Want to keep your garage door working safely? Here’s how
One of the hardest working devices in your home is your garage door — equipped with an automatic opener. Whenever you need to take off in your automobile, you press a button and the 300-pound door rolls up; you’re off again without thinking much about the mechanical magic that just occurred.
On the rare occasions when the door won’t move up or down or gets stuck in the middle somewhere, it can be frustrating for you and your family. But a little regular care and maintenance can keep it running smoothly — and safely. If you can’t wait until a maintenance technician arrives, you can always disconnect the automatic opener and open the door manually, of course. But what follows are a few tips on keeping the door apparatus running smoothly.
Checking the safety sensors
The most important part of your garage door system is the door safety sensors – a device that became mandatory on garage doors in 1993. These photo-electric or eye beam sensors work when you press the door opener. An infrared beam of light is sent from a small electronic device on one side of your door frame to another unit on the other side. Presto, the door opens.
But if the sensors detect a problem – like an object, person or car — that interrupts that beam of light, the garage door will reverse. The door will also automatically reverse if an object is lying on the floor under the door.
Every few months, you might try testing the sensors by putting a board under the path of the door or by putting your hand in front of the eye. If the door operates correctly, it will reverse.
Other signs of trouble
Other indications of problems can be sudden stops and reversals, flashing lights, or a door that won’t open or close. Many times problems like these may be caused if the eye beam sensors are misaligned or if dirt gets on the sensors. You may be able to resolve these issues by cleaning the lenses on the eyes or by straightening the sensor’s position with a screwdriver.
Do regular maintenance
It’s a good idea to do some regular maintenance as well by having a garage door technician pay a visit to lubricate and adjust the door’s hardware. You never want to try to adjust the cables and rollers yourself. But you can lubricate the moving parts of your door. Read your owner’s manual or ask your garage door technician for tips.
You can also hose down your steel or aluminum garage door surface with water or you can wash it with water that contains a mild detergent. If you have a wooden door, check it for rot. You may have to sand off black spots and refinish the door.
Don’t have your home maintenance calendar?
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Rosie on the House
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