Garage Door Maintenance

The extremes of winter add to the stress on your garage door opener. Repeated changes in temperature, snow, and ice are hard on electrical devices. Remote controls, motors and battery-operated systems don’t perform well in snow and ice. Snow and ice freeze heavy doors to the ground adding to the strain on motors and drive systems. Spring is the ideal time for opener maintenance to ensure safety and reliability into the new season.

When a garage door won’t move, there’s an obvious problem. However, nagging concerns leading up to a failure are difficult to recognize. A spring checkup begins by using your eyes and ears. Listen for new and unusual sounds. Watch for slower than normal response and operating speeds. After a visual check of the entire installation, take a closer look at the following:

All modern garage door opener installations must include electric eyes and auto-reverse systems. If anything blocks the electric light beam in this system, the door must stop. Federal law requires sensors 6 inches from the floor on each side of the garage door. Check these for obstructions and dirt on a regular basis all year long. Dirt, debris and snow will block the beam of light and stop the door.

If clearing the light’s path doesn’t solve the problem, check the wiring. The light-weight wires used for the connections become brittle in extreme cold and even the slightest knock can loosen or even break them.

Your garage door is the heaviest moving part in your home. Taking regular precautions to keep it working is worth the time and effort. An often overlooked and misunderstood performance factor is a door’s down-force. There is another law requiring the door to immediately stop and go back up when it hits something in its path. The amount of force required varies and changes. Controls for the amount of force the door must feel before reacting are on the main garage door opener unit.

Adjusting the force pressure three or four times a year is a routine part of opener maintenance. Changes in temperature and humidity affect how the system responds. Daily performance is linked to the weather.

The operator’s manual records the correct settings for your opener. That’s also where you’ll find instructions on how to make adjustments. If you have any doubt, give the pros at Midlothian Garage Doors a call.

All garage door panels get stiffer and react slower in cold weather. That means it takes more force to move them. If your garage door opener has a standard summer setting of 25 pounds, the setting for a cold winter is more like 35 pounds. Reducing the pressure in spring is a logical step.

When you have a new or replacement garage door installed, or torsion springs replaced, the installation technician will adjust the settings. But, those settings need your attention as the seasons progress.

A modern garage opener is also electric. Meaning there are connections to check immediately when operation fails. When you press the button on the wall or your remote and nothing happens you have four spots to check.

Obviously, check to be sure the main garage door opener is plugged in. Usually mounted on the garage ceiling, vibrations, and gravity cause connections to loosen. Make sure it is secure. If it is, check the circuit breaker assigned to it for a failure there, too.

The second checkpoint is the wiring between the main unit and the wall-mounted on/off switch. Just like the wires to the electric eyes, these connections can loosen or break in the cold.

The most common power failure is an easy fix: replacing batteries in remote units. Remotes in your vehicles are used several times a day and a keyless entry pad gets a workout, too. The keypad’s batteries are more likely to perform below expectations in the extreme cold because they’re the most exposed to the elements. Garage door opener pros suggest replacing batteries in all your remote units as regularly as you do for smoke detectors. Fresh batteries are a cheap way to avoid the frustrations of a garage door opener failure.

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