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The garage door is the largest moving object in the home and is also among the most used items. It is not uncommon for your garage door to go up and down 10 times or more in a day. Unfortunately, most of us don't perform the proper maintenance on the door to help it work properly and last longer.
"The best thing people can do to keep the garage door working properly and operating quietly is to lubricate all the moving parts twice a year," said Tyler Teichman, president of Gallery of Doors in Shelby Township, (586) 739-6218, www.galleryofdoors.net.
"We get calls from people who are sitting in their car and can't get out of the garage because the door won't open," Teichman said.
"Usually, if they maintained it properly, these emergencies would never happen."
He said one of the biggest mistakes people make with garage doors is that they put grease on the tracks. Grease collects dirt and can gum up the tracks. If there is grease on the tracks, you can clean it with Contractors Solvent, www.orange-sol.com, or another solvent-based cleaner and a paper towel.
Teichman suggests using a good quality spray lubricant such as Liquid Wrench, www.liquidwrench.com, to spray the door's moving parts every six months, including the hinges, rollers, cables and springs.
"We get lots of calls from homeowners who have squeaky doors and think there is something wrong with it," Teichman said. "But once I lubricate all the moving parts properly, the door works perfectly and is completely quiet."
Teichman said in addition to lubricating the door's rollers and hinges, you should also lubricate the torsion or extension springs.
"The industry standard for torsion springs is that it will last on average for 10,000 open and close cycles, but by lubricating the springs regularly, you can extend the spring life," Teichman said.
Along with maintaining the garage door itself, it is also important to pay attention to your garage door opener. This is the perfect time of year to replace the batteries in all transmitters and external keypads. Also make sure that every licensed driver in your household knows where the emergency release is and how to use it.
If you have a chain or belt drive opener, these generally require very little maintenance, but Teichman said spraying lubricant on the chain or belt occasionally is a good idea.
If you have a garage door opener that has a screw drive, he said you should only use Lubriplate brand lithium grease, www.lubriplate.com to lubricate it, because other products can cause it to gum up and not work properly.
One component that often does require adjustment on a garage door opener system is the electronic sensor beams at the bottom of the garage door tracks. These are designed to ensure the door doesn't close if someone or something is under it. But often, these "eyes" can loosen and get out of alignment. If the door reverses when it reaches the bottom of the cycle and there is nothing under it, you should check the sensors to see if they are aligned properly or need adjustment.
When the cold weather hits it is possible for the concrete under the garage door to heave, which may cause the door's reverse mechanism to activate. In those cases, you should consult your owner's manual to find out how to adjust the door's closing force or safety reversal system.
Of course, before you attempt to do anything with your garage door or opener, review the manufacturer's owner's manual for their suggested maintenance tips. But like most things around the home, preventative maintenance can extend the life of your garage door. While lubricating the parts on the garage door twice a year may take a little extra work, it is vital to keep one of the most used items in the home working properly and quietly.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, email email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege personally, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The “Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations nationwide.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
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