When you’re in the market for a garage door, the primary concerns may be cost and how well it will accent the rest of your home. However, as the old saying goes, there’s more to such a decision than what meets the eye. Bottom line? A garage door essentially is machinery that requires regular maintenance in order to perform safely. Following a few simple guidelines can not only extend the lifespan of the door, but it can also protect you and your loved ones from serious injury.
Follow these 7 tips to ensure that your garage door is operating safely, including several provided by the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association International:
1. Consult the manual. Regardless of what type of door you have, keep the owner’s manuals for your door and opener hanging near the door for easy reference. Know where your manual is and refer to it before attempting any repair or maintenance. When in doubt, call a professional.
2. Replace old springs. Springs are arguably the most important and most dangerous part of your door. Over time, they wear out and can potentially break. If you have an older garage door, have your springs inspected by a professional technician and replaced if needed.
3. Check your cables. Visually inspect the cables that attach the spring system to the bottom brackets on both sides of the door. If these cables are frayed or worn, they are in danger of breaking, which can cause injury. Due to the dangers associated with high spring tension, these cables should be replaced only by a trained technician.
4. Install a safety cable. If your garage door has extension springs, you need a safety cable that runs through the spring and secures to the wall or ceiling at each end. If you already have one, make sure that it’s in operating condition. When your garage door is down, extension springs are under high tension. If the spring breaks, it may cause injury. A safety cable can keep that broken spring contained.
5. Use some lube. Noisy, squeaking springs can caused by normal use and does not necessarily indicate a problem. Before calling a professional service technician, use a spray-on lubricant. If the noise persists, call a professional garage door installer for service.
6. Watch your fingers. Every year, far too many homeowners injure their fingers by placing them between the door sections to pull down on the door. If your door lacks pinch-resistant joints, you should have lift handles or suitable gripping points on the inside and outside of the door. Even if your door has an opener, the door must occasionally be operated manually. Never place your fingers between the door sections when it is moving up or down.
7. Schedule regular service. Your garage door is probably the largest moving part in your home and is typically used every day. Over time, parts can wear out and break, creating potential safety problems. Develop the habit of checking springs and cables regularly. Routine visits from a trained door systems technician can keep your door operating safely and smoothly for a long time.