Taking care of your garage door is important. It’s big. It’s heavy. If it or one of its components are starting to fail, it can have serious consequences from damaging your car and the things you keep in your garage to causing injuries – even fatal injuries. Here are 5 do-it-yourself monthly checks to help insure your garage door is operating safely.
1. Give the Door a Monthly Once-Over Very Carefully. Shut the garage door and do a comprehensive visual inspection. Look for obvious signs of wear. Check for rust and frayed cables. Check all mounting hardware to make sure it is tight and secure. Are the rails straight and aligned? Open and close the door a couple of times. If something doesn’t sound right or if you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, call for a professional inspection. Remember, the cables and springs of your garage door are under high tension. Repairs should only be done by someone with the right expertise and the right tools.
2. Test the Door’s Balance. Disconnect the door from the automatic system. Open the door manually. It should rise smoothly. When left is a half-open position, it should stay in that position. If it doesn’t, it’s time to call that pro.
3. Does the Auto Reverse Work? This feature is so important that it has been mandated by law since the early 1990s. If your garage door strikes something, it must reverse automatically. Forget using a wood block to test this feature. Use a roll of paper towel as that more closely approximates the soft body of a pet or child. If your garage door doesn’t pass this test, get it fixed immediately.
4. Keep those Eyes Open Wide! Since 1993, garage door systems have been required to have the automatic reversing function and a photo eye or edge sensor as an added safety feature. Check out the photo eyes. Start with an open garage door and by inspecting the photo eyes. If they are dirty, gently clean them with a soft cloth. Next, check that they are in alignment – if necessary, gently maneuver them back into position. “Tell” the door to close and use a long object – like a broom handle – to interrupt the signal between the photo eyes. Wave it back and forth. The door should reverse. If it doesn’t pull your broom handle out before the door closes on it and call for help for a garage maintenance company.
5. One More Safety Check. Do this one carefully and give yourself plenty of time to pull your hand out of danger. Using your automatic opener, open the door. Now, use the opener to close it. Before the door closes, reach out and “hold” the bottom of the door with stiff hands. It should reverse immediately. If it doesn’t, it hasn’t passed the force setting test and, again, call for help.
Inspect your garage monthly and run all the basic safety checks on a monthly basis. At least once a year – more often if your garage door is older or you think there might be a problem – have a licensed garage door repair, maintenance and replacement company give your garage a complete inspection. Your garage door is big, heavy and important. Treat it with respect and give it the monthly and yearly checkups that will keep everyone safe!