The design of most garage doors is such that they will move in perfect harmony without much noise when they are well balanced. They neither feel too bulky nor too light when they’re well balanced, even if they are automatic garage doors.
They will stick at whichever level you want them to when you maintain them well. It’s sad that not many people are that keen on garage door repaired. This is the main reason why their life becomes a mess when the garage door falls apart and they really need to come up with a quick fix, or risk getting their house broken into and robbed.
Why Repairs and Maintenance of Garage Doors is Important
It is really important that you maintain your garage doors and keep up with any repairs regularly. Be sure to check your garage door balance regularly to make necessary adjustments before things get out of hand. Sometimes, the spring in the garage door would need to be replaced in order to correct the balance of the door and get it to function correctly.
If you need to adjust the torsion spring in your garage door, STOP! (and think.) That might be dangerous for you to do by yourself as you might get some serious injuries. You need to contact your garage door installer or another professional to get the problem sorted out.
This will help overcome any risk or nervousness about the task at hand. There are some tools and techniques like a carpenter’s level that professionals use that help them adjust the torsion spring to find the right balance for your garage door.
How do you Check Your Garage Door’s Balance?
You need to know what direction the garage door is tipping towards that is causing it to lose balance in the first place. Only then will the adjustment be possible. The first thing to do is to disconnect your garage door from the opener. Then you have to check the independent balance of the door; i.e. how good does it hang on its own.
Next, you need to check the movement of the door up and down the track that it’s placed in. Manually, try running it all the way through (up and then down), to find out where it feels difficult to budge. Stop wherever you feel a slight pressure (stress) building up. The movement restrictions and obstacles causing this stress and pressure need to be dealt with first. Then we can move on to the garage door and adjust it for the right balance.
Once you have gotten rid of the hindrances and obstacles that were blocking the way of the garage door, it should move like a well-oiled machine along its path.
Try this little exercise for your garage door next. Run the garage door half way up the path and let go of it. See what happens — it may be stuck in one position, fall down to the floor, tilt, or even slide upwards. A well balanced door will only move slightly, so if any of the conditions just mentioned just now occur, it means that your door does not have the correct balance.
Lost tension in the garage door springs is the most common cause of a poorly balanced door. That’s why the above exercise leads to these doors falling down, signaling that the springs need to be tightened. When they move up in the exercise, this means that they are over-balanced. The spring will need to be moved in the opposite direction to fix this balance problem for your garage door.
Garage Door Balance Adjustment with Extension Springs
When your garage door has an extension spring, the trick is to make sure that the door is relieved of any kind of pressure, springs or otherwise. Do this before you come into contact with any of the springs. A good way to do so is to open the garage door all the way through and prop it in position with a ladder.
Open the garage door as wide as possible before you reach the stop bolt of the garage opener. Next, you need to take clamps to hold the door in position on each side of the door on the track so that there is no tension on the door from the springs.
Often times, there will be some safety cables attached to the springs, which if not removed may cause the springs to fly out of place when you try to loosen them up. The springs become a hazard that way. If these cables themselves are loose, you may just have to get new ones. When you have dealt with the cables, slip the spring off the garage door bracket that’s near the hanger. Move it to one of the holes away from the hanger.
You have to remove both side springs in this way before you carry out testing. Spring sets are no joke and need to be taken seriously, so make sure you adjust the door evenly before carrying out any testing.
Once you’ve had the springs and the tension they create out of the way, proceed to loosen up the clamps that you had on each side so that your garage door rests on the ladder that you had placed below the door. When you’re at a safe distance from the springs, check the balance of the door by moving it up and down.
This exercise will help you figure out if you need to adjust the springs more or if just a little bit of tuning will suffice. Small adjustments are best done with the help of the S-hooks that you can find at the end of the pulley cables, located on each side of the garage door. If you want to create greater tension for the door to adjust the balance, you can tighten up the cable when you move it to a lower hole.
Garage Door Balance Adjustment with Torsion Springs
The extension springs were the easy ones. It’s the torsion spring garage doors that really need you to put in the work while keeping yourself safe. Remember us telling you not to do the repairs and adjustments involving torsion springs earlier in the blog? Well, we’re here to emphasize on that (and provide you with a guide on how you can do the adjustment as best as you can if you really want to go the DIY route).
While extension springs may have been easier to handle by yourself, torsion springs require significantly greater effort and focus in your part. As we mentioned, you can run the risk of severely injuring yourself when you’re not focused. But remember, nothing is impossible. You can do this adjustment for garage door balance if you really put your mind to it.
The way you start with this adjustment is similar to that of the extension springs. You disconnect the door to check the balance. But here’s where it gets different. You’ll start with the door completely shut (down position).
Safety is very important so make sure to get a set of c-clamps on the track, just above the bottom rollers on each side of the garage door. This is to take any pressure off the garage door from the bottom rollers and stop the door from lifting when you’re working with adjustments. Trust and believe us when we say that you’ll need this additional safety.
Next, you’ll need a ladder, a set of winding bars and an open ended wrench designed for the appropriate size (i.e. adjustment screws). You have to get on the ladder next and get into position off the side of the adjustment collar of the torsion spring you’re working on first.
One of the winding bars goes into the top most (vertical) hole on the bottom of the adjustment collar. Hear for the winding bar to snap into position. Now you can start with loosening the screws without worrying about the tension on the spring.
The winding bar is doing its job of maintaining the tension on the spring. Remember to hold the winding bar as you loosen the screws with the wrench. You will start to feel the tension the screws had as you loosen them until they are completely removed.
If your garage door couldn’t stay open, you would need to bring the winding bar at right angles to the garage door (a quarter turn). The second winding bar goes into the hole that faces the floor and is vertical to the door.
That will help keep everything in the right place, giving you just enough time to replace the screws to the holes and tighten them in place (as Jim Carrey/Ace Ventura would say) “like a glove.” Remove the winding bars after you’ve reached the desired level.
The adjustment procedure we outlined is for one side of the garage door. Repeat the procedure with the other torsion spring on the opposite side. You may need to go up and down the ladder a few times, but this is necessary. If you tighten the door too fast, the torsion springs might break and “spring” out of position, and that’s where the serious injuries, that we talked about earlier, come in. Remember: Easy does it (quarter turn of the winding bar at a time).
A garage door may start to cause some problems with age, but issues such as an out of balance door don’t need to be nagging ones. It helps when you check them periodically and learn how to tackle them the right way.
Now that we’ve covered the balancing act of your garage door in considerable detail, it’s time to move on to other issues. Remember that your garage door will not bug you if you take care of it, so any issue with it is a sign that you need to do some quick maintenance. There’s no need to panic, however. Not unless you’ve tried the following fixes for a few common problems.
Simmering Down a Noisy Garage
Noisy garage doors are really the worst. They disturb the peace and quiet required for a good night’s sleep. This is especially true if you or your kids have a room that is directly above the garage door that’s causing all the commotion. Routine maintenance is the best way to keep the noise level down for the garage door.
You may need to take a look at the nuts and tighten them so that they are comfortably in position. But you have to know when to stop because over tightening will make matters worse. You may need to replace different components that have become squeaky, or worn out over time. These components may be anything from rollers to hinges.
Fixing a Garage Door That’s Ice Cold
You know the struggle is real when it’s freezing outside and you need to get your car into the garage and close the garage door before all that indoor warmth escapes. That isn’t always possible if you haven’t been paying attention to your garage door.
The garage door can get stuck to the floor when it gets cold enough and there’s enough moisture in the air or a puddle on the floor. Other times the connection between the garage door opener and the door itself freezes over and all it takes is the press of a button to sever that connection.
Pressing the button to open the garage repeatedly may break the gears or burn the motor. So the only way out is to use a hairdryer or heat gun to melt hat ice at the connection junction. Be careful if you try to chip the ice away with a flat shovel when the garage door is stuck to the floor. You may end up damaging the door or its seal when if you are careless about it. Clear out the remaining ice when you get it open and see to it that the door closes at the same position where it used to before it got stuck to the floor.
There are just some times when you need the help of a professional for complex problems with your garage door. Let us know if you need one. And for the future, regular maintenance on time is the best way you can avoid costly repairs.