Taking care of your garage door system involves simple regular maintenance such as lubricating moving parts and making sure your doors open and close smoothly. Some important steps can often be overlooked, and these can affect everything from preventing weather damage to your garage to preventing safety risks. Here are four ways to keep your doors in good shape.
Your garage door's springs carry most of the weight of your doors, so it's important to make sure they're in good shape. A good door spring can last almost a decade, and making sure they're regularly inspected to catch problems early is a good way to make them last longer.
Springs can be dangerous to work with because of the amount of tension they hold, but a visual inspection can help find many problems. Look for signs of rust, damage, or sagging; if your springs look like they're starting to weaken, they'll lose their ability to help open and close your garage door smoothly, which can be a safety hazard and cause strain to your garage door opener.
One way you can test your springs physically is by disconnecting your door from the opener, then opening it about midway. If your springs are in good shape, the door should remain there by itself. If it doesn't, contact a technician for help.
Weatherstripping is responsible for keeping the elements out of your garage, but it can quickly lose its effectiveness over time due to wear and exposure. Your weatherstripping may need to be replaced every few years depending on the climate where you live, and failing weatherstripping can let in water, which can potentially cause damage.
Carefully inspect your weatherstripping on all sides and make sure there is no flaking, cracking, drying, or sections of weatherstripping falling away from the door. You can also simply look at your doors from the inside with all the lights off; look for any light visible around the edges of your doors, and see if you can feel any wind. If your weatherstripping shows signs of deterioration, have it replaced quickly.
Physical Damage Inspection
Garage doors are sturdy, but can still be damaged over time by the weather, toys, or accidental collisions. This damage might not always be immediately visible, so take some time to give your doors a thorough inspection.
First, check near the bottom and sides of your door near where the weatherstripping is installed. If the weatherstripping has failed, water may be able to seep inside your doors and damage them from the inside. This is more of a risk with materials like wood, which are more susceptible to rot.
Next, check for any signs of warping or imbalance. Your doors should open and close smoothly without rattling or making much noise. If its movement isn't smooth, or your door looks crooked, you may need to have your tracks realigned, or your door itself may need repair.
Finally, if you have sectional doors, make sure every panel's hinges are tight and secure and that there aren't any gaps between the panels when the door is closed.
Safety Feature Test
Garage door openers have a few safety features built in to prevent your doors from closing down on top of things they shouldn't. For example, your garage door should not close if the sensors detect something in the path of the door, and the door should also automatically reverse if it touches something before it's completely closed.
First, place an object between the sensors, then see if your garage door will close. If it starts to close anyway, your sensors might need cleaning or adjusting.
Second, without blocking the sensors, put something in the path of the door, such as a box or piece of wood, then attempt to close the door. The door should reverse immediately upon touching the object; if it doesn't, your safety settings need immediate adjustment to prevent damage or injury.