Your garage door may very well be one of the most often used appliances in your house. How many times a day does it go up and down? Probably at least a few times a day, as you leave for work and return at the end of the day, and maybe much more often if you, like many homeowners, use the garage door as the primary entrance to the home. But how often do you really need repairs or take the time to give your garage door needed maintenance? Probably not that often. In fact, you may not have the first idea how to begin fixing a garage door problem, and your first instinct may be to call a repairman when your door won't open or it's making too much noise. However, there are some garage door repairs that are simple enough for most homeowners to handle themselves. Take a look at a few garage door problems that you can easily solve yourself.
Unstick a Frozen Garage Door
If there was ever a time to be grateful for a garage, it's when it's cold and snowy outside. Instead of scraping ice off your windows and trying to warm up your car while you're shivering, you can just step from your house into your garage, get in your car, open the door, and drive off. However, it can be especially frustrating if your garage door refuses to open on a snowy winter morning. What causes that?
If your door opened and closed just fine the night before, chances are that your garage door opener hasn't suddenly broken down overnight. On particularly cold days, it's possible for your garage door to simply freeze shut. Luckily, this is a pretty easy fix. Your best bet is to use a heat gun or a de-icing product like rock salt to melt the ice that's securing your garage door shut. In a pinch, you can break out your hair dryer to melt the ice.
Avoid chipping away at the ice with tools, because if you're not careful, you could accidentally damage the door in the process. Once the ice has melted, you should have no trouble opening the door. Before you drive away, though, take the time to dry up any moisture underneath the garage door – this will prevent the same problem from occurring again.
Fix a Door That Won't Close
Has this ever happened to you? You come home, park your car in the garage, and hit the button to close the garage door. The door goes all the way down to the floor – then reverses course and goes all the way back up. The same thing happens over and over again, even though you've checked to be sure that there's nothing obstructing the door or blocking the electric eye near your floor.
This is where many people give up and call the repairman, assuming that the garage door opener has a short circuit or some other complicated electrical problem. But this is actually a simple fix you can perform yourself. The problem is that your travel settings need to be adjusted – when your door bounces back after hitting the floor, that means that your garage door opener is reading the floor as an obstruction, not the door's destination.
The means of adjusting the travel settings are different for every brand of opener, but you'll be looking for a set of two screws, knobs, or trip levers on your opener. Turn the screws or knobs or adjust the levers in small increments, testing after each adjustment, until you find a setting that allows your garage door to shut normally.
Silence a Noisy Door
What about a door that simply makes too much noise? This can happen gradually over time. Your door starts out nice and quiet, and with use it gets louder and louder, until you realize that it's become downright disruptive. Does this mean that it's time for a replacement door?
Probably not. If the door is otherwise working correctly, you can usually solve a noisy door problem on your own. Start by tightening all of the nuts on the door and track. These loosen over time and this can cause the door to become noisy. If that doesn't do the trick, your metal rollers may need to be lubricated or replaced. Replace them if lubrication doesn't work or if they've never been replaced and look worn out.
You can choose nylon rollers instead of metal ones to further muffle the noise, but be warned that you'll pay more for nylon – they cost around $60 for a full set, and metal rollers should cost less than $40. You may also need to replace the hinges that hold the rollers in place. Once you've reduced the noise levels, regularly checking your garage door for loose parts and applying lubrication where needed can keep the door from becoming noisy again.
Keep in mind that there are some garage door repairs that you should never attempt on your own – replacing a torsion spring, for instance, can be dangerous for an untrained homeowner. You can save money by performing simple repairs yourself, but always call your garage door repair company for repairs that are hazardous or especially complex. For more information, contact a local garage door company like Girard's Garage Door Services.