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Your home is likely the single biggest investment you’ll ever make, and your overhead garage door is probably the largest moving object in your home. Garage door care and maintenance are vital to ensure the safe operation of your door and years of dependable service.

Inspecting and testing your garage door needn’t be an onerous task. A few minutes spent each month – as part of a monthly home inspection routine – can save you headaches, hassles and expensive repairs down the road. Moreover, the steps are relatively simple.

First, a warning: the average garage door is large and heavy, and the servicing of it should not be taken lightly. Many of your garage door’s components are under high tension, and parts such as garage door springs should only be serviced by a qualified door technician. The purpose of your garage door inspection and testing is to bring awareness to potential issues.

Here’s an overview of the essential aspects of a basic residential garage door inspection. This list pertains to a standard home garage door attached to an electric garage door opener.

Lubrication: The moving parts of your door require regular lubrication. Not everything requires lubrication. Often, parts like plastic idler bearings do not require lubrication. Refer to your owner’s manual for “owner serviceable” recommendations from the manufacturer.

Manual Release Handle: Hanging from the motor rail – originating from your garage door opener – should be a manual release handle. The handle typically has a red label attached to it. Make sure the handle is easily accessible and hanging no more than six feet above your garage door. Pulling this handle will allow you to manually open or close the garage door.

Torsion Spring Inspection: Visually examine the garage door spring for any damage. This can be accomplished by standing inside the garage with the door in the fully lowered position. The torsion spring above the door is under extreme tension and should only be adjusted by a trained professional. Never attempt to adjust this spring (unless you are a trained professional). Improper adjustment could result in serious harm to you and damage to the door.

A quick way to tell if the torsion spring has adequate tension is to lower the door and then pull down on the manual release lever – disconnecting the door from the opener. Some garage doors have handles or grips. Use these grips to open the door manually. If not, while standing outside, manually lift the door from the bottom. You should be able to open the door without straining. Watch your fingers! If the door is difficult to open, it could indicate that spring maintenance or repair is required. The door should also close smoothly and with little effort.

If difficulty is encountered, check to see if the door rollers have come out of the track. This is generally caused by misalignment of the rails or a rail that has come loose from continued use. Again, should this be the issue, contact your friendly technician from Doors on Demand.

Garage Door Panels: Check the condition of your garage door panels. To do this, lower your garage door to the fully closed position. While standing inside the garage, check the panels for any sign of cracking, tearing, buckling, separation of materials or general fatigue. It may help to use a flashlight. If areas of concern are noted, immediately contact Doors on Demand.

Garage Door Rails: The rails and corresponding supports are what keeps the door firmly in place. This structure holds the entire weight of the door and must be solid and secure. If you stand back and raise then lower the garage door, you’ll be able to note any movement in supports and rails. If there is movement, lower the door and call Doors on Demand immediately.

Wall-Mounted Push Button: Your garage door will have a least one wall-mounted push button to activate the garage door opener. Code requires that your push button is a least five feet above your garage floor to be well out of the reach of small children. Press the button, confirm the door will raise successfully then press the button again to lower the door.

Photo-Eyes/Non-Contact Reversal: Modern garage doors are equipped with photo-eyes which prevent the door from lowering if an object obstructs the photo-eye beam. Ever placed something quickly in your garage, only to find the door would no longer close? Alternatively, it would begin to close and then reverse? Likely, the object was obstructing or breaking the beam between the two photo-eyes. These photo-eyes are typically installed about six inches above the garage floor on either side of the door frame. To test the photo eyes, stand inside the garage – a safe distance from the path of the door – and press the close button. As the door lowers, wave something between the photo-eyes. The door should immediately stop moving down and reverse. If the door continues to lower, despite an object obstructing the beam, an issue is obvious. Generally, the photo-eyes, when active, display a red or green light on each unit.

Garage Door Keypads: Keypads are normally mounted on the inside of the exterior garage door frame. These keypads allow you to punch in a specific code to open and close your garage door. If you know the code, key it in and push the up/down button. The door should open immediately. An issue often arises when homeowners purchase a new home but are not informed of the access code for the garage. Fortunately, most codes can be changed easily by pushing the code reset button on the back of the garage door opener and then entering your new code. Again, you can refer to your owner’s manual for instructions or contact Doors on Demand.

Garage Door Remote Control: To test your garage door remote, simply push the open button while facing the exterior of your garage door. It should open immediately. If it doesn’t, chances are the batteries have gone dead. Generally, changing batteries will resolve the issue. If the garage door still doesn’t open, your remote may need to be serviced, repaired or replaced. Many modern vehicles now have remote garage door openers built into the driver’s side visor. Information on how to program these remote openers can be found in your owner’s manual.

Don’t chance it – check it! For fast, professional, dependable garage door installation, maintenance, and repair demand the best: Doors on Demand. There’s a location near you!