Perform simple safety and maintenance tests to maximize the efficiency of your garage door. Like most mechanical devices, your garage door and its operating system need to be properly adjusted and regularly maintained in order to function correctly. Some tasks are best left to trained service professionals (spring repair and replacement, track/roller repair and replacement, door installation), but there are several basic maintenance tasks you can perform yourself:
Monthly visual inspection. Stand inside your garage with the door closed. Look over the garage door’s springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware (such as hinges) for signs of wear, damage or fraying. Is the mounting hardware becoming loose? If something doesn’t look or sound right, it could be the symptom of a more serious issue.
Monthly door balance test. If your door is equipped with an automatic opener system, close the door and disconnect the automatic opener. Once you’re able to lift the door manually, it should lift smoothly with little resistance and remain fully open. If it’s difficult to open or doesn’t remain open, it may be out of balance and should be serviced by a professional.
Monthly reversing mechanism test. (Garage door openers manufactured after January 1993 are required by federal law to be equipped with a reversing mechanism to prevent entrapment. If your system doesn’t have this feature, consider replacing it with a new model.) With the garage door fully open, lay a piece of wood on the floor in the center of the opening where the door would touch the floor. Push your garage door opener’s transmitter (wall button) to close the door. When the door strikes the wood, it should automatically reverse. If it doesn’t, call a service technician.
Monthly photo eye test. (Garage door openers manufactured after January 1993 are required by federal law to be equipped with a photo eye or edge sensor to prevent entrapment. If your system doesn’t have this feature, consider replacing it with a new model.) With the garage door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter to close the door. Wave a broomstick or long object in front of one of the door’s photo eyes so it “breaks the beam.” The door should reverse and reopen. If it doesn’t, pull the broomstick out of the door’s path and let it close. With the door in the closed position, clean the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. Gently adjust the photo eyes by hand if they appear to be out of alignment. Open the door and repeat the test. If the door doesn’t reverse and reopen, call a service technician.
Monthly force setting test. With the garage door fully open, push your garage door opener’s transmitter to close the door. As the door is closing, hold up the bottom with your hands. If the door doesn’t easily reverse and continues to close, pull your hands away immediately. This type of closing force is excessive and the door should be serviced by a professional.
Semi-annual lubrication. Apply a small amount of spray lubricant to the door’s hinges, rollers and tracks.
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