It’s interesting how invisible doors can become when we pass through so many over the course of a day. Garage doors are no exception. As large and heavy as they are, and as critical as they may be to our homes, they tend to fall into the “ignore until broken” category. Unfortunately, this approach leads to major headaches when a door fails to open, fails to close, or, perhaps worst of all, comes crashing down on whatever lies beneath. These major failures, and the lesser problems we may encounter with varying degrees of frustration, can usually be avoided with scheduled maintenance and alert action when warning signs first appear. We at ADS stand ready to help.
So, just what are the warning signs? There’s a difference between a minor hick-up and a serious, didn’t-see-it-coming event that will mess up your day – or worse. Of course, one can eventually lead to the other, so you want to be alert to any signal your garage door may be sending you.
Some of the common ones that you should pay attention to:
- Heaviness or slowness in raising or lowering – A garage door with aging springs near the end of their tensile life will lose their “bounce” and begin to drag. Sometimes this is as simple as adjusting the tension on the springs; often, however, it can be a precursor of a major failure. A tired spring may have the look of a rubber band that’s lost its “snap.” When springs break, a lot of stored tension is released, and that will not only shut down any operation of the door but present a real and present danger to anyone attempting to solve the problem without the proper tools and training. NOTE: This is one instance where you should never attempt repairs on your own.
- Response to the remote is delayed or erratic – If the door doesn’t immediately and properly respond to a signal from your remote or keypad, there are a number of things that might be wrong. The obvious first place to look is at the batteries in your remote. If that doesn’t put things right, it is best to call for professional service.
- The door doesn’t close snuggly and smoothly – If the door bounces, comes down at an angle, or stutters to an awkward stop, that is not good news. Don’t ignore it. This will require professional adjustment and could prevent a major failure in the offing. It’s important to do regular inspections, watching the door open and close from both inside and out. Watch to make sure the weatherstripping seals to the cement floor. If you have drafts or cold air coming under the door, or rainwater pools inside the door, you know the seal is bad. And while you’re looking down, take a minute to make sure the laser beam and eye are working flawlessly. Use the remote to lower the door, and place an object across the beam’s path. It should abruptly reverse its descent.
- Don’t miss the obvious: parts that are loose, not lining up squarely, or physically damaged. When we pass by the same thing day after day, within the same routines, we tend to stop observing. A common response when our technicians point out the problem that prompted the call: “Gosh, I never saw that.” I know, we all get distracted and have our thoughts already “on the road” when leaving or “at the dinner table” when coming, but a minute or two of focused attention at least once a week can really pay off. Also, routine care such as waterproofing wood doors, repairing dry rot, sanding and patching peeling paint, and other surface treatments should not be delayed for long.
- Squeaks, squawks, scrapes, and grumbles – Sectional garage doors have a lot of moving parts, both seen and unseen. They’re all important, and when they break, slip out of line, or just wear out, bad things can happen. You can tell things are going south by the complaining noises your door makes. Like squealing belts in a car engine, these noises must be answered – with a call to your ADS specialist.
- Your door opener will have its say – Excessive chain noise, or grinding and loud humming from the motor are not normal. The tracks should be kept clean, and not bowed or crimped. While you can manually operate a sectional garage door in a pinch without the motorized opener, most people are a little lost without it. Don’t wait until then.
ADS strongly encourages annual tune-ups for your garage door. Like a doctor with a yearly check-up, this gives an important evaluation of the health of your door. Remember, maintaining your door adds to its longevity and can prevent potential damage to ceilings or frames. If you need an additional incentive, remind yourself: A little can save a lot.