Common Winter Time Garage Door Problems

The drop in temperature that accompanies the winter months can adversely affect the functionality of your automatic garage door system. Depending on where you live and how extreme the winter months are, the severity of these effects on your automatic garage door system will vary. We are going to briefly outline some of the common issues that you may run into will old man winter is in town.

An Excess of Grease

It is possible to experience this during any time of the year, but it will be a bigger problem during the winter time. Having too much grease on the tracks of your automatic garage door system can cause your door to move out of proper alignment which can do damage to your entire system if it remains off track for an extended period of time.  Finding the right lubrication level for the winter months is key to avoiding complications from excess grease.

Metal Can Possibly Contract

When the temperature passes a certain threshold on the cold side, metal begins to contract, which cause its shape to change to varying degrees. Most of the moving components of your automatic garage door system are metal and are created according to the specifications of your system. When the components begin to change shape, even slightly, the system’s functionality loses efficiency. There is no way to completely prevent the contracting of metal from occurring, but you can lessen the effect by liberally applying oil to your springs, screw-drive and ball bearings. Make sure to keep this oil away from the tracks to avoid them developing excess grease.

Thickening of grease

The root of this problem is the fact that most lubricating grease is designed to function in extremely high levels of heat. When they heat up they thin somewhat which enhances their lubricating properties. The problem with this is that extremely cold temperatures have the opposite effect, causing the grease to thicken and lose lubricating efficiency.

Rollers Getting Off Track

During the winter you’re at greater risk of experiencing your rollers getting off track. This can potentially be caused by a combination of the above issues coming to pass. If your rollers do become off track, your garage door can become a hazardous and the issue should be attended to as soon as possible.

Slow Automatic Garage Door Operation

If it gets cold enough, the motor for your automatic garage door system can be adversely effected and run noticeably slower than usual. Some automatic garage openers are not designed for temperatures below the freezing level, which could damage them if too extreme. Many garage door openers have a torque setting on them that you can adjust. If you notice that your garage door is opening slowly, adjust the torque setting in small increments until you notice the door opening at or near its usual pace.

Broken Springs

Springs are very important components to any automatic garage door system. During the winter, the cold temperatures can weaken the springs to the point that they actually break.  If you suffer one or more broken springs your garage door system will not function properly.

Sensor Damage

Cold temperatures can also damage the sensors that prevent your garage door from opening or closing properly. The sensors are a safety measure to prevent the garage door from closing on any object or person who may be in the path of the closing door. Damaged sensors can lead to injury and damaged property, including your automatic garage door system itself.

Torsion Springs 101

Torsion springs are a central component to the successful operation automatic garage door systems. While many of us utilize automatic garage door systems, few of us understand the ins and outs of how they work. This blog entry is going to go over the basics of torsion springs and how they work.

Torsion springs store the tension created by the opening and closing of your garage door. This stored tension helps lift the door and reduce the pressure put on your system by its everyday operation. These springs are normally mounted horizontally above the garage door and are made of material that is more dense than average springs in order to adequately store a large amount of mechanical energy.

Torsion springs naturally weaken over time as the garage door is opened repeatedly. As this happens the spring becomes less and less effective. If the spring reaches the point of breaking then your automatic garage door will not open. It is important to keep tabs on the condition of your torsion spring as it is central to being able to continue utilizing your automatic garage door system. The average life cycle of torsion springs is between five and seven years or roughly 10,000 open/close cycles. It seems like a big number, and it definitely is, but it shows there is a limit and using your automatic garage door system should be moderated.

There are dangers associated with garage door torsion springs. If the garage door is in the open position and the spring experiences failure, the door can come crashing down in a sudden fashion which could potentially injure any person positioned underneath. The biggest danger that can come with torsion springs is associated with trying to repair or replace them using the ‘do it yourself’ approach. Special tools are needed in order to effectively and safely change or repair torsion springs. If you do not have the proper equipment you are at risk of suffering potentially severe injuries as torsion springs repair involves many dangerous components that must be properly handled.

Pros and Cons of Steel and Vinyl Garage Doors

Steel

The Good:

  • Steel has a sleek look that is easy to maintain as steel garage doors are very easy to clean and keep up.
  • There are numerous options available when it comes to the style of steel garage doors. Many sizes and aesthetic styles reside in the realm of steel garage doors.
  • Maintenance is a breeze with steel doors. Extreme temperatures don’t damage them and they don’t peel, split or splinter like organic materials can do.

The Bad:

  • Denting is possible with still garage doors and it can happen pretty easily.
  • Steel doors offer poor insulation from the outside elements. They are thin and need to have dedicated insulation installed in order to offset this trait.

 

Vinyl

The Good:

  • Vinyl is very cost effective, especially for how durable and long lasting the material is.
  • Vinyl is also very convenient when it comes to maintain your garage door. Vinyl is made from a composite of different materials and the composite is all the same color which means color touch ups will not be necessary. Vinyl also cannot rust.
  • Vinyl is a very durable material that is resistant to splitting and splintering. When it comes to weather resistance Vinyl is very durable and can withstand extreme temperatures on both the hot and cold ends of the temperature spectrum. Coats can be applied to prevent the color from fading over time.

 

The Bad:

  • Vinyl garage doors lack insulation and are not going to do a good job of keeping your garage insulated without a dedicated insulation installation.
  • Once you have chosen a color for your vinyl, you are stuck with that color for the lifetime of the garage door. Painting the doors can be tough as the old color can show through or alter the finished look of the new coat so much that the door won’t match the color of the rest of your house.

Garage Door Maintenance Tips for the Winter

We are in the middle of an uncharacteristically cold winter in the Phoenix area and it may get even colder as the season trots along.  Cold weather has a unique effect on your automatic garage door system and the way you approach maintenance during the winter should be adjusted accordingly to match the unique challenges that you will be presented with. There are ways you can prepare before winter gets into full swing and there are steps you can take throughout the winter to ensure that your automatic garage door system stays in top shape and functions efficiently.

  1. Make sure your garage door(s) are cleaned thoroughly before the winter. Any buildup and debris should be moved to discourage any rust damage that may develop as the season progresses.
  2. Weather stripping on the bottom of your garage door(s) should be cleaned as well. Make sure that it is in great condition on top of being clean. Cracks, tears, missing chunks, and parts that may be poorly attached should all be addressed immediately in order to keep your garage dry and free of the winter air entering.
  3. Clean your garage windows and check on their overall condition. If you have any damaged windows, you should replace them as soon as you possibly can. Making sure you have strong windows that are thoroughly sealed. If you have a cracked window, wind and precipitation can severely compromise the integrity of the window.
  4. Check on the condition of the moving parts associated with your automatic garage door system. Making sure there is no excess buildup of grease and making sure all components are in good working order is highly recommended. You may need to call in a professional if cables and torsions springs are in need of repairs or adjustments.
  5. Make sure the batteries in your remotes are fresh.

Get Festive With A Garage Door Holiday Display

If you are the festive type, no doubt you are excited for the holiday season that is upon us. Odds are you are creating a magnificent display to express your holiday joy to the world (or your neighborhood….). Odds are you are looking for a way to separate your display from the rest so it can stand out amongst your neighborly competition. One way to do so is to incorporate your garage door as a screen for a graphical Christmas display from a projector. Having a dynamic, animated display on the front of your house will definitely grasp the attention of passersby, scoring you those all important holiday awe points. Here are some tips to turn your garage door into a projector screen effectively.

Make sure your projector has the proper features: What you are mainly looking for is speed control and a standby timer. Speed control allows you to control the speed of the projection across your garage door surface. The standby timer is the second key feature that needs to be present. Having the ability to adjust the standby timer will ensure that your graphical projection will not be turned off unexpectedly during peak viewing hours.

You may want to do some things to smooth out the surface of your garage door, if it’s not flat. Not having a flat surface could distort the image, so it’s really a matter of preference.

You will need weather proofing in place to protect your projector. Moisture and cold temperatures can be harmful to outdoor projectors. Some companies supply weatherproof housing for the projectors they build, but you may also consider building one of your own if that is not the case for the manufacturer of your particular projector. Projectors are not cheap, so you definitely want to make sure that it is well protected while it is exposed to the winter elements.

Do You Have An Unbalanced Garage Door?

Automatic garage door systems are simple in concept, but the system is more complex than most give them credit for being. Any automated system with multiple moving parts needs to be calibrated from time to time to make sure every moving element is in-line and operating efficiently. One thing that can occur with your automatic garage door is your garage door becoming unbalanced. If your garage door is in fact unbalanced, it can present increasing levels of danger as long as it goes unchecked.

Signs that your door may be unbalanced

There will be signs, or ‘symptoms’ if you will, that indicate that your garage door may be unbalanced. Some of those signs are:

  • Your garage door appears to be uneven. The visual test is the easiest to apply and also one that tells you the severity of the issue because if you notice your garage door being uneven with a visual test you know that you need to fix it asap and you will be 100%
  • If you open your garage door manually and the door starts to close on its own is a dead giveaway that you have an unbalanced garage door.
  • If your garage door starts making new noises as you open and close it your door is starting to become unbalanced. The noises may be due to a cable or spring that is failing.
  • If your door just outright won’t open, it is severely unbalanced

 

The Dangers Presented By Unbalanced Garage Doors

When your garage door is in the process of becoming unbalanced it could have a cable or spring failing that could snap at any minute which could cause the door to come down on a family member, pet or vehicle. Keep your family, pets and vehicles by keeping tabs on the condition of your automatic garage door system and making sure your garage door is balanced.

Garage Door System Types

There are many different options out there when it comes to garage doors.  This blog entry will be covering the pros of 3 different types of garage doors in order to help anybody who may be in the market for a new garage door make an informed and confident decision.

Chain Drive Doors:

The most common and tried and true option on the garage door market,  chain drive doors are moved along a track and a bike-style chain that is used to move the trolley that the door is attached to.  These doors tend to produce noise due to the nature of the operation and metal on metal contact.  This lends them to being preferred for garages that are not attached to the main home.  These doors can be made quieter with upgrades to the base system.

Screw Drive Doors:

Screw-drive garage door systems utilize a trolley that travels along a steel rod that is threaded and is rotated by a motor when the door is opened or closed.  No belts or chains are needed for this style of garage door. The simplicity in the design of this garage door system is a reason why they are desired. A lower number of moving parts in contrast to other types of garage door systems allows the potential for repairs and replacements to be significantly lower.

Belt Drive Doors:

Belt drive doors are the luxury choice of garage door systems. The carry a low noise level because they use a belt instead of the chain used in Chain drive style doors. The lack of metal on metal contact significantly lowers the noise level.  The belts are usually made from rubber, polyurethane  or fiberglass. The efficiency and low noise level make these a premium style that carries extra cost for the extra benefits.