Tag: Garage Door Opener

Installing a Garage Door Opener

Garage Door OpenerI just finished installing a new garage door opener. Although it took a few hours and a second pair of hands, the actual installation was pretty straight forward. My old garage door opener had lasted for almost 22 years. Although still working it was beginning to be a little temperamental. I knew it was on its last legs so to speak. I asked for a new one for a Christmas gift and finally got around to installing the new garage door opener in July. This post is to talk about my experience and how I saved the installation fee.

Removing the Old Garage Door Opener

It is always easy to remove things and take them apart, in most cases. It certainly was in this case as well. However I did do a little bit of planning so that avoided removing pieces of the old installation that I was going to need with the new opener. This made the job a lot easier as well. Basically on the garage door itself there is a bracket that is used to attached the opener to the door. This was saved and reused. The motor portion hung from the ceiling with a series of metal braces. Although not perfectly adapted for the new opener, I was able to reuse all of the mounting brackets and hardware without having to remove it from the ceiling.

Follow the Instructions

This is really the best advice that we can give at this point. In my case they were step by step and easy to follow. We are not going to quote them here since every door opener will be different. One thing we can say is that you should read ahead and understand the big picture before starting. Have all of the tools you need to have close by and arrange for someone to give you a hand at a critical time when it comes to physically hanging the motor and track.

There is a lot of preparatory work you can do ahead of time. The biggest time consumer for me was running all of the new wiring. I removed the old wiring and installed the controls, but then you have to run the new wire in as well. This is recommended since you want to avoid any potential problems with old wires that might be corroded or damaged in some manner.

My old garage door opener did not have sensor to detect an object that was blocking the door from closing. Sensors must be installed a foot from the ground and wires run back to the motor. These sensors will stop the door from closing if there is any kind of object blocking the opening. These sensors also turn the lights on if you walk between them, which is a really nice security feature at night when your garage is dark and you want to avoid obstacles that could have been left behind in the way.

Ask for Help to Mount the Motor and Track

Once I was ready, I asked one of my neighbors for a hand to hold the ladder and lift the track up to me until I could permanently attach it to the mounting brackets. This took about 5 minutes of work and about 25 minutes of chatting about the news and people on the street. Although interesting, this can be a time waster, especially if you are in a hurry to get the job done.

That’s about it. As we mentioned earlier read the instructions from cover to cover before starting, plan your work and reuse as much of the mounting brackets as you can to make the job easier if you are replacing an old garage door opener. This is definitely a do it yourself kind of job for the average person with the right tools.  Take your time and be safe – unplug the old opener before you start working and get someone to hold your ladder when you are on it.

Comments about your experience of installing a garage door opener are welcome.

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Fixing Garage Door Openers

Maintenance of garage door openers and fixing Garage Door Openers are not a big issue for most people. These units are installed by a professional usually and once installed, there is not much that needs to be done with Fixing Garage Door Openersthem. Most will last from 5 to 20 years, some even longer without ever being touched, while others will need some sort of repair or adjustment from time to time.

Maintenance of Automatic Garage Door Openers

As we said there is not much to do, however when you are doing your quarterly check of your garage door ( see previous post) , it is a good idea to check a few things with respect to the automatic garage door opener as well. A simple check can add years to the system if bolts that are loose are tightened and the chain is working properly.

  • check the batteries in the remotes that you use and replace them if required.
  • check the safety stop of the garage door and adjust if needed. The safety stop  makes sure that your door will stop and re-open if it finds that there is something blocking the closing of the door. It is very important to make sure this is working, especially if there are small children around.
  • check that the door fully closes and  fully opens, adjust if required.
  • check the chain, and lubricate if needed. There are other types of mechanisms that are used besides chains. Check in your manual to confirm what kind of lubrication should be used and how often.

Check Your Garage Door Opener First

Automatic garage door openers have become quite inexpensive and as a result you probably will not be able to find anyone who will be wiling to take them apart to repair them.  Even if you can, by the time you pay to have it repaired, you will be pretty close to the cost of a new one.

There are a few basic things you should do to confirm your door opener is really not working before you decide to replace it.

  • check that the batteries for your controllers are working
  • try opening the door with other door openers, including the manual button that most people will have in their homes.
  • check that the power is on and that a circuit breaker has not tripped for some reason, preventing power getting to the garage door opener.
  • disengage the chain from the garage door and try operating the garage door opener. If it works there may be a problem with your door.

Once you have tried all of these steps, you may want to call a repairmen, however there is a big trade off here in terms of what the cost will be to replace the door opener vs repairing it. Most people will opt for replacement since they have become so inexpensive.

Repair or Replace

Of course there are always fancy multi featured door openers that can cost a great deal of money, however the inexpensive ones will cost somewhere between $100 to $200. You can barely get repairmen to show up for $100 these days and before you know it the cost of checking and repairing the system costs more than a new one.  In addition there is no guarantee that he will be able to fix it.

Our conclusion is that if you cannot fix it yourself, then you might as well put a new one in.

There is really not much to a garage door opener. Essentially there are 4 parts. The electric motor, the gear box which connects to the chain. There is a printed circuit board which controls the motor. There is another printed circuit board which receives the transmissions from the remotes. Most units will have these functions combined on one printed circuit board.

Can You Do the Repairs Yourself

If you are not handy at all then you probably will not want to attempt what we are suggesting in this next section. First of all disconnect the power to prevent any possibility of electrical shock. Secondly, remove the cover on the housing of the door opener. You should be able to observe the 4 components we discussed earlier.

At this point most people will only be able to observe whether there are any loose or frayed wires. They should check that the printed circuit board is properly seated in place. If you cannot see anything obvious, then you are looking at buying a new system. Repair any wires that are frayed or disconnected and then retry opening your door.

Anyone with PCB expertise will probably enjoy the challenge of testing the board. However this is way beyond what most consumers are willing to consider and are able to do.

Replacing a Garage Door Opener

There are many styles and types available. We suggest that you replace like for like if possible to make the entire job easier. There will be less adjustment of existing supports etc. You might even be able to use the same chain if it is still in good shape.

Hire a handyman if you are not comfortable with doing the installation of the automatic garage door opener yourself. This will cost you an additional fee.

Good luck with maintaining your door and saving money. Comments are welcome.


Maintaining Your Garage Door

Maintaining Your Garage Door is probably one of the last things you think about doing, however checking your garage door every 3 months can in fact save you a major repair bill or sometimes even having to replace the entire door. The garage Maintaining Your Garage Doordoor consists of several major parts. There are the panels which everyone sees, there are the rollers that slide inside the steel tracks and there are the steel springs which acts as counterweights and make it easy for you to lift the door to open it. These same weights will also stop the door from closing too quickly from it’s own weight. Many people will also have a garage door opener as well which opens or closes the door at the press of a button.

Maintaining Your Garage Door

Each of the panels are attached to each other by hinges which are bolted together and the rollers are held in place by clamps which are also bolted to the panels. So what are the basic maintenance things you need to do and why do you need to do maintenance at all on a garage door?

Catastrophic Failure of a Garage Door

Occasionally, I have seen doors come off the tracks and when powered by a garage door opener, the door continues to move and will get horribly bent out of shape. This situation can occur when the hinges become loose and separate from the panels or when the rollers which are held in place also fall off due to the bolts also becoming loose and falling away from the door. The garage door will quickly be pulled off course and as a result will be bent out of shape!

When this occurs there is very little chance that you will be able to restore the door to its original shape and will then need to invest in a new one which can cost hundreds of dollars. If you are lucky, the door will not bend and you can reattached the loose bolts, hinges and rollers and be back in business

How to Avoid Garage Failures

Routine checks are all it takes to avoid the above catastrophic failures. Start by checking each hinge on your door to confirm that the hinges and the bolts are not loose. If they are loose, use a suitable wrench to tighten up each bolt to ensure they are secure.

Next check each of the rollers. Make sure they are inside the tracks for both sides of the door and run freely inside these tracks. You may want to disconnect the automatic garage door opener from the door so that you can move the door by hand easily. Check your manual for the correct lubricant and add sufficient lubricant to the rollers to help them easily move back and forth in the tracks. Check the bolts that hold these rollers in place and make sure that they are all tight and secure. If not, tighten each one until they are secure and then recheck that the door moves freely in the tracks.

Check the Springs

A word of caution is in order for this aspect. These springs are high tension springs and depending on the location of the door can be extended increasing the tension levels. Check the springs and cables for any deterioration such as rust or fraying.  Sometime there will be surface rust, which you can ignore in most cases.  If any of the cables are frayed you should really make arrangements to get these fixed quickly before they fail and cause more serious problems.

Lubricate with Oil to Reduce Corrosion

This last step really depends on were you live. If your garage door is exposed to corrosive elements such as salt, particularly in the winter.  Salt filled snow can be tracked into your garage by your car. When it melts it runs out the opening of your garage. The salt water mix will come in contact with the bottom of your door. As with cars, the garage door will start to rust as the steel comes in contact with the salt water mix.

Consumers can purchase the same type of oil that is used to lubricate cars. This will help it resist corrosion in northern climates were salt is used on the roads. This oil comes in an aerosol can. It should be sprayed along the bottom inside of the door. This oil will spread and penetrate any surface scratches. It will protect the door from the effects of the salt.

Spraying on a regular basis will help to prolong the life of your door. Spraying with oil will delay the eventual corrosion that will take place.

Summary

These steps are relatively simple to do. If followed up on a regular basis will help to prolong the life of your garage door. These simple steps can ave you hundreds of dollars.

  • Check all hinges and bolts, tighten as required
  • Check all rollers and bolts, tighten as required
  • Review springs and cables for corrosion, replace as required
  • Spray bottom of garage door with preserving oil to delay the effects of salt corrosion.

Our next post will be about the garage door opener itself. We will cover how you can maintain it to ensure it lasts longer and save you money.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestion.


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