The following tips will save you hundreds of dollars over the next few years:
1. Make sure the force settings on your garage door opener will stop or reverse your door if it encounters more than 20 lbs. of resistance. Besides being a safety issue, this will prevent the electric opener from damaging the door, especially the top section. The most common type of damage done to a door is when the opener breaks the top section, a very expensive repair (and sometimes the door is no longer manufactured, forcing you to buy a whole new door).
Never increase the force setting on your opener if the door will not open, you probably have a broken spring, or a broken torque master! Top section damage will result.
2. If your door does not have a strut on the top section, have it reinforced to prevent damage. If your door is obstructed or bumped while in motion, the top section could crack or buckle. If this happens, it will cost $150 – $700 (depending on what type of door, and if it has windows) to fix.
3. If your door has cheap plastic rollers (black plastic with no wheel bearings, comes standard an almost all steel garage doors), have them changed to a nylon, bearing roller that lets it run smoothly and dampen vibration. Cheap rollers gradually lead to damage to the top section and gears in the electric opener that is very expensive to fix once it becomes noticeable. This happens because they don’t roll very well, and basically drag along the track creating extra resistance. A good set of rollers costs very little compared to the cost of replacing an electric opener or damaged top section.
4. Never place anything next to the door where it could interfere with a moving door, lean against the track, or end up on the ground underneath the door.
5. Never place anything on a shelf overhanging the horizontal track where it could be bumped by a moving door. A garage door is most vulnerable to “dumping” (when the cables spill off the drums) when it is almost open, because the springs are holding very little tension on the cables at this point. Even a light bump at this point can end up causing a problem that costs hundreds of dollars to fix or even destroys the entire door!
6. If you plan to install shelving above the door, make sure it is at least one foot above the spring line and open door. At some point, the springs that lift your door will break from normal use, and low shelving can make it impossible to disassemble the torsion system and replace the springs. You don’t want to have to take your shelves down to get the door fixed!
7. Your opener should have a solid mount, it should not move side to side if you push on it with your hand. A sloppy installation will take years off the life of your opener. Having it re-installed properly is cheap compared to replacing it when it is only a couple years old.
8. Inspect your door once a month to identify any worn parts before they break and lead to serious damage that is much more expensive to fix. Go to the “maintenance” section of this website to find out how to inspect your door.
9. Your garage door opener should be installed so that the boom is no more than 5 inches above the door. If the opener is too high, it applies downward force on the top section as the door begins to travel (instead of forward force), eventually causing it to break. If your opener is too high, have it reinstalled, it is much cheaper than replacing a top section!
10. If your door won’t come down, check to make sure that the safety eyes are not misaligned, and that the wiring to them is connected and hasn’t been broken or damaged. It is simple low voltage wiring that can be spliced with pliers and electrical tape. If you call a professional repair company out and all they do is align the eyes, it will still cost you close to $100 for the service charge and you will feel like a dummy!
If the door will not come down when you use a remote, but will come down if you hold down the wall button, the problem is probably the safety eyes. Make sure there is nothing obstructing the door before you try this.
Also, direct sunlight on the safety eyes can prevent the door from coming down! For most homes where it is a problem, it only lasts for a week or two each year, and occurs at about the same time each day.
11. If one of your remotes or wireless keypad stop working, try replacing the batteries before you call a repairman. If all remotes quit at the same time, check to make sure the lock feature on your wall button is not activated, or that the safety eyes are not misaligned.
12. Never try to run your electric opener more that 3 times in a row, or more that 5 times in 15 minutes, it could overheat, or blow up the capacitor.
13. Check to make sure your door is “balanced”. A door that is badly out of balance can destroy an electric opener. Or, the electric opener(If the force settings are not set properly) can destroy the top section of the door.