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When Is It Time To Replace Your Garage Door Springs?

when is it time to replace your garage door springs

As of 2017, 63% of all houses have a garage or carport. Garages, especially ones attached to the home, offer homeowners convenience, safety, and security when leaving and returning home.

But what good is your garage if the door springs have gone bad? Without proper maintenance, your garage loses all its glamour and glory.

Not sure how to tell if your garage door springs need replacing? You’ve come to the right place. We have the most popular signs it’s time to replace your garage door springs – check it out below.

Types of Garage Door Springs

If you’re new to learning about garage doors, you may not know there is more than one type of spring. You’ll need to know about both to determine which kind you have and the signs each one needs replacing.

Torsion Springs

Made with tightly wound coils of metal (also known as torque springs), torsion springs are the most common type of garage door springs. These springs cause the torque which lifts the garage doors up.

There are two main ways to tell if you need to replace your torsion springs. The first is to disconnect your garage door opener and manually raise the door. If the door doesn’t stay in an upright position by itself, your torsion springs aren’t doing their job.

While your garage door opener is disconnected, move the door to a mid-level position – this is halfway between fully open and fully closed. If the door stays in this position, you don’t need to worry about replacing the torsion springs yet.

But if the door begins to lower on its own or feels heavy, it’s a sign the springs are starting to break. In contrast, if the door feels unusually light, you might need to check the sizing of your torsion springs for your garage door.

Torsion springs last anywhere from four to nine years. This depends on how often you use your garage door, though.

Extension Springs

Extension springs are the most common residential garage door spring. Two extension springs, which are attached to the garage door tracks, run perpendicular to the door. Although most extension springs come in pairs, some garage door openers have one single spring between the tracks.

When your garage door opens or closes, the springs expand and contract. As the springs expand, they absorb energy. Once the door closes, they “charge”, releasing the energy when the door opens again.

You can test to see if your extension springs need replacing in almost the same way you test torsion springs, though there are ways to see if your springs have already broken.

The first way is to look at the physical springs – are there any gaps in the coils? If so, this is a sign the steel the springs are made from has given out. This means they can’t create the tension they need to open or close the garage door.

You can also check to see if both sides of your garage door are still aligned. If one side appears higher or lower than the other, one of the extension springs have given out and can’t open or close that side of the door anymore.

Other Signs

In addition to the specific signs for each spring mentioned above, there are a few more worth mentioning. If you notice:

Rust or Corrosion

If you don’t regularly maintain your garage doors, there’s a good chance corrosion and rust have weakened the garage door springs. Once this has set in, your springs needing replacement aren’t far behind.

This is easily avoidable with regular checkups and garage door maintenance.

Loss of Elasticity

Think about how often you use your garage doors. Do open and close the door every morning and night when you leave and return for work? Or is it mostly used for storage with the occasional opening?

Depending on how often you open and close your doors will determine how stretched your springs get. If you use your garage door on a daily basis, those springs are getting more and more stretched every day.

Over time, those springs will lose their elasticity – just like a stretched rubber band. If you’ve had our garage door springs for a while, it’s a good idea to check how their elasticity is doing.

You can do this by disconnecting the garage door opener and manually open the door. As we mentioned earlier with torsion springs, if the door can’t stay open by itself, they’ve probably lost their elasticity.

Unusual Noises During Operation

Do you hear loud and unusual noises when you try to open and close your garage door? Anything making noises which have you questioning their performance is worth checking out.

Garage door springs shouldn’t make any moaning or grinding noises. Although you can remedy this with by lubricating them, it will only fix the problem temporarily. It’s likely you’re springs are damaged and need immediate replacing.

Uneven Opening

We mentioned the alignment of your garage door earlier in the article. Take some time to watch your garage door open and close. Does one side move faster than the other?

If so, one spring has already checked out with the other not far behind. Any uneven opening or closing is a clear sign you need to replace your garage door springs.

When to Replace Garage Door Springs

Having a garage door opening is one of the most convenient parts of owning a home. It makes for safe comings and goings, plus protects your car or personal belongings from outside weather.

But if your garage doors stop working, it’s likely due to your garage door springs needing replacement. Luckily there are plenty of signs to tell in advance if you need to replace the springs, most of which we covered in the content above!

Want to join the automatic garage door community or think you need service on your garage doors? Make sure to check out our residential services and see how we can help!

Extending The Life Of Your Old Garage Door

extending the life of your old garage door

The garage may only be a small portion that makes up your home, but over the course of the day, it does so much. If you’re like most folks, you take your car in and out pretty frequently, at least twice a day, if not more.

All the use your old garage door gets means that wear and tear develop over time. For an old garage door, this means the chances of breaking down increases.

There are ways to preserve your garage and keep in working in prime condition. Read on and learn more about various tricks that help extend the life of your garage door with only a little effort on your behalf.

Use with care when dealing with an old garage door

Using care is obvious, but many people don’t realize the importance of going easy with their garage door.

That means exercising care by:

  • Not opening and closing the door repeatedly
  • Not allowing children to play with the garage door opener

The less you open your garage door unless absolutely needed, the longer it’ll last. If you have an alternative door to use when going in to get something stored in the garage (and not driving anywhere), it’s even easier to maintain the life of the door.

This might sound like a difficult habit to break, but once you get into a routine of only using your garage door when absolutely necessary, you’ll avoid further problems and keep it around longer.

If you live in an area where cold weather affects your buildings, pay attention to how you can keep your garage in prime condition. Learn how to winterize your garage and keep it safe, no matter how much the temps drop.

Evaluate the balance once a year on your garage door

Every garage door has a balance that keeps it working properly. This allows the door to open and close automatically, without you worrying about it not closing fully.

Evaluating the balance on the garage door is important because it prevents further problems from occurring. Catching the problem early on means it’s easier to fix and usually cheaper.

It’s time to have a professional look at your door if you notice problems such as:

  • The garage door doesn’t close fully
  • The door isn’t closing evenly
  • There are issues getting it open

There’s no reason for your old garage door to not work properly if there are issues with the balance. All it needs is TLC from a professional who knows how to fix them, and you’ll find it works as good as new.

Ensure the system stays clean and check performance

Garage door systems can run into problems if they haven’t gotten cleaned recently. Similarly, noticing an issue in the performance and neglecting to have to fixed contributes to further problems.

Because your garage door is outside, it withstands the elements and a variety of other things that could get into the system. Dirt, gravel, and other elements sometimes blow into garages and can get into the system.

Make sure your garage area is kept free of birds nest, spider webs, and other forces of nature that create issues when left unattended. Doing so prevents a host of problems and makes your life easier.

Check out the performance and make sure everything works normally. Don’t just do a quick once-over when you’re pulling out.

Make time to open the garage door and examine if it’s slow, not pulling back all the way, or showing signs of neglect somewhere. Old garage doors that are starting to show signs of neglect in certain areas cause further problems and create strain.

Once your garage door is straining, it’s putting pressure on other parts, causing certain areas to pull double duty to get the door open or closed. Correct it early on before it becomes an issue, and you won’t need to worry about having to replace the whole door later on.

if you’re looking for a change of pace, check out our blog on high-speed doors, and see if this is the best option for you.

Have a professional assess your garage door

Many people put off having a professional come to their house to check out how everything is working. They usually find it an unnecessary expense and want to save money, thinking nothing is wrong.

This sounds like a good idea, but it’s important to have everything checked out for your safety. A garage door that works properly protects you and your family from having items stolen, keeps your cars safe and dry, and prevents unwanted visitors from getting in.

Make time to have someone come out and check on your garage door. If you notice a small problem, you’ll prevent it from turning into something bigger. Garage doors that don’t close properly are dangerous to have around, especially if you have children or pets.

Besides that, you won’t have to tread carefully and worry about how much longer your door lasts, or take care of maintenance yourself, with the help of a professional.

Make getting your garage door serviced an annual checkup, and see how simple it is to keep this extension of your home safe.

Learn more

When you think of your garage door as an extension of your home, and an important storage unit for the whole family, you understand the importance of keeping your old garage door in working order. Checking for problems and calling a professional when routine maintenance is needed helps you preserve the life of your door.

If you’re looking for a serviceman to help get your garage back on track, troubleshoot problems, or want a new door installed, let us help. Contact us, and see how we can assist you in keeping your “second home” in prime condition.

Garage Door DIY: Do’s and Don’ts

garage door diy dos and donts

Want to save money this year?

Try garage door DIY maintenance and installation. This is one of the easiest ways to spend less around the house, so you’ll have more money for the things you really want.

However, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach garage door DIY work. If you do things right, you’ll have a garage door that looks and works nicely for years to come. If you do things wrong, you can damage your home and even put yourself at risk for injury.

We’ve compiled this guide to garage door DIY dos and don’ts, so you can approach this DIY project with confidence. Keep reading to learn what you need to know!

Garage Door DIY Do’s

These are the things that you can safely do on your own to keep your garage doors working properly. If it’s on this list, you don’t need to call a professional.

1. Reduce Noise

You can easily reduce the sound of a loud garage door on your own. The trick may be finding out just what is causing the noise.

You can try updating the rollers from steel to nylon to help cut down on noise issues. The friction of steel rollers on steel tracks is a common source of the noise.

Next, try lubricating every part if you hear squeaking sounds. Unlubricated springs, pulleys, rollers, and cables can all add extra noise when the door opens and closes.

Tighten any nuts and bolts that might be rattling. If you notice rust on hinges or other moving parts, replace them to reduce scraping sounds.

Next, check the motor. If the motor is not running correctly, you’ll get extra noise. For a quieter motor, swap out a chain-driven motor for a belt-driven motor.

Of course, your garage door will never be perfectly silent. But you can reduce the noise it makes using these tricks.

2. Open a Closed Door

If your garage door won’t open, chances are good you can fix it yourself.

First, check the door’s power supply. If the door opener isn’t plugged in or otherwise connected to power, that could be your problem.

Next, check the safety eyes. These are placed a foot or two from the bottom of the door on either side of it, and look like cameras. The safety eyes face each other, so they can detect something blocking the door and prevent it from closing.

When the safety eyes aren’t working, your door may no longer open or close. Wipe off their lenses – it’s possible that a buildup of dirt is preventing them from working.

The sensors also need to be lined up to work properly. If a sensor was bumped or kicked, it may no longer be aligned with the other one. When the sensors are in line, their lights should come on.

Of course, if these tricks don’t work, you may need to call a professional. However, in the meantime, you’ll have to manually open and close your door. It’s important not to operate the garage door motor if the photo eyes aren’t working since they protect people from having the door accidentally close on them.

3. Paint and Stain

When your garage door needs a fresh coat of paint or stain, you can easily do it yourself.

In fact, a wooden door should get painted and stained annually to help prevent rot and damage. This is an easy maintenance task to do on your own.

Garage Door DIY Don’ts

These are the garage door issues that you should never attempt to fix on your own. If you have a problem on this list, get in touch with a professional.

1. Fix a Broken Spring

If one spring on the door breaks, you’ll actually need to replace both of them. The springs need to be working in tandem for the door to run properly. If one pulls more than the other, you’ll get a wobbly door or even one that doesn’t move.

Every garage door runs on springs, and every door can have a spring break on occasion.

However, you should never attempt to fix the springs on your own. These springs hold a surprising amount of tension. If one of them hits you with the force of all that tension, it can cause serious injury. Even if the spring appears to have lost all tension when it broke, it could still be holding some back.

2. Fix Bent or Broken Rollers

Your garage door has rollers to help it run nicely. If a roller gets bent, pops out, or otherwise breaks, you may no longer be able to open the door easily (or at all).

However, this isn’t a problem you can fix yourself. If not done correctly, trying to fix the rollers can result in your door falling on the ground – or worse, on you. Call in professional help for this issue.

3. Straighten a Bent Track

The track keeps your garage door traveling along the correct path so it can open and close. If that track gets bent, the door can no longer open as it should.

Many things can bend a garage door track. It can happen when the door malfunctions, or when the door is hit by a car or something else. This is another fix you can’t DIY – a professional will have the knowledge and tools needed to fix it.

4. Repair Broken Cables

Cables, like springs, hold a lot of tension for the door to work. Fixing a broken cable on your own can result in death or injury if a cable hits you with full force. Professionals know how to safely repair garage door cables and avoid injury.

What To Do When You Can’t Do-It-Yourself

Many garage door fixes can be safely and easily handled on your own. However, as you can see, the things that you shouldn’t do alone can be extremely dangerous. Never try one of these “don’ts” at home – there are plenty of qualified professionals who can help you.

Wondering where to look for a garage door maintenance professional? Contact us today – we can help.

4 Garage Door Fixes You Should Do Yourself

4-garage-door-fixes-you-should-do-yourself

While there are some general maintenance and garage door housekeeping tasks that are perfect DIY projects – like cleaning up the moving parts and tracks, upgrading or replacing the insulation, or lubricating the moving mechanical parts, there are other repair and replacement chores that are best left to the professionals. There are two reasons for this.

First, even today’s lighter and more flexible garage doors still weigh hundreds of pounds. Their size makes them cumbersome, unwieldy and unpredictable – and this makes for pretty dangerous situations. Secondly, most garage door manufacturer warrantees are only guaranteed if a licensed, professional garage door installer performs the heavier-duty repairs and maintenance tasks. Doing it on your own – meaning you can’t provide receipts for professional service later on – will most likely void your warranty.

Let the garage door professionals handle the following 4 garage door fixes

Here are 4 garage door repairs that are best left to professionals.

  1. Replacing torsion springs. While you may understand that a torsion spring packs a very powerful punch, there is nothing like experiencing it firsthand – and we don’t recommend it. If the torsion spring snaps off or breaks mid-repair, you will be seriously hurt at best and permanently injured at worst. Fortunately, most garage door manufacturers are migrating away from torsion spring technology in lieu of safer extension systems – but not all of them. Even if you opt to perform a DIY garage door repair, we advise paying the minimal amount it will cost to have a professional come out and perform the torsion spring work for you.
  2. Repairs that require specialized tools. Unfortunately, many garage doors have highly specialized parts that require highly specialized tools. Understandably, most homeowners have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars on specialty tools they’ll only use once or twice in a lifetime. Instead, they’ll try to make their own tools work. This is a bad idea. In addition to the risk of injury, there’s a very good chance you’ll damage the garage door and/or its parts – and these parts will no longer be covered under warranty since you aren’t a licensed garage door professional. Now, your garage door repair just got that much more expensive.
  3. Replacing a garage door. The good news about modern garage doors is that they are multi-layered, which makes them more efficient, reliable and insulated. The bad news is that they are also pretty cumbersome. The doors shift their weight and undulate into a new position with the slightest tip or shift on your end. If nothing else, don’t ever attempt to replace a garage door by yourself – it is definitely a two person job, and preferable three. However, we recommend paying the professionals for both of the aforementioned reasons. You will avoid injury – potentially serious injury – and you can be sure that your warranty will remain in place.
  4. A malfunctioning garage door opener. If the fix is easy, go ahead. If you can’t fix it in your first or second attempt, call it a day and call the pros. Garage doors can be very temperamental. If the repair isn’t automatic, you risk the door coming off its track while you’re up there on a ladder. Wielding a garage door that has fallen off its track, while balancing on a ladder, is darn near impossible and you risk serious injury or even fatality.

Are you in need of professional garage door repair? Give us a call here at R&S. We’ve provided professional, licensed garage door installation and repair in and around the Bay Area for more than two decades.

Garage Door Insulation

garage-door-insulation

Are you thinking about insulating your garage door before the winter hits? Good idea. These days, many homeowners use their garage for more than just storage; it’s a space where hobbyists, fall and winter sports enthusiasts and crafters can escape the bustle of the household and enjoy a little room all on their own.

In addition to increasing the comfort of your garage’s interior, garage door insulation can also save money on your heating and cooling expenses. Since garages are typically under-insulated, they can diminish interior comfort levels in the living spaces adjacent to the garage wall. This means your HVAC system has to work overtime in order to keep your home at the preferred thermostat setting.

Not sold? Consider that trials performed by garage door companies show that a garage door with R-18 insulation can keep a garage at least 10° F warmer in the cooler months and as much as 20°+ F cooler during the hot months. That’s a temperature change worth striving for.

Garage Door Insulation is a DIY Job

Unlike the majority of garage doors and replacements, which are best left to the professionals, upgrading the insulation on your garage door is a pretty simple DIY job.

Note: If your garage door is outdated and/or needs to be replaced, don’t waste your time on DIY insulation. Instead, replace your door with a new, efficient and already insulated version instead. Read, Is it Time to Replace That Garage Door?, to determine whether it’s time to invest in a new model.

If you plan to do the insulation yourself, here are a few tips to get you started.

Decide which garage door insulation kit is right for you

There are a few different options. The first and best, in our opinion, is an R-8 vinyl-faced fiberglass garage door insulation kit. It comes in kits for single garage doors, so you’ll probably need to purchase two or more kits. These panels are the highest insulation options in the DIY insulation market.

You also have the option of purchasing R-4 precut R-4 expanded polystyrene (EPS) panel foam kits. In our mellow climate, the R-4 insulation might be sufficient. However, even here in the Bay Area our nights and winters are cool enough that the R-8 kit is a better option – especially if your garage does double as a recreational or livable space.

Alternately, some homeowners choose to use 1 ½-inch thick foil-faced fire-rated extruded polystyrene. This option will slightly increase the R-value. However, your cuts need to be very exact with this product. If you haven’t done this before, this material isn’t the best DIY bet.

Wash & Dry Your Garage Door

Before getting started, make sure to wash the garage door panels with water and an all-purpose cleaner. Then rinse them with more fresh water and then them dry. A clean garage door will ensure your new insulation panels are installed properly and on a nice, clean surface –as they would be in a new garage door.

Measure Each Individual Panel to Ensure a Snug Fit

Don’t take the easy route with a one-size-fits-all approach. There can be slight variations in panel heights and widths that may not be discernible to the naked eye, but will really tick you off when you pre-cut a series of panels based on a single measurement – only the find some of them won’t stay put.

Instead, measure each panel individually – to be safe, add one-inch to both the width and the length as you measure and cut each panel. This way the panels will fit well, rather than loosey-goosey.

Once you’ve installed the retaining pins, fit the panels in place with the vinyl side facing away from the garage door.

Don’t Forget the Weather Stripping

Weather stripping is an essential component for a winter-proof garage. Bring your garage door measurements or the door manual with you so you get enough vinyl weather stripping to cover both the sides and top of your garage door. You will also need enough vinyl bottom seal to fit the track. If your garage door track is damaged, this might be a good time to replace it.

Once your insulation panels are in place, it’s time to install the replacement garage door weather stripping, making sure it will provide a tight fit even in strong wind and weather conditions.

Are you running out of time to complete your DIY insulation update? Contact us here at R&S and we’ll be happy to do it for you. Or, if your garage door is outdated, we’ll be happy to provide you with a free onsite estimate for a new automatic garage door, complete with top-quality insulation.

The Dangers of DIY Garage Door Repair

the-dangers-of-diy-garage-door-repair

A few of the most common garage door issues are easy to fix on your own – things like misaligned garage door photo eyes or sweeping the track free of debris. Others are not so simple. Anytime your garage door repair requires disassembly, manipulation of the door, or more in-depth parts replacement/repair we strongly advice calling a professional. We aren’t saying that to get your business, we’re saying that because we have seen more than our fair share of horror stories.

DIY garage door repair can be dangerous and the team at R&S always shudders when we get a call from a client who was injured after trying to repair their own door.

Avoid These Dangers By Using a Professional Garage Door Repair Company

Here are some of the fix-it items that can result in dangers to both you and your garage door.

A malfunctioning garage door opener. If it’s not something simple like the photo eyes causing your opener to malfunction, be very, very wary of trying to fix a malfunctioning opener. The garage door can be incredibly unpredictable, and this is dangerous. If the door happens to get off track, you can be thrown off balance from your stepping stool or ladder, or the sheer weight of the door can cause injury.

The spring of a torsion spring. There are still many reliable garage doors that open using a torsion spring system, rather than an extension system. To operate, the torsion spring is mounted horizontally above the garage door. The spring it wound up with the door is pulled down and that wound up energy is powerful. It’s used on the other side when you open the door, to help energize the door’s lift. If you wind up on the wrong side of a wound up torsion spring when it breaks, the force is violent and serious injury can occur.

Using the wrong tools. Garage doors have very specific mechanical parts and some of them require professional tools. These tools are not typically found in the average homeowner’s toolbox. This can lead to you running to the hardware store to purchase a tool you’ll never use again, or it can lead to you trying to manipulate the part to the best of your ability using the tools you have. This is a bad idea because not only can it lead to potential injury, it can also lead to a broken or damaged part, which puts you right back where you started.

A collapsed replacement garage door. Watch a YouTube video about replacing or installing a new garage door and it all looks so straightforward. The reality is quite different. First, it is at least a two person job, and both parties need to know what to do when. Second, garage doors are very heavy and modern residential garage doors – with their multi-layered construction – are cumbersome. One wrong move and the entire door can come crashing down, injuring yourself as well as the door. Assuming you remain unscathed, that damaged door will no longer fall under warranty because you violate the manufacturer’s recommendations by not using a professional installer. Now you’re injured, have a trashed garage door, and still have to fork out money for a new one and professional installation.

Replacing garage door panels. Here’s one that seems pretty simple at the outset; how hard is it to replace a garage door panel anyway? Well, first you may have problems getting your hands on the correct panel if you door is several years old. A professional garage door repair and installation company, on the other hand, can typically order one with a single call to a vendor. If you are able to get the correct panel, you still run into potential issues like door panels that break while you’re trying to install them, or cracking or chipping adjacent panels when you’re trying to remove/replace the damaged one. Worst of all, if the door manually malfunctions while you are in the midst of the repair, you risk the door opening and/or closing while you are in its path or near the tracks.

A painful fall. The number one leading cause of injury and deaths on the home front is falls. In almost all cases, a garage door repair will require standing on a ladder or elevated platform of some kind. If you get in over your head (pun intended) or make one wrong move, your fall can be life changing. No reasonable labor charge is worth that risk.

Don’t get too carried away in the DIY world. Dedicate those commendable intentions to the more risk-free home repairs – gosh knows there’s plenty of them – and honor your door’s manufacturer’s instructions. Contact a licensed garage door company. You’ll benefit from quick, accurate diagnosis and a timely repair.

R&S Erection of Concord, CA

2424 Bates Ave. Concord , CA 94520
(925) 671-7606 Fax: (925) 671-7621
License # 667038

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