It is important to test the safety of your garage door regularly, and now that spring is here, it is the perfect time to inspect your door for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. Fluctuating temperatures, snow, and ice can all take a toll on your garage door during the winter, along with more frequent usage of your garage to keep your vehicles out of the harsh winter elements. Few people realize how dangerous faulty garage doors can be, and by performing these two tests, you can make sure your door is family-safe.
1. Test the Auto-reversing Sensor on Your Garage Door Opener
If you have an automatic garage door opener, then it should be equipped with a sensor that detects anything in the path of the door when it is closing. It is often called an external entrapment protection system, and it has been required by law to include one in all garage door openers manufactured during or after 1993. If you have garage door opener that was manufactured before this date, then it may or may not have this feature. If it doesn't, then it is time to upgrade to a new door or see if a garage door technician can add the feature to your door.
There are a couple of ways to test this sensor, and you should perform them both, since they only take a few minutes. First, push the button on your garage door opener remote to shut the door, then place your hand gently under the door mid-closing to see if it reverses and then begins opening. For the next test, place an item, such as a box, on the ground under the door when it is open, and then trigger the door to shut again. When the door hits the box or other item, it should also reverse and begin opening.
If your door fails either test, then check to see if your door-opener system has a "force setting" that you can adjust to a more sensitive level. Then, perform the tests again. If your door fails either test again, then see if a garage door repair technician can adjust your force setting feature to operate properly. If you don't have this setting, then it is time to upgrade your door-opener to a safer, newer version.
2. Inspect Garage Door Springs for Damage and Wear
Once you are sure that your garage door sensors are working properly, it is time to inspect your garage door springs. There are two types of springs in many garage doors -- torsion springs and extension springs. Not all garage doors have both types, and some doors have varying numbers of springs. If you are unsure of what types of springs you have and where they are located, then check your owner's manual to find out exactly which springs you have and where they are to make sure you don't miss any during inspection.
Be very careful when inspecting these springs, as the force of one snapping loose can cause severe injury on contact. This fact is also the reason why it is so important to inspect your springs; if one snaps loose unexpectedly near a person, then it can cause extreme injury. If one snaps near your vehicle, then it can also damage it.
Once you locate your garage door springs, the first thing you want to do is check for any gaps in the springs that indicate the springs are severely worn and need replacement immediately. The gaps don't have to be large, as even a small gap signals damage. Also, check for rusting and other general signs of damage that occur to metal over time.
Next, disconnect your garage door opener while your door is shut to test whether the springs are still doing their jobs. After the garage door opener is disconnected, open your garage door halfway. If your springs are working properly, then the door should stay halfway open and not close. If it slams shut or slowly closes, then that is a sign you need at least one new spring. Don't attempt to work on or replace garage door springs yourself, as they should only be handled by professional garage door repair technicians who are trained in handling them and their extreme forces properly.
Garage doors can be dangerous when they are not working properly or have broken or worn components. These two tests are very important to perform on a regular basis. If your door fails one or more of these tests, or you notice any other signs your garage door is damaged, then call a garage door repair technician to repair it before it causes injury to you or your family.