up schedule.
Whether you have just purchased a new home, or a resale home, you’re going to have a list of things you want to do to the house. That noisy garage door may seem like a nuisance that can be addressed later, after you paint a few rooms. But you may want to re-prioritize. At a minimum, your door could malfunction without notice, causing you a minor headache. At worst, it could become a dangerous accident waiting to happen. So before you start checking items off your to-do list, consider moving your garage door tune-up closer to the top of the list. Call a garage door professional and get that door tuned up. You’ll be glad you did.