Regular inspections of garage doors and basic garage door maintenance can reduce the risk of accidents and head off repairs. There are only a few inspections for garage doors and they take just a few minutes. Most components of your garage door are simple and safe. But, garage door torsion springs are dangerous. National statistics reveal than more than 30,000 people are injured by garage doors every year. People are killed in these accidents. The most serious threat in Janesville WI and the surrounding area is from the highly-tensioned torsion springs.
Garage Door Maintenance Tip – Leave Torsion Springs Alone
The best advice from professionals: The springs on your garage doors are not among the things you should consider for do-it-yourself attention.
These heavy-duty springs are tightly-wound, high-tension steel. After repeated use, they wear out and break. While a garage door maintenance program can lubricate them and check for excessive wear, it won’t be able to spot potential breaks with certainty. The danger comes when a spring breaks. A broken spring may lash out and hit anything close to it – usually just the wall, ceiling or garage door, but if a person is near, they are at risk. Unlike garage door parts that have recommended replacement schedules, a garage door spring’s life is determined by the number of times it raises and lowers the heavy door.
Will a spring last five years? Ten years? The older it is the more likely it will fail, but not because of its age. Springs on garage doors fail from repeated use.
The lifespan of a garage door spring is based on the number of times it assists in the raising and lowering of the door. Springs are commonly rated from 5,000 to 10,000 with high cycle options of 20,000-50,000 life cycles. If you’re opening/closing the door three times a day, that’s about 1,000 cycles a year. At that rate, a 10,000 life cycle spring should last 8-10 years and a 5,000 cycle spring about half that. Other factors matter – rust on the springs shortens life and a door that’s out of balance can add stress. Garage door maintenance spots these potential problems areas.
Professional Inspection A Worthwhile Investment
Having your garage door maintenance routine directed by a professional is a valuable investment. The garage door has become the number one access point to most homes and actively used garage doors require regular inspections.
The garage door is the largest, heaviest moving object in your home. It can weigh more than 400 pounds. Garage door maintenance is simple and keeps you and your family safe.
On a regular basis you can check for loose nuts and bolts on the hinged portions and can provide lubrication to the guide wheels. A good lubricant is all that’s necessary here. For the torsion springs, basic 30-weight motor oil is a good choice. There are special garage door spring lubricants available, too. Apply the lubricant at least twice a year.
TIP FROM A PRO — Do Not Use WD-40 on your garage door springs! WD-40 has specific uses and properties but it is not a lubricant. In fact, WD-40 can do more harm than good when applied to torsion springs. Use a lubrication product specifically recommended for garage door springs.
Inspections You Can Do
A professional garage door maintenance technician should be called for any repairs or replacement parts, but you can check the door for minor things. Begin by raising the door slowly and see how it balances. It should:
- Stay down tight when closed
- Be even across the bottom when closed, with no obvious gaps
- Stay in place when halfway open – a slight sag or upward shift of a foot or so is OK
- Stay in place when fully opened
If the door drops to the floor from the halfway position, the springs need immediate attention. When a door is unstable at any height, it needs to be checked.
Temperature changes affect garage doors. Metal parts don’t respond well in cold weather. High-tension metal can become brittle. All the metal parts weakened by age or extensive use can become problems during seasonal changes.
Be alert to changing actions and sounds:
- Is the garage door squeaking, grinding or “groaning”
- Does it open and close smooth or is it jerking – does it seem to fall the last few inches
TIPS FROM A PRO — Most of the larger, double garage doors have two torsion springs. Rarely do they both break at once. When one breaks, replace them both. Each one has been subjected to the same open/close cycles. When new, both were installed at the same time. So, when one fails the other is likely to fail very soon – replacing both at once saves time and a service call.
Garage Door Openers On The Maintenance List
Keeping garage door openers in top working condition is another key element of garage door maintenance. Proper installation is critical to make doors go up and down smoothly. If you’re installing a new door and selecting a new opener or looking to replace and older model, size matters. There are three common sizes: 1/3 HP 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP.
- The 1/3 HP model is considered the standard for residential installations
- The 1/2 HP option is ideal for most garage doors, including the heavier, bulkier ones because the additional power means less stress on the motor, chain or belt.
- The 3/4 HP garage door openers provide enough power to handle heavy, wide doors or in special circumstance as when wind is an issue
There are two common types of electric door openers: chain-drive and belt-drive models.
- CHAIN-DRIVE —considered the most affordable with versions to accommodate most residential needs. They are the noisiest of the available door openers. Ideal for heavy doors, including over-sized doors, one-piece wooden doors, wind-rated doors and heavily insulated doors. Some versions come with, or can be equipped with separators between the chain and track to dampen and reduce noise.
- BELT-DRIVE –uses a rubber and steel notched belt to move the opener up and down. They are said to last longer with less maintenance but their primary claim is reducing noise. Initial cost is often higher than chain-drive models in the same size.
Routine garage door maintenance has to include a review of the opener’s operation. Less than acceptable performance, whether from damage or poor installation, can result in:
- A damaged door
- A damaged opener, components and parts
- Excessive wear on all the connected parts – door, springs, belt/chain
Safety features designed to protect people, pets and possessions are mandated by law. They are a vital part of a maintenance checklist:
- Check the electric eyes that control the auto-reverse safety system to be sure they are aligned properly – the law says they must be mounted six inches from the bottom of the garage door.
- Perform a monthly safety reverse test by deliberately interrupting the beam of infrared light while closing the door. The door should stop within seconds and reverse its motion.
- Lubricate the moving parts of chain and tracks regularly with a good lubricant – not grease that can dry out or WD-40.
- Check and adjust the opener’s sensitivity setting three or four times a year.
Recommended sensitivity settings can be found in your owners’ manual – go online if you’ve misplaced your original copy.
- Sensitivity changes with weather – temperature and humidity – during a typical winter the system gets stiffer and requires a heavier force to move the door efficiently. A winter setting may be 35 pounds. A normal summer setting may be 25 pounds.
- Check and replace the batteries in your remote opener controls and your keyless entry pad.
Assign Garage Door Maintenance to Professionals
The garage door is vital in today’s world. When you need a replacement or repair, give Country Door Systems a call for expert advice on garage door maintenance, replacement garage doors, garage door openers and all related accessories.
Call Country Door Systemsat 608-752-9537 for the most complete selection of garage doors and professional garage door maintenance in Janesville WI and surrounding areas.