10 Questions to Ask When Your Garage Door Spring Breaks
A smoothly functioning garage door is crucial to the overall upkeep of your house. It’s something you use every day. You might park your car in the garage, or you might keep power tools, a lawnmower or bicycles in it. To get all of these items in and out of the garage safely and efficiently, you need access to a properly functioning garage door.
If the garage door is broken or damaged, it can affect the feeling of the entire house. It’s not only an inconvenience, but it can also make your entire house feel less sophisticated and less functional. If you happen to be trying to sell your house, this can seem like a major detraction. Even if you’re only having guests over, you may feel as though you’re doing less than putting your best foot forward by having a broken garage door.
There are lots of ways your garage door can suffer damage. The tracking might be rusted or broken, the weatherstripping might need to be replaced or the door itself might actually be broken or have a hole in it. After all, garage doors are sturdy but not unbreakable. One component of your garage door in particular that will likely need replacing every so often is the spring.
This small component is crucial to your door’s operation. If it breaks, your door will not operate. Even if this piece doesn’t break, it’s a good idea to get it replaced every so often to ensure the continued wellbeing and smooth operation of your garage door.
1. What Is a Garage Door Spring?
A garage door spring is a tiny but critical part of your door’s opening mechanism. It takes the torque of the garage door and makes it easier to lift and open. Without this spring, the door would be much harder — sometimes even impossible — to lift.
Even though most of us are likely used to seeing this small spring in place on our garage door, we don’t often think too much about it, and we simply count on it working when we need it to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced. It’s best to be proactive and notice when it begins to look worn down before it actually breaks. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to open the garage door to drive to work one morning, only to find that the door won’t open because the spring is broken.
2. Is My Garage Door Spring Broken?
So your garage door is acting up, but you aren’t sure what the problem is. Maybe the door spring is one possible culprit, but you’re not sure if that’s actually the problem or if it’s something else. In this quick list, we’ll go through the most common broken garage door spring symptoms. If your garage door is exhibiting one or a few of these symptoms, there’s a good chance it’s broken and needs replacing.
Door Cables Seem to Be Broken
This is one of the first things most homeowners notice about a broken spring — the door cables will become disconnected and fly every which way if the spring is no longer working. The cables themselves are fine. They just need a working spring to be able to function properly.
Does your garage door seem to open just fine for a few inches, but then it stops and refuses to go any farther? This is a safety feature of many garage doors. It prevents the door from being opened when the springs are broken.
You Hear a Loud Noise in the Garage
Homeowners might hear a loud sound in their garage and think someone is trying to break in. But they look in the garage and find no one there. In reality, the sound was most likely made by door spring unwinding and creating a crashing sound in the door mechanism.
There’s a Gap in Your Torsion Spring
This is the most definite way of determining if your spring is broken. Look for a gap of a few inches in the middle of your torsion spring.
The Top of the Garage Door Is Bent
Some types of garage doors will bend at the top if you try to open them with a broken spring. This is due to the immense weight the mechanism is now trying to lift without the aid of the spring.
The Garage Door Falls Fast When Shutting
As we mentioned, the garage door is a huge amount of weight. Without the spring to help carry the load, it’s difficult for the mechanism to let the door down gently. Instead, it will just drop the door in place with a very sudden motion.
The Garage Door Can’t Be Lifted With the Emergency Rope
Your garage door should have a red emergency rope hanging from the opening mechanism. If you pull on this and the door fails to open, your spring is most likely broken.
Garage Door Movements Are Jerky
If this happens, you might have only one spring broken in a two-spring system. This means the mechanism is still strong enough to lift the door but not strong enough to do it smoothly.
Garage Door Is Crooked When It Moves
If the spring on one side of the garage door is broken, this might cause the door to become crooked as it moves up and down on its track.
The Cable Is Hanging Down
When the spring breaks, the entire system is thrown out of sync. The pulleys and cables might become loose and be left hanging down from the ceiling.
3. Why Do Garage Door Springs Break?
As you can tell, even though you might not always see a broken spring, the symptoms of it are clear and distinct as long as you know what to look for. But why do garage door springs break in the first place? Is a broken spring a rare occasion, caused only by a specific incident, or is it a common occurrence that happens gradually over time?
As you might guess, it can be both. Let’s go over a few common causes of broken garage door springs now.
Garage door springs are made of metal, meaning they’re susceptible to rust. If any rust develops in the spring, its lifespan can be cut short by years. Rust weakens the coiled spring and also increases the amount of friction, causing it to wear faster.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix to this problem. Spray the spring with some WD-40 a few times every year to prevent rust from gaining a foothold on the spring.
Garage door springs don’t require extensive care and maintenance. However, they also can’t be left entirely to their own devices. Spraying the springs with WD-40 is a good place to start. It’s also a good idea to check the balance of the garage door every year. To do this, simply lift the garage door up about halfway and let go. If the springs are in good working condition, the door should remain still. If the springs are beginning to weaken, the door might sag or fall. By taking these basic steps, you can preserve your door springs for longer.
Everyone wants to save money. Unfortunately, there are some areas you just can’t skimp on. This includes garage door springs. As much as it might be tempting to by smaller or cheaper springs, or maybe to buy one spring where two are needed, these attempts to save money will only end up costing more money in the end. When you buy the proper springs, they’ll last for years. When you cut corners to save money, the springs will wear out faster, meaning they’ll need to be replaced much sooner.
While it would be wonderful if door springs lasted forever, the reality is that the simple act of opening and shutting the door multiple times every day isn’t easy. It’s hard on the springs, even though they’re built to do it. Most springs will last for a while, but they won’t last forever. The regular wear and tear of endlessly opening and shutting the door breaks them down and eventually, they’ll need to be replaced.
4. Why Do Garage Door Springs Break in the Winter?
Although garage door springs can break during any season and at any time, they most commonly break during the winter. This has to do with the temperature change. When the temperature sinks below a specific threshold, the metal will contract. This means it’s extremely possible for your door springs to shrink slightly during the winter months. This is hard on the springs and makes them more likely to break.
While it isn’t possible to prevent this from happening, it is possible to lessen the problem by applying plenty of oil to the springs.
5. How Often Should Your Replace Your Garage Door Springs?
The simplest answer is that your garage door springs should be replaced as often as they need it. Even if your door continues to open and shut with a broken spring, it’s highly inadvisable to continue operating the door this way. It’s best to just replace the springs and save yourself potential headaches later on.
It’s difficult to say how often the springs will need to be replaced since it’s different for everyone. It depends on how often you use your garage door, how cold and long your winters are, how well you maintain your springs and many other factors. The best rule of the thumb is to check your springs regularly for signs of wear and damage and to replace them when they begin to appear tired.
6. How to Choose a Garage Door Spring
There are two primary types of garage door springs — extension and torsion. Both are reliable, excellent designs, but they’re designed for different types of garages. By understanding what type of garage you have and what type of spring is best suited to this type of garage, you can ensure the best success with your new spring.
A few general characteristics of the extensions spring are:
- They attach to the sides of the door and extend horizontally across the door.
- They’re easily installable.
- They’re best for the standard overhead garage door or a single-car garage.
A few general characteristics of the torsion spring are:
- They’re wound springs that attach to the top of the door.
- They don’t expand and contract as the door moves.
- They offer smoother movement and can lift heavier weights.
- They’re difficult to install.
- They’re common in two-car garages.
When you decide it’s time to replace your garage door spring, you will almost certainly replace it with one of these two options. If you’re uncertain of which type is right for your garage, consider what kind of garage you have.
If you have a single-car garage, an extension spring will do the job. If you’re looking for a smoother motion and an ability to lift heavier doors, you may be better off selecting the torsion spring option. And if you have a two-car garage, your door will likely be too heavy for an extension spring. In this case, the torsion spring is the better choice.
7. How Much Does A New Garage Door Spring Cost?
This is likely one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself after you realize you need to replace your door spring. The answer is that it depends. Extension springs and torsion springs are priced differently, so it depends on which type of spring you’re interested in buying.
Extension springs tend to be less expensive. This makes them a great option if you only have a single car garage and you’re operating on a tight budget. A typical extension spring can cost anywhere between $20 and $30.
Torsion springs will cost slightly more than extension springs. And while this greater price tag may look intimidating at first, it will pay off as you enjoy the smooth action and impressive strength of this model for years to come. A good torsion spring will typically cost somewhere between $65 and $100.
No matter how tight your budget is, these prices are worth it. The risks associated with continuing to use a faulty garage door are numerous, ranging from life-threatening danger if the door fails when someone is standing under it to annoying when you can’t get the car out of the garage and you’re supposed to be somewhere in ten minutes.
8. How Can I Maintain My Garage Door Springs To Extend Their Lifespan?
While replacing your garage door springs eventually is inevitable, there are certain steps you can take that will extend your springs’ lifespan. We’ve already mentioned a few of these techniques, but we’ll list them all here for your convenience.
Your garage door springs should be cleaned at least twice every year. While you can certainly clean them more than this if you want, you shouldn’t clean them any less than this. This doesn’t have to be an extensive process. A simple cleaning and lubricating are all it takes to keep your springs working well and slow the eventual wear and tear.
We’ve discussed the way rust can shorten a spring’s lifespan. A rusty spring will have months and even years shaved off its life simply because of the way the rust eats away at the metal. It’s easy enough to stave off the rust, however, by giving your springs a quick spray with WD-40.
One of the best ways to care for your springs is to check them over for wear. You can certainly look at them for damage, but sometimes the damage isn’t something that’s visible. In these cases, try lifting the garage door up from the ground. About halfway up, let go. If the door stays, the springs are still working perfectly. If the door sags or drops at all, this could be a sign that your springs are beginning to weaken and will need replacing soon.
9. Should I Replace My Garage Door Spring by Myself?
This is a very important question. When it comes to replacing parts in machines or around the house, many people want to try to do it themselves. They like the idea of saving money, and they like the industrious feeling of accomplishing things with their own two hands.
However, we strongly recommend against doing this. Replacing garage door springs is a difficult job. It’s not the kind of job where you can read a few instructions, gather a few tools and knock it out in an hour. It takes trained professionals to do this job correctly.
The three biggest reasons why this is a job for professionals are:
Because you’re working with a heavy garage door, there’s a high level of risk involved and the potential that you and anyone who happens to be working with you will be injured. These injuries could range from being hurt by a falling door to having your fingers crushed in a tightly coiled metal spring.
In addition to the bodily risk involved, it’s simply not an easy task. There’s the possibility that you will not install it correctly. At worst, this creates the risk that the mechanism will fail at the wrong time and injure you or someone in your family. At best, this means it will malfunction, and you’ll have to call professionals to fix it. It will save time, money and potential heartache to simply call a professional to install your new door springs correctly the first time.
Many jobs around the house are fairly easy fixes. It’s relatively easy to clean out your fireplace, clean the leaves from the gutters or repaint a wall. It’s a different thing to replace your garage door spring. It’s careful work that is almost impossible to do correctly the first time. Garage door professionals spend a great deal of time learning how to do it properly, and even the most detailed instructions won’t make you an expert in the span of a few hours. It can be almost infuriatingly annoying at times and is simply better left to professionals.
10. Who Can I Contact to Get My Garage Door Springs Repaired or Replaced?
There’s never a convenient time for your garage door springs to break. When this crucial component gives out, you need a repair job or replacement as soon as possible. That’s why Marvin’s Garage Doors is available 24/7 for emergency service. When that emergency arises, or you’re stuck in your garage and unable to get out to get to work, simply give us a call on our emergency line at 336-813-2601.
At Marvin’s Garage Door, we’ve had years of experience in fixing and replacing broken garage door springs. We know how to get the job done in a timely, efficient and safe manner so you can get back to your regular routine with as little headache as possible.
Our services aren’t just limited to garage door springs, either. We offer a full range of services including garage door purchase, installation and repairs. Contact us online anytime to request a particular service or check out our showrooms in Wilkesboro and Winston-Salem.
Should I Repair or Replace My Garage Door?
For those of us who are homeowners, we know that home values are important. Whether you plan on staying in your home for another 20 years or you are looking to sell in the near future, it is crucial that you consider the resale value of your home whenever you do repairs or improvements.
The garage door is no exception.
Luckily, your garage door is a pretty sound investment. According to Garage Wow Now, garage doors were ranked in the top three for home improvements whose costs are recouped through increased home value. Similarly, realtors regularly increased the list price of a home with a new garage door by 1 to 4 percent! That means, if you spend $2000 on a new garage door, you can increase the value of your home by almost $8000 if you have a $200,000 home. Furthermore, compared with the other two highest rated improvements — siding replacement and deck installation — a garage door replacement is far more affordable.
However, while garages are a great investment, they unfortunately break. Either they no longer track correctly, behave erratically, are difficult to lift or are damaged by a vehicle or inclement weather. Homeowners are therefore regularly left with the question, “Do I repair or replace my garage door?”
Luckily, there is a bit of science to questions of garage door repair and replacement. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on when to replace a garage door. We’ll prepare you to compare repair vs replacement garage door costs. We’ll discuss the ways in which repairs are the most affordable option while also exploring those moments when replacement will in the end provide you with more value added.
Either way, we want you to be happy with your garage door. We know that it is in an important element of the modern home. So without any further ado, here is your comprehensive guide for those asking, “Should I replace my garage door?”
The Importance of Hiring a Professional
Before we get to the question of repairing or replacing your garage door, it is important that you understand how important professional help is, regardless of which direction you choose.
To begin with, any home improvement is ultimately about improving the value of your home. Whether you are adding a deck, putting on a new coat of paint or updating your garage door, you don’t want to do anything that might minimize your return on investment.
Garage doors are more complicated than new gutters. They influence the beauty, functionality and security of your home. They integrate powerful motors and delicate electrical systems. And they are only as useful as they are reliable.
You may be able to make a repair on your own, but if that repair is subpar in any way, all of the interacting systems will likely break down in the future, leading to even more costly repairs or replacements.
However, most importantly, do-it-yourself garage door repairs are dangerous.
First and foremost, a garage door, by design, contains springs designed to balance your door and make it easier to lift. Those springs are under incredible amounts of tension. If a spring breaks or is improperly released, it can cause incredible and potentially fatal injuries. Keep in mind, when working on a garage door spring, it is likely that your face and head will be close to it, meaning that your most sensitive area will be in the direct path of the released spring.
However, in addition to potentially causing injuries to the under-prepared DIYer, a malfunctioning door can become a safety hazard to you and your family. Keep in mind, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), over 13000 people checked into hospitals with garage related injuries in the United States in 2007. You don’t want to turn a loved one into a statistic just to save a few dollars!
So, while you may feel like a certain repair is no big deal, especially with a YouTube video as a guide, we urge you to reconsider. Even if you think your repairs have been completed without issue, you may find you are the cause of significant problems further down the road.
Common Problems That Can Be Fixed
So what has caused you to ask yourself, do I need a new garage door? There are a number of issues that are common for garage door owners and that are repairable if a professional is consulted. Let’s explore a few of them.
- The Door Suddenly Stops Working:
You might think that if you wake up one morning and your garage door doesn’t work, that it is dead and you’ll have to brace yourself for a complete replacement.
Interestingly, sudden break downs are usually easier to fix. That’s because the problem is usually isolated. Because it’s sudden, you haven’t been mis-using your door for years, causing irreparable damage.
First and foremost, always check the remote batteries before you call anyone. Sometimes in the stress of an early morning commute with a non-functioning garage door, even the most mindful homeowner will forget to check the batteries and then feel the embarrassment of knowing that the only thing wrong was a couple dead AAs.
However, if you are confident that you don’t just need new batteries, make sure to call a professional. A service person with a lot of experience will be able to look at the problem and quickly diagnose the issue, saving you precious time. Again, while you may be able to save money in the short term by taking a day off and troubleshooting the problem yourself, the amount of energy and time lost as you search out the issue will quickly surpass the cost of a professional repair.
- The Door Seems Heavy:
As we’ve mentioned before, springs are installed within your garage lift mechanism in order to help lift the door. Because doors are so heavy, the lift motor would undergo far more significant wear and tear if it had to lift the full weight of the door every time you opened it. Furthermore, in order to ensure that you can open your door even if you lose power in your home, springs allow you to lift the door by hand when the motor is disengaged.
If your door feels heavy, it is likely that your springs have started to wear down and are no longer capable of bearing the weight that they once did. Now, don’t worry, just because a spring is starting to lose its strength doesn’t mean it will snap at any moment. However, simultaneously, a weak spring isn’t any safer to try and repair on your own.
Luckily, a worn spring is generally a quick and affordable fix. A repair person will come and replace your springs — always making sure to replace both simultaneously to maintain balance in your door — and soon be on their way.
You’d be surprised at how much new springs will change the feel of your door.
- A Single Panel is Damaged:
If you do have physical damage to your door, regardless of the cause, you want to get it repaired quickly if you want the repair to be cost-effective.
The key is to repair a damaged panel when the damage is limited to just that single panel. Most factory manufactured doors also supply individual panels to service dealers, so swapping out a panel is a pretty painless fix.
However, like a rusty spot on a car, if you ignore a small issue for long enough, it will spread and completely change the equation for repair costs. Once you are replacing more than a couple panels, it isn’t any cheaper than replacing the whole door.
So if you do dent your door backing out of your driveway or because your child is learning how to throw fastpitch, make sure that you address the issue immediately if you want to avoid a total replacement.
- Your Garage Door is Sagging:
When your door is closed only half way, does it look like one side is lower than the other? That’s the tell-tale sign of an imbalanced garage door. While it might just look funny, it is also a sign that your door is putting increased wear and tear on the lifting mechanism.
Think about the importance of having balanced tires on your car. If one tire is more worn than the rest, your car won’t work as efficiently. Simultaneously, certain parts of your car will bear the brunt of that increased wear more than others. That’s why it’s so important to rotate your tires regularly.
The same is true of garage doors. If one side of your door is sagging, it is likely that only one spring has begun to wear. That means that one side of your door is heavier than the other, putting uneven stress on your lift motor.
Luckily, rebalancing your door is a simple fix and requires a similar procedure to replacing your springs. By replacing both springs and then rehanging your door, a service person will restore the important balance of your door and ensure that it will wear evenly moving forward.
Signs It’s Time for a Replacement
Now that we’ve discussed some common and reasonably affordable repairs, let’s look at some the issues that commonly lead to homeowners replacing their entire garage door.
- Your Garage Door Hasn’t Run Properly for a While:
While a sudden issue is usually easily repaired, a consistent issue that has gone unaddressed for months or years will likely require a total replacement. The problem is that garage doors have a number of heavy, powerful moving parts. If the door is working as it is designed, it can open and close hundreds and hundreds of times without issues. However, if there is even a small issue in the lifting mechanism that repeatedly influences the movement of the door, you will soon find that the damage caused over those hundreds of lifts can’t be fixed.
- Your Garage Door is Severely Damaged:
At a certain point, the cost of repairing portions of a damaged door end up costing more than replacing the whole thing. This has become increasingly the case as the costs of garage door fabrication have lowered. Like so many things in life, replacement parts just don’t make as much sense in many instances as a total replacement.
This is especially true if your door has been damaged by inclement weather. While an errant hockey puck usually causes isolated damage, a fallen tree limb is likely to spread damage across a number of separate door panels.
Keep in mind, if you have experienced damage, you want to fix it quickly as you can, as a damaged door will also be unbalanced and thus cause further issues on the tracking mechanism and motor. A brand new door is still more affordable than an entire new door system.
- Your Door is Old:
Remember, the real value of a garage door is the curb appeal. Those searching for their dream home will be looking at the details, and one of the most obvious and eye-catching details is the garage door.
While a new coat of paint can go a long way in improving the look of your garage door, the truth is that door design has come a long way in the years since garages were first installed in homes. Not only are newer doors more in line with current fashion trends, but they are also better sized for today’s cars. A new, contemporary door is a great way to get an immediate boost on the value of your home.
Furthermore, newer doors come with more improved security features, helping to improve the way you protect your home and loved ones. While older doors are easy to break into, whether through breaking the lift mechanism or even using a universal garage door remote, new doors come with many redundant security features, which will go a long way in deterring even the most ingenious burglar.
- You’ve Had a Break In:
Unfortunately, even newer doors are sometimes bypassed by thieves. Maybe the burglar figured out the pin code for manually opening the door. Maybe they found a way to disengage the motor and were able to open your door by hand. Either way, it is unsettling when someone uninvited enters your home and sanctuary.
While you can certainly redo any security features on your garage door, it is often wise to replace the entire door if in fact that is the way a burglar gained access to your house. A new security code may seem like enough, but you don’t know how the thief figured out the old code in the first place. If the motor was disengaged, the issue might be a design flaw in the door itself. The best way to ensure that the thief doesn’t return or another thief doesn’t take advantage of the same unknown security weakness is to install a new door. Again, doing so with give you access to the kinds of robust security features that are being installed and implemented in the newest garage doors on the market.
- Your Door is Sapping Energy:
There’s another reason new doors are superior to old ones: energy efficiency. Keep in mind, garage doors are large, and when they open, they let a lot of outside air into your home. While you may have significant insulation separating your garage from the rest of your home, eventually that temperature differential will start to influence your energy bills.
While you may be able to increase efficiency by replacing the weather stripping at the bottom of an old garage door, the kind of insulation and energy efficient materials used in today’s new doors will make a drastic improvement on your garage’s energy efficiency. Just like the way a new garage door recoups its costs in increased home value, a new door will also quickly pay for itself in energy savings!
- Your Door Lacks Child Safety Features:
Finally, one of the most important garage door innovations over the years in increased child safety features. Sensors can detect when a child or pet is crossing the threshold while the door is closing, prompting it to stop immediately. Furthermore, doors can also sense when something is being pressed by the door, causing it to stop before inflicting a brutal crushing injury.
While many of these features can be installed after-market on older doors, others are not cost-effective when retrofitted. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your door comes complete with all of the latest child safety features is to install a new door.
Remember, garage door injuries are significant and more common than we would like to imagine. Isn’t your family worth the investment?
Choosing the Right Repair or Replacement Service
At the end of the day, a garage door is only as good as its installation. So if you are ready to start exploring your repair or replacement options in the Winston Salem, Wilkesboro, Boone, East Bend or anywhere else in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, look no further than Marvin’s Garage Doors.
Since 1970, we have been working hard to keep our family-owned and family first approach front and center in our business. While being a family keeps us happy, it also benefits you. We are invested in these communities. We are known by name. And we’re not about to tarnish our name through shoddy work.
We also have a wide range of expertise repairing and installing both residential and commercial doors, meaning we can tackle any problem, large or small. We carry a wide range of doors from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Clopay, so you can make the choice that makes the most sense for your home and family while feeling confident that you are getting a door of the highest quality.
We offer industry leading service performed by the best licensed professionals in the region. Whether you need springs replaced, a motor repaired or need a new panel on your door, our service workers will get the job done efficiently and effectively, ensuring that your door is back in working order as soon as possible. We also offer a wonderful preventative maintenance program. This is a cost effective way to ensure that you avoid future problems by having the small, unnoticed issues addressed right away.
Finally, we also carry any and every residential garage door product that you need to have a state-of-the-art, secure and safe garage door. We are proud certified dealers of Clopay doors, the most durable and versatile doors on the market. With over fifty years of garage door manufacturing experience, you can trust Clopay quality, just as you can trust our team to install these highest-quality doors.
We are proud of the work we do in Northwestern North Carolina. We love this community and we love serving it. So whether you think you need a small repair or a major overhaul, we want to be the team that helps you increase the value of your home while making it a safer place to live for you and your family. Our professional and friendly sales team are eager to connect with you, so contact us today and find out just how we can ease your concerns and make transform your garage!
Garage Door Safety Tips
For homeowners across the United States, garages are a wonderful convenience. When a winter storm hits, you don’t have to worry about digging out your car. When you have a heavy load to carry inside, you don’t have carry it across the street or across the lawn.
No wonder so many American’s have garages. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, 66% of American homes include a garage.
As Americans increase the number of cars that they own, the popularity of garages is only set to increase.
However, for all of their benefits, the truth is garages can be dangerous. In fact, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are around 30,000 injuries a year caused by garage doors. To make matters worse, an alarming number of these injuries were sustained by children. Unfortunately, because kids are often less aware of their surroundings, a descending garage door poses extra risk for little ones.
While no one can argue that the convenience of automatic garage doors make them a worthwhile investment, no benefit can outweigh the pain that comes from an injury sustained by a loved one. For families across the country, keeping loved ones safe is the number one priority.
Therefore, as garage door specialists, we want to be just as proactive about garage door safety as we are about garage door installation and design.
That’s why we’re putting together some of our best advice on garage door safety. From keeping dangerous components out of reach of children, getting your door regularly inspected, organizing your garage and installing a garage door safety sensor, we know that by doing a few small things, you can increase the safety of your garage exponentially.
Control the Remote
There is something oddly satisfying about moving a large garage door with the push of a button. Whether you’re in your car or working out in the yard, being able to click your garage door open is one of the heights of home convenience.
Considering how satisfying this is for adults, imagine how children must feel when harnessing such power. No wonder it’s so tempting to hand the door opener to a young kid in their car seat, giving them the chance to help Mom or Dad out as they park the car.
Unfortunately, turning control of the remote over to young children, even under supervision, isn’t a good idea. Kids get so much joy out of pressing the button when you’re around that they’re likely to be tempted to play with the remote even when you’re not around. That is something you definitely want to avoid.
Imagine a number of kids playing hide and seek. Suddenly, one kid realizes that by using the garage door opener, they could get quite an advantage. Unfortunately, while they may have only wanted to open the door to see if anyone was hiding behind it, they may accidentally press it twice, causing the door to close once again. At their age, the surprise of this unintended action might fluster them, making them drop the remote. Sadly, another younger, less aware kid might be playing directly under the door, and as it closes, may suffer a catastrophic injury.
While this is obviously a worst-case scenario, you never want to give children the opportunity to play with the remote while no one is around, nor do you want to give them the temptation to seek out the remote by allowing them to play with it while being supervised.
So keep your remote either locked in the car or stored out of reach of kids. Though your kid may be begging you to press the magic button from the back seat, resist the urge to pass it on, at least until they’re old enough to understand when to use the remote.
Get Familiar With Safety Features
Garage doors come installed with a number of safety features designed to make sure that neither kids nor adults are hurt by a garage door. However, many of these safety features may not be self-evident.
That’s why you want to make sure to spend some time getting yourself familiar with the safety features by studying the manual provided at the time of installation.
Most importantly, you want to make sure you’re confident with the door’s emergency release feature. This feature usually comes in the form of a ripcord, often with a red handle, which you can quickly pull to manually disengage the motor for the door. Not only is this important if something malfunctions, but it also allows you to open the door manually in the event that you lose power.
But don’t limit yourself to only knowing where the rip cord is. Make sure you know how your door is going to react when you pull it. In fact, many doors are easy to reengage once you’ve pulled to cord, so don’t be afraid to go through some dry runs in order to familiarize yourself with the way it works.
Never Walk Under a Door in Motion
Let’s say you have pulled your car out of the garage and you realize that you have left something inside. You run in, get what you need, and as you run back out, you press the door switch on the wall, planning to quickly duck under the door as it closes.
While many people do this regularly without experiencing any negative consequences, it is a very bad habit and should be avoided at all costs.
First of all, it only takes one mistake to end in tragedy. Perhaps there is a small puddle of oil on the garage floor. Maybe your shoe is untied. Even though 9 times out of 10, you easily make it out of the garage without mishap, one trip at an inopportune time could have terrible consequences.
Second, it sets a very bad example for kids, who may emulate you in the future. While you may be confident with making your escape, a young child, less able on their feet, may think it looks easy and then find out that it isn’t and suffer an injury in the process. Furthermore, while you may be able to exit the garage quickly, young kids are likely going to be slower making their exit, meaning the door will have descended further by the time they reach it.
Finally, you shouldn’t try to enter a door that is actively opening either. While this may seem safer, there are many features, such as safety motion sensors, that may become confused as you cross the threshold. While it is most likely that the door with simply stop half way up, if something more serious were to go wrong with the safety feature, you might find the door descending again, with the potential for serious injury.
Watch the Door While it is in Motion
When you’re opening or closing a door, make sure to keep an eye on it until it has completed its motion.
This has a number of benefits. First of all, it helps you make sure that children or pets aren’t running towards the door unnoticed. Second, it ensures that everything has worked properly, and that your door isn’t stuck in a half way position.
Give Your Door a Monthly Visual Inspection
You also want to make sure to give your entire garage door and lift mechanism a monthly inspection.
First, check the springs. Garage door springs are incredibly important, as they’re load-bearing, and need to be strong enough to lift the door and hold it so that it doesn’t fall down again. You’ll want to ask, are the springs rusted or do they look otherwise to be in poor condition?
Next, look at the door itself. Are there rusted or sharp edges that could pose a hazard to people or pets?
Finally, look at the rest of the pulley system and make sure that things are in good shape. If you have a lubricant, feel free to lubricate the moving parts. However, DO NOT attempt to adjust any of the parts on your own, especially the main springs. The main springs are under incredible tension, and should only be adjusted by a trained and licensed professional. A snapping garage door spring could cause a fatal injury, so leave it to those with experience.
Test the Reversing Mechanism
While you’re doing the monthly visual inspection, you should also do a monthly test of the reversing mechanism. Garage doors often have safety features that automatically cause the door to open if the closing process encounters an obstruction.
One of the best ways to test this mechanism is with a paper towel roll. Because a roll of paper towels is soft and isn’t strong enough to hold up a door, it is a great way to see if the door can detect an obstruction that doesn’t offer much resistance. Simply lay the roll in the threshold of the door and then close it. As it touches the roll, if the mechanism is functioning properly, it will begin to open again. The paper towel roll should not be overly damaged by the process.
Don’t Use Factory Standard Garage Door Opener Codes
Today, most garage door openers come with rolling-code technology, which changes the code regularly. This ensures that no one can steal your code and program another garage door opener to open your door.
However, if you do not have a garage door with this technology, you want to make sure that you don’t leave your garage door opener set with the factory installed codes.
Not only does using the factory codes open you up to thieves, but it can also cause an unsuspecting neighbor to be able to open and close you door unknowingly. This is especially likely if your home was built by the same contractor at the same time as your neighbor’s, meaning it’s equally likely that you both have the same garage door installed.
Use a Trained Professional to Perform Regular Maintenance
While you can accomplish a lot with a good visual inspection, at least once a year you want to turn the inspection over to a professional. This ensures that small things that may go unnoticed are addressed immediately.
Many garage door contractors offer regular maintenance programs, allowing you to receive regular professional inspections without needing to call every year. They also come with discounts designed to ensure that you’re saving money in the long run by making the important small repairs before they become something more serious and potentially dangerous.
By performing regular maintenance, you can rest assured that your door is in like-new condition, with any specific safety concerns addressed.
Install Garage Door Safety Sensors
While garage doors have reversing mechanisms, there are also safety sensors that automatically stop a door anytime anything crosses the threshold.
This is accomplished by installing laser eye sensors. On either side of the door, lenses search for a laser sent from the opposite side. If anything interrupts this laser, the sensors stop the door movement.
This is perfect if you have little kids who might chase a ball unsuspectingly into a garage while the door is in motion. As soon as that ball crosses the sensor, the door will stop.
While many doors come with these types of sensors standard, you can also buy them individually and have them installed. Just make sure to have a professional install them because they’re very sensitive, and if they’re installed improperly, you may find that your door regularly malfunctions.
Avoid Working on Electrical Components
Like any electrical system within your home, touching raw wires is extremely dangerous and should be left to a professional.
This is especially true of garage door openers. Because of the amount of electricity needed to operate a garage door, an accidental shock from the lifting mechanism could prove fatal.
So if you do feel there is an electrical issue, call a certified maintenance worker, and do not attempt to make repairs on your own.
Always Have a Dented Door Inspected
Those of us with teens know that occasionally cars run into things that we do not want them to run into. One of the most common fender benders that occur in home driveways is accidentally backing into the garage door.
While the dent on the door may seem small and the door may appear to be functioning properly, if you do dent the door make sure to at least have a professional come out and give it a quick inspection. While it is likely that you can continue to use your door as before — although you’ll have to deal with an eyesore — you don’t want something to break accidentally while the door is in motion.
You also want to make sure that your door is still aligned properly. While the immediate effects of a misaligned door may go unnoticed, the unusual wear that comes from misalignment can cause your door to malfunction well in the future.
Never Run Your Car With the Door Shut
While this has less to do with garage door safety, it is worth noting that you should never run your car, even for a minute, in an unopened garage. The carbon monoxide released through car exhaust is extremely toxic, odorless and can begin to poison humans quickly. This is especially true of smaller children, who would require a lower dose of carbon monoxide in order to feel its effects.
So even if it is cold out, make sure to open your garage door before you turn on your engine.
Keep Your Garage Organized
Again, this has less to do with garage door maintenance, but keeping your garage organized is an excellent way to avoid injury.
Many people keep hazardous chemicals — like those used in lawn maintenance equipment and in automobiles — in their garage. It is imperative that you keep these highly toxic chemicals out of reach of children. If you can’t keep them up on a shelf where kids cannot reach them, lock them up.
But you also want to be careful of things like sports equipment, which might cause someone to trip and fall, especially if the door is in motion. If you’re storing your roller hockey or baseball equipment in your garage, make sure that it has a designated space, so that you don’t trip on it accidentally.
Finally, make sure that you keep dangerous tools, like garden sheers or hedge trimmers, stored well away from where kids can find them. While you might assume kids have enough common sense to leave an electric hedge trimmer alone, unfortunately kids don’t always consider the consequences of playing with dangerous power tools.
One of the best ways to ensure all dangerous materials and equipment are properly stored and out of reach is to install storage furniture. Home improvement stores have a wide range of storage furniture at various price points, specially designed for garages. By giving everything its proper place, you will ensure that dangerous tools don’t become especially dangerous clutter.
Trust Your Garage Needs to Marvin’s Garage Doors
In the end, you want your garage door to be reliable, and that means finding a trustworthy contractor to partner with every step of the way. Whether you’re looking for a new door, searching for a maintenance program or simply looking to make some routine repairs, you can trust us at Marvin’s Garage Doors.
We offer a wide range of residential garage door products, each one expertly designed to coordinate with your personal tastes. Whether you’re looking for a durable painted door or a handsome wood grain look, we have the highest quality doors available. Additionally, our expert installation contractors have the experience to ensure that your door is installed properly the first time.
If you’re looking for a regular maintenance program, our industry leading preventative maintenance service is designed to make sure that your doors are always in perfect repair and operating smoothly and safely. This is the best way to ensure that your door won’t cause accidental injuries to loved ones while also extending the life of your doors.
If you find that you’re in need to emergency repairs, our 24 hour repair service will make sure that any issue is addressed quickly. Whether you have a safety emergency, a security issue or your door has been damaged by inclement weather, we will send someone out, rain or shine, to make sure that your door is working properly. Plus, as we also sell and install new doors. If your issue requires a replacement door, we can get a new one ordered and installed without delay.
So we hope that this guide has proven useful, especially as you seek to make your garage a safe place for you and your family. We know that garage doors are an important convenience, but ultimately, it’s the welfare of you and yours that matters most. Whether you’re looking to make an existing door safer or you’re looking for a new door that will improve the safety and functionality of your garage, you can trust Marvin’s Garage Doors to give you the courteous and professional service you deserve. So contact us today and discover all the ways we can transform your garage.
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