Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to start spring cleaning, organizing and maintenance. On the top of your list should be garage door maintenance. Maintaining your garage door and garage door opener is one of the best ways to ensure they function properly all year long. Use these tips to get started.
Cleaning a Garage Door
Clean the outside of the garage door at least once a year. Use your hose to wet down the surface of your garage door, and then with a rag or sponge, gently scrub the door down with warm soapy water (one cup of dish soap to five gallons of warm water). Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry. For metal doors, you can apply a coat of wax, following the instructions on the wax’s packaging.
Inspecting a Garage Door
By visually inspecting the door each month, you’ll protect yourself from potentially expensive repairs down the road. To inspect the door, run it up and down its tracks, noting the movement and the presence of any unusual noises. You should also check the tracks, rollers, springs (torsion or extension), and cables to be sure they are securely fastened and functioning properly. If anything seems amiss, contact an expert.
Testing a Garage Door
Photo Eyes – The first thing you’ll want to test are the photo eyes (black devices). They should be mounted on both sides of the door, no higher than six inches off the floor. These devices prevent the door from closing should they spot an obstacle in its path. To test, block them with an object over six inches tall, and activate the garage door opener to close. The door should not be operational.
Door Balance – You can also test the functionality of your garage door on your own. Disconnect the opener by pulling on the release cord or lever. This puts it in manual mode. A properly balanced door will lift easily. If it difficult to lift or doesn’t stay in an open position, there could be a problem with the spring tension and you should contact a professional for repair.
Safety Reversal – A common method for testing this system involves placing a roll of paper towels or a 2×4 piece of wood in the center of the garage floor. If upon impact, the door fails to immediately reverse direction, the opener should be disconnected until repairs have been completed by a garage door professional. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends testing this system monthly.
Hiring a Professional
Though these are some simple steps you can take on your own to keep your garage door operating smoothly and safely, nothing can take the place of a preventative, ongoing maintenance schedule from a garage door professional. A garage door professional will adjust springs and cables, lubricate moving parts, tighten all hardware, tracks and hinges, test the safety sensors and reversal, as well as troubleshoot other issues.