DIY Guide to Adjusting Your Garage Door Opener to Maintain it Over Time
Having a garage door opener makes it simple to get in and out of your house without digging around to find your keys. But how do you make sure your garage door opener always works?
Why Should You Maintain Your Garage Door Opener?
There are appliances that we use every day that we may not think need maintenance. It’s easy to forget about your garage door opener if it’s always working. The only time you may actually consider its maintenance is when it breaks! So here are some reasons why you should keep it in good shape.
You Use it Every Day
Anything that you find yourself using every day in your home requires maintenance. The more you use your garage door opener, the more it wears down. Proper garage door maintenance can ensure that the door is always working.
If you don’t conduct proper maintenance on your garage door opener, you will find that you’ll have to start making replacements. Unfortunately, fixing major garage door problems isn’t the easiest task.
More often than not, you will have to hire a garage door service to come in and make replacements. Replacement costs can add up quickly. You can suddenly find yourself paying upwards of $650 to replace your garage door opener.
A broken garage door opener is one of the biggest inconveniences you can face. Imagine getting in your car ready for your commute, and instead, you find yourself stuck in the garage. Not a great way to start the morning, right?
Instead of pressing a button on your remote control, you’ll have to manually open your garage door by locating the red emergency pull on the inside. It’s quite an inconvenient way to start your day.
Increase Your Doors Longevity
The more you take care of an appliance in your home, the longer it will last. Instead of using your garage door opener every day and waiting for it to break, you can feel secure in the fact that your garage door will last. With proper maintenance, your garage door opener should function correctly for 10-15 years. If you take care of it, it may last even longer than that!
Garage door openers have many safety features built-in, but if those break, you could look at an increased risk of injury. Most garage doors have sensors to stop the downward travel of the door. Without it, you could see door closures that are too fast. If the door isn’t in line with its travel limits, it could damage your car or hurt someone.
When to Adjust Your Garage Door Opener
Adjusting your garage door may seem like a daunting task. But like many appliances in a home, it’s a quick thing that you can easily check off your to-do list.
Change With the Seasons
Season changes can mean a lot for appliances in the home. Especially those that have direct contact with the outdoors. Your garage door opener should already be proofed for the weather conditions of your area. But if it gets very cold or very warm quickly, it can affect the performance of your machinery. You can easily add adjusting your garage door opener to your list of seasonal chores.
Twice a Year
The minimum amount you should check and adjust your garage door opener is twice a year. The optimal times to check it are in early spring and late fall. These times are right before intense weather changes in most parts of the country. But they’re also great times to add chores to your to-do lists.
How to Inspect Your Garage Door Opener
Now that you know why and when you should inspect your garage door opener, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty details. How do you inspect your garage door opener? Luckily, you can start troubleshooting easily. Let’s get into the step-by-step description to check your garage door opener.
1. Watch the Door Open
The first step in inspecting your garage door openers is to watch the door open. Take a second from inside your garage and watch the movement of the overhead door. Look at the tracks, the wheels, and the pulleys. All of the mechanisms in your garage door opener should be symmetrical.
Your garage door should open smoothly without any sudden, jerky movements. If you find that it is struggling to open in one smooth motion or has too much closing force, you’ll have to make adjustments.
2. Listen to the Door Open
While you’re watching your garage door open and close, you should also listen to the opener motor. A garage door that is in good shape shouldn’t be making any noticeable sounds. However, if you hear a grinding noise or scraping, you could have a problem with the pieces of your opener motor or hardware.
3. Clean the Tracks
Now that you have visually and audibly inspected your garage door opener, it’s time to do some light maintenance. The first thing you can do for a DIY garage door adjustment is clean the tracks. Your garage door opener tracks are located on the side of the door. You should clear these tracks of any obstructions.
To do this, use a damp cloth to gently wipe the tracks. A toothbrush or vacuum cleaner is a good option if you need to get some hard-to-clean gunk out of the tracks. If you run into any stuck-on grime, you can pick up some automotive brake cleaner for wiping down the tracks.
4. Check the Rollers
After cleaning out the tracks, you have a clear slate to check the efficiency of the rollers. The rollers are the pieces of the garage door opener that roll along the track to slide the door up and down. These little rollers are filled with ball bearings, so they can get tricky to keep clean from time to time.
When you check the rollers, you want to ensure that they aren’t scraping against the track or getting stuck along the way. If any of the ball bearings are exposed, you’ll have to treat them with lubricant. Make sure you wipe off any excess lubricant or grease, as too much can affect the way the door works.
A common problem rollers face is being cracked or broken. If this happens, you’ll want to replace these, which isn’t difficult. Replacement garage door rollers can be found at your local hardware store at an affordable price.
5. Check the Hardware
Now that the rollers are working well, it’s time to check the rest of the hardware on the garage door. Check the brackets that hold the door tracks to the walls and ceiling. You can easily tighten the brackets with a socket wrench or flathead screwdriver.
You should also check the limit switches at this point. The limit switch is a small device that limits the extent of door travel. You can adjust the limit switch by using a screwdriver on the limit adjustment screw.
6. Inspect the Cables and Springs
The cables and springs are the last things to check in your DIY garage door inspection. There are two different types of springs that you can inspect on your garage door.
The first type is extension springs. These long and skinny springs run parallel to the door’s horizontal tracks. The second type of spring is the torsion spring. These springs are located on the metal shaft directly above the opening of the door.
Depending on your garage door size, you can have two to four torsion springs. Both springs work together to ensure your garage door moves up and down with control. If you find that your springs are starting to stretch out, it may be time to find some replacements.
DIY Maintenance for Your Garage Door Opener
After thoroughly inspecting your garage door, you can begin some DIY maintenance steps.
Lubricate the Moving Parts
Your garage door has plenty of moving parts. To make sure they are all running smoothly, use a high-quality spray lubricant. If you see any rust, you can also use oil to get it off. Make sure to wipe off any excess grease.
Tighten or Replace the Hardware
You open and close your garage door hundreds of times throughout the year, which can loosen the hardware. You’ll need to tighten the adjustment screws throughout the year. All you need is a step ladder and a screwdriver to get the job done. If you notice any hardware that isn’t in great condition, replace it.
Replace the Weatherstripping
If you notice that the rubber flap at the bottom of the door is in bad shape, you’ll need to replace it. That is your weatherstripping, which prevents water, cold air, and other debris from coming in under your garage door.
Clean the Outside of the Garage Door
Even though your garage door will always face the elements, keeping it clean will help it last longer. Using your hose, you can quickly clean off any dirt that builds up throughout the year. While it may feel counter-intuitive, keeping the outside of your garage door clean can make sure it lasts longer and doesn’t rot.
Replace the Batteries and Lights
The unit is on the ceiling and has batteries and automatic light. You can quickly replace the batteries and lights when you inspect your garage door opener. This will ensure that they won’t die on you, and you can see your way to the door after a long day of work.
Replace the Batteries in your Garage Door Remote
There’s nothing worse than pulling into your driveway to find that your garage door remote won’t work. So always make sure to replace the batteries in your garage door remote to prevent this situation from happening.
If you still find you have lingering questions or want to become a DIY home improvement pro, the Home Blog offers all of the resources to help you get there.
Improve Your Garage Door Opener Performance
Here are some of the finishing touches that will actually improve the performance of your garage door opener.
Adjust the Sensitivity of the Opener
The garage door opener responds to sensitivity to help it open and close properly. Adjusting the sensitivity of your garage door opener can help your door open and close more quickly.
If you find that your door is much too sensitive, this can be from a build-up of debris on the sensor. This can trick the sensor into thinking there is an obstruction.
The sensitivity of the garage door is put in place to ensure it doesn’t close on anything. Keeping it clean will ensure that all of the safety measures are working properly, and it will close all the way.
Test the Door Balance
The balance of the garage door can determine how long it will last. You should be able to open your garage door about halfway manually, with it staying in place to the height you opened it.
If the door doesn’t stay in place when you open it, this can be a sign that the springs are stretched out. A properly balanced door won’t need to work so hard to open and close and, in turn, will last much longer.
Keep the Speed Running
One of the biggest complaints about garage doors over time is the speed at which they open and close. After a lot of use, your garage door may start opening and closing much more slowly.
This speed reduction can be incredibly frustrating if you rush to get somewhere. Instead of waiting a full minute for the door to open, maintaining the garage door opener can ensure that the speed stays consistent over time.
When it comes to maintaining your home, you should always keep your garage door opener in mind. Taking an hour or two twice a year can mean the difference between a quick garage door opening or hiring a professional to fix it when it breaks. Following this DIY guide can help you save money and enjoy the luxury of a perfectly functioning garage door opener.