Inspecting and maintaining your garage door is critical for safety and extending the door’s life. You also ensure the door does not break down through garage door maintenance when you least expect it. For the best results, inspect your door annually and take care of its working parts. Most people enlist the help of a garage door installation and maintenance company for these yearly duties.
Overview of Garage Door Maintenance
Few parts of your home endure as much use as your overhead garage door. In fact, most of these doors go up and down over 1,000 times per year. When functioning properly, your door provides great convenience and security. But if neglected, your door becomes noisy and unsafe. Kids are particularly vulnerable to the risks of a broken garage door.
Most of these doors operate using torsion springs mounted on the header or extension springs floating above the top roller track.
Below, we explore some steps involved in annual overhead garage door maintenance and inspection. If you follow these tips, your door should provide years of safety and quiet operation. Some tips even apply to overhead doors without a mechanical opener installed.
None of our recommendations here require special skills. Each takes less only several minutes to perform, and any maintenance materials you need are easily found in hardware or home centers.
Take Appropriate Safety Precautions
Before performing any maintenance on your overhead door, follow some safety guidelines. These start with the very important step of unplugging your door opener so it cannot open or close. If you are working on an open door, apply locking pliers below a roller on the roller track to keep the door from dropping.
Pay attention to the lift cables and spring tension. Never remove one of these cables when the spring is supporting it. If you do, it can cause serious injury, cutting skin like a knife. Only garage door professionals should ever attempt to release or adjust overhead torsion spring tension.
Inspect and Maintain the Door’s Hardware
Your garage door moves. In the process of this moving, hardware becomes loose. Starting with roller brackets and bolts holding the rails in place, inspect the door’s parts and connections. Ensure all parts are where they belong and properly tightened.
Maintain Seals, Springs and Chains
Each year, lubricate your garage door opener’s chain or screw. Use spray-on white lithium grease, as available from your local hardware or home center. This lubrication improves the opener’s operation, making it run smoother and quieter. It also extends the life of the opener and chain. Before performing this maintenance, check your owner’s manual to ensure your screw opener requires lubrication. Some are made never to need this maintenance, at all.
Replacing a Steel Door’s U-Shaped Astragal
If you have a steel garage door, it likely has a hollow rubber weather seal on its base. This is called a U-shaped astragal. Because it is made of rubber and subjected to all weather elements typical to your region, it is subject to damage. Mice also tend to gnaw on this part to gain entry to the garage or get outside.
These parts are easy to replace. Simply choose the width that correctly fits your door and the gap between the door’s base and the garage floor. You can find one online or at your local garage door dealer.
Test Your Door’s Balance
A well-balanced garage door is safer than one even slightly off-balance. When one is off-balance, it can cause injury or even crush a person. Being in balance also prevents it from working too hard with each raising and lowering.
To balance your garage door, disengage the opener. Pull the door release handle that hangs from the automatic opener’s engine. Then manually lower the door halfway. If your door is in proper balance, it will hold this position without any support. If the door pulls back up, you have too much spring tension on it. If the door lowers toward the ground, you need to increase the tension.
Adjusting your garage door’s tension is dangerous. It is not easy to do without the right knowledge, experience and tools. For this, call your garage door specialist to perform this repair and maintenance for you.