Your garage door is most likely the largest moving piece of machinery in your home. Some of them weigh in at several hundred pounds. Replacement costs can be high, especially when coupled with a new opener. Take a look at the following things you can do to ensure yours lasts as long as possible.
- Get Professional Service. Just once year, have a professional come to perform some simple maintenance on your system. It should cost less than $100 to have a company adjust both the opener and spring system if needed. In addition to any work done on the springs and opener, this type of service will typically include a check for wear and tear, as well. Some companies provide the option of a service plan, which can help reduce the cost. The springs are the heart of the counter balance system, and can relax over time. An improperly balanced spring system can damage the opener, and pose a safety hazard.
- Lubricate Some aerosol type spray on the moving parts will do the trick. Not only will regular sprays reduce wear and tear, but it can make everything a little quieter, as well. Pay attention to the tracks, rollers, hinges, etc. While you’re there, give everything a quick once over to check for wear, making sure nothing is loose, no cables are frayed, etc.
- Know Your Opener They are fairly simple mechanisms and don’t require many tools for maintenance. Some may need to have the chain or belt tightened occasionally. Check your manual for these types of maintenance procedures, as well as how often to lubricate the moving parts. Other settings a homeowner should be familiar with are the sensitivity (sometimes called a force setting) settings. This feature of the motor controls how much force will be applied to open or close the door. The owner’s manual will have instructions on how to achieve a good setting. Close attention is needed, as this will affect how safely everything operates.
- Keep It Clean It may sound pretty basic, but keeping the area around the opening free of debris, and other items can solve major problems before they start. A rake, baseball bat, or other similar item can cause serious damage if caught in the path of the door or hardware. Spiders also love to build webs inside the lens openings of safety sensors. Make sure yours are free of any obstructions or debris.
- Keep It Painted If you’ve got wood on the exterior of your home you already know it needs to be painted or sealed against the elements in some way, but don’t forget about the garage door. Rot or insect related damage is a common cause for repairs. The bottom section is the most commonly afflicted part. In severe cases, this can cause a safety hazard since the bottom section is under pressure from the counter balance system. Make sure to keep yours properly sealed.
That may seem like quite a bit to follow through on, but in reality it can save you time and money. This is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth more than pound of cure. Maintaining your garage door and opener costs very little compared to the hundreds of dollars it would take to replace them.
* Ben Franklin