Prepare a Garage Door for Winter

Winter in Wisconsin can hit us, and it can hit us hard, especially when we’re not prepared for it. Thus, we should always aim to prepare your most valued possessions in time for winter. Obviously, we want to prepare our house, including the garage for it. So how do we prepare a garage door for winter?

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Make sure the hardware is in place

Your garage door has a lot of moving parts and movement to do, so the hardware can become a bit loose. To prevent this from causing problems it would be smart to tighten them all up. All you need to do is get a socket wrench and use it to tighten all the roller brackets and the bolts. This will keep your garage door in a better shape during the cold winter times.

Keep the springs lubricated

The springs can get quite stiff when the cold hits, and if you don’t want them to break, it would be smart to lubricate them about once a month. You can easily do this yourself and it can save you from having to replace the springs, which is one of the most common repairs for garage doors.

Get a new weather stripping

When it starts getting colder and even starts snowing, the last thing you want is to have a bad weather stripping that will allow the cold air and perhaps snow to enter the garage. Therefore, it is smart to get a new weather stripping, if yours is old, to prepare your garage door for the winter. You don’t want any snow entering your house in the midst of winter.

Prepare your outdoor faucets

You don’t want your pipes to freeze during winter, so it’s important to prepare your outdoor faucets. First, you want to disconnect and drain all hoses. You also want to drain the exterior faucets and apply all the shut-off valves to protect your pipes from the cold winter temperatures.

Check if both cables are in good condition

The cables that get your garage door up and down should be in good condition, so it is smart to check for damage or any broken strands or rust are showing. If something does turn out to be out of place it is best to get this fixed before it becomes really cold.

Check the condition of your rollers

Rollers need to be inspected regularly, and they also need to be replaced every 5-10 years on average, or sooner when they’re in a bad condition. When you do notice that they’re chipped, cracked, or just worn out, you should replace them as soon as possible and prevent the door from coming off the tracks.

Clean up the garage

You may be dreading to do this, especially when you’ve put it off for a long time, but it’s probably the smartest thing to do. Not only will your garage be a lot cleaner, you will also be able to pull out the tools you might need for winter, like a shovel.

When you’ve done all this, your garage door should be completely ready for the winter and your car and any of the appliances in your garage should be safe. We recommend you prepare this well before winter. It’s no fun trying to prepare a garage door in the cold snow.

 

Summer Garage Door Maintenance

Garage doors today are built to last 15 to 20 years. If you want to maximize the use of your door, you will need to give it a periodic summer garage door maintenance, to ensure that you catch any problems early. And with the summer months, comes summer maintenance for your home. There are important summer maintenance tasks to be done. The heat and humidity of the summer can make a garage extremely uncomfortable and this could be dangerous if combustible supplies are stored in a garage. Here are some of the ways we would help in maintaining your garage doors during the summer.

  • Check the Hardware for wear and tear: during summer, it is important to check for signs of broken or bent hinges, wear or tear, rusty rollers, rusty springs and other hardware that needs to be tightened well. You need to check for all the lifting cables that are not operating properly and fix them. Regardless of the number of years you have been using your garage door, it should open and close smoothly. If yours doesn’t, the springs may need some adjustment or greasing. We would check the brackets at the bottom, the pulley and cable system to change the ball bearings of the pulleys that might have worn out with constant usage.
  • Clean and lubricate the hardware: it is advisable to inspect all the parts of the door every weekend during the summer months.paint-garage-door The hardware of the door should be free from debris or build-up caused by lack of proper lubrication. If you find out that there is dirt in this area, use an old toothbrush or paint brush to remove the dirt build-up and lubricate the door if necessary. All the other parts of the door should be well lubricated always in order to prevent a noisy door when it is been opened or closed. It is advisable to use a grease based lubricant such as a lithium or silicon spray.
  • Test the Garage door balance: if your garage door is not properly balanced, the garage door opener will have to work harder, this won’t make the door last as long as required. You can check your garage door balance by disconnecting the door opener by pulling the release handle (which is usually a red cord), manually move the door about halfway up. If it doesn’t stay put, the counterweight system is improperly balanced. We can help in repairing this particular problem.
  • Remove rust: if you can see any visual signs of rusting on any part of your unit, then it is time to do some work. After using sandpaper to remove the rust, a coat of exterior latex is added to prevent further rusting
  • Painting: it is the idea to wash and paint your garage door during summer months. Steel and aluminum door can be washed easily with household detergent. Steel doors should be painted with 100 percent acrylic latex exterior paint, no oil based paint. Make sure you clean the door first so that it is free of dirt or oil.

Proper summer time maintenance can help keep your items away from extreme temperature changes and also extend the life of your garage door.

3 Essential Tips to Stop Your Garage Door Freezing This Winter

During the winter months, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to leave for work and having to find a way to leverage your garage door open because it’s frozen shut. That’s when we normally get the de-icer and lubricant out and go crazy with it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. However, that can sometimes provide you with more issues than solutions. Here we’ve provided you with three essential tips to prevent your garage door hinges freezing.

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  1. Garage door lubrication with a silicon or lithium-based lubricants

We use grease to lubricate bike chains and door handles, so why wouldn’t you want to use it on the hinges of your garage door? The issue is that in freezing temperatures, grease will freeze just like water, which doesn’t really help your situation at all. Instead, it’s best to find a silicone lubricant which won’t turn your hinges to ice when the weather gets colder. We’ve found that WD-40 is very effective at lubricating garage door hinges, and you’ll find stockists pretty much anywhere. Be sure to remove the previous application of grease before applying the new lubricant, though, otherwise, you’ll still encounter issues. You should spray some garage door lubrication to your tracks and rollers while you’re at it, to ensure that they don’t cause any issues when opening the door, too.

  1. Apply salt to your garage door

Salt reduces the freezing point of water, which means that it’s really handy for warding off the ice where it’s not wanted. Although it’s difficult to apply it to the hinges of your garage door, you will be able to put it on the garage floor around the door to prevent water from getting under it and freezing. This is another common occurrence and will prevent you from getting to work on time! To avoid any corrosion, it’s recommended that you use table salt. Also, if you’re ever inside the garage and realize that the hinges are frozen you can apply salt to them help you quickly melt the ice.

  1. Move the car out of the garage straight away

We’ve all been there. It’s a cold day, so you turn the heaters on in the car before you get in, so that it’s nice and toasty when you get in so you can set off on your journey without chattering teeth. However, it will also raise the temperature in your garage, melting any ice on your garage door, which will run to the bottom and reform to ice once you leave. This will definitely cause issues when your return, as your garage door will be frozen to the floor. To prevent this, try moving your car out of the garage as soon as you start it. There’s no point applying garage door lubrication to your hinges if you’re going to freeze the door to the ground anyway!

Garage Door Won’t Close

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If every time you attempt to shut your garage door it immediately begins opening back up, you have a pretty agitating problem on your hands. Fortunately enough, it’s an easy fix! We’ve compiled a few typical causes for a garage door that won’t close along with the solution to each:

The Disconnect Switch is Activated

If you try to close your garage door and the opener is incessantly running but the door doesn’t budge, you’ve probably activated the disconnect switch on accident. The disconnect switch is a rope or knob on the garage door opener which does exactly what it says- disconnects the door from the opener. If this happens to be the problem, please refer to our previous post about what to do when you lose power to your garage door opener. You will have to reattach the door to the opener, which is not as difficult as it may sound!

The Sensor are Improperly Aligned

The two sensors at the base of the garage door send a beam to one another to determine whether it is safe to fully close the door or not. If said beam is interrupted, the door will begin to open back up. If the sensors are not aligned properly, however, they perceive this as an obstruction and will open the door anyways. If needed, adjust the brackets connecting the sensors to the garage so they are aligned all the way. If they are aligned all the way and the path of the door is clear but you are still encountering issues, pay attention to when the issues occur. Is it particularly sunny outside? If the sun is glaring down directly onto the sensors, this can be interpreted as an obstruction and they will continue to open the door. If this is the problem, you may just have to set something up by the garage to put some shade on the sensors.

Improper Garage Door Limits

If your garage door closes all the way before deciding to re-open, your garage door travel limits may be set wrong. Refer back to our previous post all about adjusting your garage door limits for an in-depth explanation on how to assuage this.

Broken Cables or Springs

Every garage door is equipped with a set of tension cables and springs which allow it to function quickly and effortlessly each and every time you press the button. If the door refuses to shut all the way, check your cables and springs to make sure they’re all intact. If not, you may want to consider contacting your Garage Door Repair Madison WI for an efficient and cost-effective fix!
If none of the above problems are affecting your door but it still won’t close, feel free to contact us by phone or email for friendly and proficient help.

How to Reconnect a Garage Door Opener After an Outage

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In a society which thrives on electricity-dependent technological advancements, it should come as no surprise that power outages have become the bane of our existence. Nearly every aspect of modern life relies on a source of electricity. How many times per day do you simply turn on a light or use a computer? Or perhaps plug your phone into charge? One aspect of daily life which is not difficult to neglect in the event of a power outage, however, is your garage door opener. Suppose a lightning storm tears through your small suburban area and destroys a transformer down the block. Depending on whether you left the door open or closed prior to the resulting power outage, your car and possessions are now either trapped in the garage or exposed to the elements and anyone passing by. We sympathize with this and understand that it is simply unacceptable. Here’s how to fix just such a problem:

How to Reconnect Your Garage Door Opener

1. First you must disconnect the garage door opener from the door itself. It’s best to unplug the opener from its power source beforehand.

2. Pull the emergency disconnect cord hanging from the opener. This is the only way to disconnect the opener and allows you to fully open the door. This is especially important if you’re trapped in the garage.

3. Manually close the door all the way. The opener will not reconnect properly if the door isn’t completely shut.

4. After the power has been restored, press the button you typically use to close the door. Give the opener ample time to connect on its own. The chain of the opener will move the corresponding trolley to its correct position until it connects with the arm of the garage door.

5. If the trolley of your garage door opener is not automatic, you will have to manually attach the trolley to the garage door’s arms after pulling the emergency release.

6. Your opener and door should be connected and functioning as good as ever!

To prevent further issues, consider investing in a surge protector for the outlet your garage door opener is plugged into. If you continue to have issues with re-connecting your garage door and opener, do not hesitate to contact us!

Adjust Opener Limits

Having a new garage door opener installed is an important venture. It guarantees that your garage door will open and close smoothly and safely every time as long as it is properly maintained. You are given the freedom of choosing whether you want a chain, belt, or screw opener, whether you would prefer a name brand such as Genie or LiftMaster, and multiple other aspects of what opener you would prefer. It’s not just an opener, it’s your opener. However, it is easy to overlook the limits set on the garage door opener. Did you know how far up or down your garage door opener takes the door?

Adjust Opener Limits

If you notice that every time you attempt to open or close your garage door it’s either not performing a full cycle (i.e. opening/closing halfway) or reverses its motion mid-cycle, you may have to adjust the limits of your garage door opener. In order to adjust the limits, first locate the limit adjustment screws on the opener and retrieve a corresponding flathead or Phillips head screwdriver for them. Cycle your door one time by opening and closing it. If the door does not open completely and stops at about 5 feet (typically the halfway mark), turn the “Up” adjustment screw clockwise one full turn. Every complete turn of the screw corresponds to two inches of movement. Continue to turn the screw until you are able to fully open the door.

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If the door will not close completely, turn the “Down” adjustment screw counterclockwise one full turn. Again, each full turn will add two inches of movement to the door, so continue to turn the screw until the door fully closes. If the door closes fully but reverses its motion after touching the ground, turn the “Down” adjustment screw clockwise until you are able to close the door without it attempting to open up on its own. For any of the above methodologies, be certain to open and close the door after each full turn of an adjustment screw. If you are still having issues with your opener’s limits after trying all of the above, be sure to contact your local garage door company.

How to Program Your Garage Door Remote

It’s a secure feeling to have a new garage door opener installed. It guarantees you will no longer have to wonder whether your garage will function properly or not. One detail which is easy to overlook in amidst the process of choosing the proper opener and having it installed (unless bold enough to do it yourself) is how to program your opener to a remote. It’s a relatively simple but necessary process. So, how to program your garage door remote?

The Process

First, identify whether your opener has a smart-learn button (most newer models do). The button should be located near the light of the opener or in the case of the wiring of the opener. Press the Learn button and look for a blinking light. The light will blink for approximately 30 seconds, within which you should choose a button on the remote you would like to open the door and hold it. The light of the Learn button should flicker twice or you may hear two clicks, both of which indicate the remote and the opener have successfully been linked. If the light does not flicker and there are no clicks, simply try again.

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Older Openers

Maybe you have an older garage door opener which does not have a Learn button. Suppose you purchase a remote corresponding to this older model but do not know how to program it. Chances are the opener will have Dip switches located behind the light cover or maybe even in a separate box depending on the model. The remote will also have these switches in the battery compartment (as many as 12 of them). To program a garage door opener and remote with dip switches, simply choose a unique pattern for the switches which can only be in the on or off positions. Make sure that the pattern of the switches matches on the remote and the opener. When they match, test the remote to see if it works properly, which it should.
Typically, you will not have to worry about dip switches due to the fact that manufacturers ceased their use between fifteen and twenty years ago to ensure each opener possesses its own unique frequency.

Programming a remote to a garage door opener is not too daunting of a task and hopefully, this tutorial is able to clear up any issues one may be having!

Garage Door Sensors and Sunlight

Did you get home, parked your car in the garage, hit the wall button to shut it, and halfway through it stopped, and reversed back up? You have checked that nothing blocks the sensors’ beam and made sure all wires are connected properly, and still, the same thing happens over and over again?

garage door sensors

It May Be Caused by Sunlight

Sunlight can interfere with the sensors’ beam and cause them to act as if an object blocks them. Many years ago, sensors weren’t common. Nowadays, for safety reasons, most garage doors have them. The sensors only work when the door is in the process of closing. If something prevents the sensors from pointing directly at each other, and hence, break the beam, the photocell will reverse the door from closing to opening. If this problem keeps reoccurring, and the door won’t shut, simply press and hold the wall button continually until the door is fully closed. As soon as the door passes the sensors’ line, the sunlight won’t interfere with the beam anymore and the door will remain shut.

Another thing you can do to overcome this problem permanently is to set a cylinder shaped object around each of the sensors’ eyes, which will block the sunlight and prevent it from interfering with them.

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Remember, the lens on each sensor must be kept clean and free of any obstructions at all times. Know that if you have more than one door adjacent to each other, the sensors may affect the smooth operation of the doors by providing a false signal.

Once in awhile, make sure that the sensors work properly. You can do it by sliding an object between them while closing the door. If the door keeps closing while the object is present, do not hesitate and call a professional garage door technician to fix this problem. Unfortunately, every year there are fatal incidents caused by malfunctioning sensors. Don’t overlook them!

Garage Door Lubrication

Every garage door, whether operated electrically or manually, contains metal parts that require lubrication occasionally. Lubricating the moving parts, such as door’s rail, springs, hinges, and rollers, prevents them from rusting or becoming squeaky, as well as keeps them in functioning order for years to come.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake homeowners do is using a standard lubricating oil such as WD-40, which is actually a degreaser that takes away the grease, rather than serve the right purpose. Rather, you should use a lithium-based lubricant, which you can find at the local hardware store. If you cannot find any, aim for a silicon-based lubricant. It isn’t as good, but it’s better than oil.
Another mistake homeowners do is lubricating the garage door opener’s chain. Garage door openers come out of the factory with a protective coat that should last for as long as the opener is running. The most you should do to aid the chain is use a rug with a tiny bit of WD-40 to help smooth it out.
The third mistake is lubricating the tracks. Tracks don’t need to be greased, but rather need to be cleaned.

The process:

1. Start by standing inside the garage and close the garage door shut. Pay attention to all the moving parts (springs, rollers, drums, and hinges).

2. Make sure you blow all the dust, dirt, and cobwebs that may have accumulated on the door’s moving hardware. If necessary, climb a step stool to help cleaning the upper rollers, as well as the garage door overhead tracks.

3. Spray small amounts of lithium/silicone spray into the moving parts on the garage door. If your bearings are sealed (e.g. on rollers and drums) you don’t have to do so, they don’t require maintenance. Open and close the door a few times to make sure all parts are lubricated evenly. Spray additional lubricant if needed. Wipe away lubricant leftovers that drip.

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4. If you have an electric opener, climb a step stool and spray the lithium/silicon spray on the top of the rail, which is where the trolley goes back and forth and creates friction.

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Making sure your garage door is well groomed and maintained can add many years of functionality to it. If you have an owner’s manual for the electric garage door opener and/or door itself, read it thoroughly, since the manufacturer may provide specific maintenance recommendations. Garage door openers operate in various ways depending on manufacturer and style.
During lubrication check all hardware for looseness and tighten necessary bolts. Also, make sure you use spray cans with a straw nozzle to be more accurate and reach tight spots.
Remember to use a lithium or silicone based lubricants rather than degreaser; degreasers may dry out rather than lubricate surfaces.

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Garage Door 101

Your garage door is the largest moving part in your entire home and is used multiple times per day at any hour and in all seasons. To keep your garage door operating smoothly for decades to come, it’s important that you take the time to perform regular preventive care and garage door maintenance. Here are 10 things that all homeowners can do:

Listen & Keep an Eye

The most important preventive step you can take is to observe your garage door in action every time you use it. Is it moving smoothly or is it jerky in places? Does it operate silently or does it make grinding or scraping noises? Do both sides of the system (springs, pulleys, and cables) look symmetrical?

Tighten up the Hardware

The average garage door moves up and down more than a thousand times a year. That’s a lot of movement and vibration, which can loosen the hardware. Examine and tighten all roller brackets and bolts with a socket wrench.

Test the Garage Door Balance

If your garage door is not properly balanced, the garage door opener will have to work harder, and it won’t last as long. After you disconnect the opener by pulling the release handle (usually a red cord), manually move the door about halfway up. If it doesn’t stay put, the counterweight system (springs) are improperly balanced. Garage door spring adjustment is best left to the professionals.

Inspect and Replace the Rollers

Make sure to inspect the rollers, whether steel or nylon. You need to inspect them twice a year and replace every seven years or so, and even more often if you use your garage door many times a day. You should replace worn, chipped or cracked rollers as soon as possible. You do this by removing and reinstalling any roller brackets that are not directly attached to the cable system.

Replace the Weather stripping

If the rubber weather seal strip on the bottom of your door is brittle or cracked, you’ll need to replace it right away to keep the elements out of your house. Weather stripping is sold by the foot at hardware and home improvement stores. Just cut to size and insert into the grooves with the wide angle of the flange inside the door.

Lubricate the Moving Parts

Keeping your garage door parts greased up will add years of seamless operation to your system – and it takes just 10 minutes a year! Use white lithium grease on the opener’s chain or screw, and a spray lubricant, available from your garage door specialist, to coat the overhead springs.

Check the Cables

You should never tinker with the high-tension cables that lift your door because they have enough force to maim and kill. But you can check their condition so you know when to hire a pro. Check for broken strands and damage near the bottom roller bracket.

Test the Auto-Reverse Safety Features

There are two mechanisms: mechanical and photocell. In order to test the mechanical feature, place a piece of wood or a brick on the ground in the path of the door. When the door touches that object while coming down, it should reverse direction and go back up again. To test the second, the photoelectric system with beams at each side, close your door and just pass your leg in the door’s path. Your door should reverse. If your opener is more than 20 years old, it may lack this basic safety features –so it’s time to buy a new garage door opener.

Clear the Tracks

Make sure the tracks on either side of the door are free from debris. You can use a level to check the plumb. Any major adjustments to tracks must be done by a professional garage door technician.

Groom Your Garage Door

Don’t forget to examine the door itself. You will need to check wooden doors for water damage and warp, as well as chipped and peeling paint. Steel doors may have rust spots that you will need to sand, prime, and paint. Wash your garage door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner at the same time you do your car. Remember, your garage door makes up about one-third of the exterior of your house, so keep it fresh and clean. If you don’t have time to do a check-up, call our garage door professional to schedule a tune-up service. He will fix it all… perfectly!

Garage door maintenance is extremely important. Make sure you follow the above garage door maintenance tips to ensure your garage door will last to its maximum!

For more information about garage door repair and maintenance, check out DDM Garage Doors website.