My Rollers keep wearing down. Is my door unbalanced?

Q:
I have a garage door that is nearly 20 years old. Several months ago I notices that the rollers were wearing very quickly to the point of destructing. Everything else seems to be the same, ie the door seems balanced and I’ve been taking good care of the door in general. So I changed the rollers and they started wearing again soon afterward. Like I say, I’ve been maintaining the door well and have replaced the motor and springs once in the past 5 years. What can I do?

A:
First I highly recommend you not mess with the springs as they can be extremely dangerous. Which side is your motor mounted on. Center is the best but you really have to make sure it’s right so it won’t pull to either side. One way to test this is to disengage teh motor by pulling the release which is usually on the ceiling. Then pull the door shut and push it open. Do you feel it “catch” or bind anywhere? Also, try to leave the door in mid closed mid open position. It should hang there. If it starts gliding up or down you have a balancing problem.

If you’ve painted your door over the years sometimes that locks moisture in and warps the door slightly knocking it out of alignment.

My garage door opens in the middle of the day!

Q:
I have a strange problem with my garage door: come home from work my garage door is open. This doesn’t happen often and fortunately I don’t live in a neighborhood where I have to worry. Still it’s unnerving and people can still see all my stuff.

A:
This is a strange one and I’ve seen it only a few times in my years fixing garage doors. There are a number of things that you can check. First, there is a close switch that is supposed to be tripped when the garage lowers to the ground. When you hit the ground, it should shut the opener off. If it’s set to shut a little lower than reality, you might need to adjust it. What I would do in this case is reset then entire door and start from scratch.

Another problem could be a circuit board gone bad. If you have any extra remotes in the garage they can mess with the door.

One other thing that can cause this is if you live near an airport or an air force base, these guys have some heavy duty equipment that can effect things for a few miles near the base.

Choosing a garage door opener

The garage door opener remote is what makes garage door openers great, and when they get lost, it’s a serious pain. So lots of people buy an extra one to be on the safe side. You can get them at the local hardware store, but which one?

There is a fair amount of variety in garage door remotes so it’s worth your while to bone up on them. Manufactures have their own propriety models, but there are universal openers as well.

How do i find out the specs of my remote? First you have to dig out the documentation that came with your opener. Lacking that, note the exact model and manufacturer and buy one that is meant specifically for your door. This is not normally necessary unless your model is older than say 10 years or it is no longer manufactured.

Universal openers are the other main choice. They can be programmed to work with just about any model; however there are several universal models (which sound like a contradiction) and the work with different openers.

You need to determine how many features you want as well. If you just want the door to open, then only one button will be needed. If you have more than one door and you want the remote to do other things like turn on the lights, well it can get about as complicated as you want.

My garage door makes clicking sounds

One client writes:
I have a problem that doesn’t happen often but it’s annoying. When the door is going up I can hear a clicking sound on the right side. I lubricated everything I could, and it helped a little, but it’s still there. This is a first for me.

Dear client:
One thing we do in garage door repair cases like this is unconnect the door from the opener and manually lift the door. With a problem like this, though we know it’s the opener. The clicking sound may be a signal something else is wrong. Clicking can be caused by a number of things

If you door works intermittently and makes a clicking sound, it is usually a failing circuit board. This is often caused by a power spike during an electrical storm.

Garage door rollers can start making noises when they get worn and lose their precision. Remember that you open your garage door between 500 and 1000 times a year, and the lifespan of a set or rollers is between 10,000 and 20,000 depending on quality.

A less common reason is the photosensor on your garage door–the things that stops the door if it’s obstructed–if it gets stuff blocking it that can cause a clicking sound.

While I’m here: If you have a roll up door, you should lubricate the rollers, hinges and tracks every six months. This is not a hard and fast rule, but one that is reliable. Some people never lube their door.

Heating your garage.

It’s not something that most people think about when they think about their garage. But since so many people spent a lot of time in their garage, it’s something worth discussing.

First you have to think about insulation. At least 4 inches is recommended other wise it’s a complete waste of energy trying to keep the place warm. And we dont’ just mean the garage door, we mean the ceilings and walls. Installing insulation is just about the easiest thing out there, but you need to wear gloves and a mask and goggles. There are installation kits out there that are made specifically for garages.

First you have to think about what fuel you’re going to use to heat. There is propane, natural gas, Electric are the biggest. I myself have found natural gas to be the best, though I live in Texas. There are two main types of natural gas heaters on the market. One is called “forced-air” and the other is “low intensity”. Both are pretty good In my opinion, but the forced air ones do indeed push the air around noticeably, so if your garage is dusty it could be a problem. However, the forced air variety are pretty cheap.

There is a “high-intensity” type of heater as well but I do not recommend those. They are the ones that have coils that glow a little.

Windcode, hurricanes and your garage door

There are so many types of climates in the United States, it’s hard to even describe them. This will be of importance to one facet of your garage door, and that is what is called Windcode.

Windcode is essentially a description of how much reinforcement is built into the door when it’s manufactured. Some people live in hurricane zones, so they will need the highest windcode available, which is 5. Wind pressure exerts an enormous amount of stress on the garage door, more than you might imagine. In Spring TX we do get a little close to the hurricanes, but in general we’ve been lucky, and that’s why we don’t need the most reinforced doors around here.

Windcode has no effect on the look of the door, so there will be no sacrifices there. It might help for you to do some investigating as to how strong a door must be according to local building codes. Remember, the garage door salesman won’t necessarily steer ¬†you in the right path so be prepared.

A few more things to think about:

  • Most hurricane damage to a home comes from a garage door that caved in in the wind.
  • At least 50% of homes have garage doors that have outlived their old building code. You won’t necessarily be made to buy a new one by law, but you will have to make sure you get one that’s up to code when you get a new one.
  • Worst of all, most people are completely unaware of Windcode and it’s importance. this means that they are in a rather vulnerable position if they live in a place with heavy wind storms.