Garage doors need regular care and attention. But if you're in between service calls and something goes wrong, you may not know if it can wait until the next scheduled maintenance. Here are five signs that your garage door needs immediate attention.
If your garage door lacks a tight seal, you face flooding and possible critter infestation. If you notice water coming through the bottom after it rains, a fresh piece of weatherstripping or astragal can generally eliminate the problem. But you may want to do a quick troubleshoot first to see if it's necessary.
Occasionally, a garage door fails to close all the way, and no amount of astragal will make a difference. If your door is closed, but you still see the light of the sun spilling through the bottom edge, or if you do a manual close and it pops back up a little bit, this is a tell-tale sign that an adjustment needs to be made.
If you have a mechanical garage door opener, you'll need to readjust the close limits on the switch. On doors that open and close manually, the tension on the springs simply needs to be reduced. This should be done by a professional to prevent injury.
If you've lived in your home for a while, you ought to be familiar with the usual hums, clicks, and clunks your door makes. So being aware of new sounds is key in identifying a potential problem.
Loud squeaks can usually be attributed to one of two things. Either you've got a buildup of debris along the tracks or rollers, and it's causing the gears to grind together, or your door has a worn-out spring.
A loud thunder-like rumbling can come from panels that shake when the door has come off track, or it could mean that your torsion springs need some lubrication.
The grinding sound of metal against metal can happen when the door itself rubs along the track as it opens and closes. But it can also signify that the motor is about to go out.
Sometimes inspecting the track and cleaning it out before applying some lubrication can help eliminate minor problems that cause strange noises, but anything beyond that requires the attention of an expert.
Loose or Sagging Cables
Whether you have a torsion-spring or extension-spring system, the cables are a bundle of wires that attach at the bottom of the door and extend upward where they run through either a torsion tube or a system of pulleys.
Sagging cables are common with extension systems. This usually indicates that the spring has stretched and lost tension over time. It could also indicate that your door is out of balance, off track, or the rollers have come off.
If the cable is actually dangling down, this can mean that the cable itself has snapped, or a torsion spring has broken and released the cable. The average torsion spring lasts about 10,000 cycles. This equates to around seven years, and a cold or wet climate can age the springs even faster. So if your springs haven't been replaced in a while, this could very well be the culprit.
Any issue with garage door cables is usually not safe for a DIY repair, as it can result in serious injuries. When you notice anything wrong with your cables, stop using your door immediately, and call for a professional repair.
Warping and Bowing
Both metal and wooden garage doors can become warped or bowed over time from exposure to the elements, fluctuations in temperature, and the overall weight of the door taking its toll.
This issue needs to be addressed because now the structural integrity of your garage door is at stake. When this problem goes unaddressed, the door could get out of balance and become difficult to operate, it may come off the track or disengage from the side rails, or it could cause the rails to give out altogether, a potentially dangerous situation if anyone is nearby when it happens. Therefore, doors that are warped should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Slow to Open and Close
Garage doors are not meant to move with speed. In fact, they usually take about 12-15 seconds to completely open and close. If your door takes longer than 15 seconds to get there, it could mean a couple of things. You may need to adjust the speed on the main housing unit. Check your owner's manual for instructions. If that doesn't help, apply some lubricant to the track and hinges after checking for any debris.
When all else fails to alleviate that slow moving door, it's time to call in the garage door professionals from a company like American Eagle Garage Door Services.