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News From Austin TX Door

Icy Weather and Your Garage Door

February, 2011

One of the great things about Austin TX is our weather! Lately we have had extreme cold followed by 60 or even 70 degree weather. This rapid cycling causes garage door springs to break, overhead doors to bind, and garage door motors to act crazy.

The cold effects the door in many ways, from inciting metal fatigue, with springs, which causes them to break, to freezing your door to the jambs of the house. When springs break, there is a tremendous amount of potential energy that is released. Most garage doors weigh between 180-500 lbs and the springs are responsible for lifting the entire weight.

There are two types of springs, torsion and extension. Torsion springs are wound up on a torsion bar, and are the safest spring system for the average homeowner. When the spring breaks it unwinds, releasing the stored energy, and all of the parts are isolated on a 1" steel torsion bar. The flip side of this is that they are very dangerous to install. Common mistakes made include not releasing any additional stored energy, causing the rapid release of the tension. If any part of the body is near to the spring, the set screws have the power to cut flesh and bone like a buzz saw.

The other type of spring is called an extension spring. This spring stretches out on the sides of the door. When they break they slingshot off, and in many occasions have left holes in walls, cars, and refrigerators. This is the last preferable type of spring assembly, because the springs are completely independent of one another. This causes the door to shift back and forth when opening, and causes the door to jam if either of the springs relax.

There are many home owner serviceable parts, however springs have the probability of catastrophic damage and injury. NEISS, a government baked research department which gives statistical analysis on yearly injuries states there are 17,483 injuries caused by garage door springs yearly, mostly caused by improper tool selection and improper operational procedure. Check back for a video demonstration.

Troubleshooting Simple Garage Door and Garage Door Opener Issues

March 23rd, 2011

When problems occur with your garage or garage door opener, there are several simple solutions that may prevent you from spending your hard earned cash on a needless service call.

One of the basic steps is to ask our self, "Is it the garage door that has a problem or the garage door opener?

Most customers think of the door and the operator as one complete system. This assumption, however is incorrect. Your garage door is actually made up of two separate systems. When you have a problem, stop to think about what your door and opener are doing, or not doing.

Fo example, does the door move when the motor runs? If the door does not move at all, and you hear the motor running, it is more likely that the problem is with the garage door opener.

If the garage door moves, then there is one more simple way to diagnose the problem.

1. Disconnect the emergency release (this is usually done by pulling o the red cord hanging next to the bar, that looks like a J, that attaches the garage door opener to the garage door).

2. Step over to the door and try to move the door manually. The door should glide up and down without squeaks, rattles, and with force eual o the weight of a can of soda pop.

3. If the garage doo does not move freely, first lube the moving parts of the door with a high quality silicone lube (not grease!).

4. Next, look at the condition of all of the moving parts. This consists of the rollers (wheels) that ride in the tracks, springs, bearings, drums, and cables.

Rollers, when worn, usually make a clickety clack sound, like a train passing in front of your car. There can also be a wobble between the stem and the wheel. If either of these issues are present, the parts usually need to be replaced. The cheapest form of roller consists of a plastic wheel with no bearings on a steel stem. This type of roller is carried by Home Depot and Lowe's. This product is the cheapest, and is generally installed in builder grade doors. This type of garage door roller causes the most service issues by increased friction, due to the lack of bearings.

Most consumers don't realize that an average residential double door (16) generally weighs 10-300 lbs. Imagine the drag that the garage door opener feels as it struggles to move your door without bearings.

5. Check the cables, are they frayed, or kinked?

6. Next, draw your eyes to the springs, is there a separation in the garage door spring that looks unnatural? Now you can decide if the problem is in the door or opener.

To review, it can be an opener problem even if the motor runs, if door runs smoothly and is balanced in the up, down and middle positions.

As always, diagnosing the problem is very helpful when trying to figure out what kind of service you need, if any at all. Keep in mind that although it may look like a simple repair, it is always safer to call a garage door service company before attempting to make any repairs yourself.

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