How to Test Garage Door Sensors

How to Test Garage Door Sensors

An automatic garage door system has two infrared sensors mounted approximately 2 to 6 inches above the ground on either side of the opening. These devices perform two crucial functions. First, they signal the door to open and close when you press the appropriate button on the opener’s remote control. The sensors also ensure safety by preventing the door from closing if an object enters the path of the electronic beam connecting the two photo eyes. 

How to Tell If a Garage Door Sensor Is Bad

Faulty sensors will likely impact your garage door’s functionality and pose a safety hazard. You can determine whether you have a potential sensor issue by checking for these signs:

  • Dirty lenses: The sensors won’t operate properly if dirt or debris obscures their sight. Fix the problem by wiping the lenses with a soft, clean cloth and a gentle detergent.
  • Wire damage: Garage door sensors rely on wiring that connects them to the door opener’s motor. Damage to these cables can prevent the sensors from working correctly. Look for signs of insect or rodent gnawing, water damage, tampering or fraying, and make a replacement if needed.
  • Misalignment: Your sensors include LED lights that indicate whether they are out of alignment. A blinking light means that the photo eyes aren’t facing each other at the appropriate angle, but you can correct this issue by repositioning the sensors.
  • No power supply: If the LED lights aren’t displaying at all, they may not have power. Check the wiring or the opener to see if you can find the problem.
  • Wetness: Rain or dew that collects on the sensors may cause them to malfunction temporarily. The problem often goes away when they dry.

How Do You Test Garage Door Sensors?

You can perform a simple test to determine if your garage door’s sensors are working properly. With the door in the raised position, place a cardboard box or another similar-sized object in the door opening in front of one of the photo eyes. Press the button on the opener’s remote control unit to initiate the closing process. 

If the sensors are functioning correctly, they’ll transmit a signal to the opener to indicate that an object is in the doorway, which activates the auto-reverse mechanism. This safety feature causes the door to change direction and move upward. If the door closes on the box, perform the troubleshooting steps listed above to pinpoint the issue.

How to Reset Garage Door Sensors

If the issue persists, you can attempt to reset the sensors by reprogramming the garage door opener. The resetting process on a newer model typically involves pressing a button labeled “Learn” or “Home,” but you can also consult the owner’s manual for step-by-step instructions. 

Garage Door Sensor Not Working? Contact EXL Garage Doors

If you live in or near Gallatin, TN, the professionals at EXL Garage Doors can help you determine the cause of malfunctioning sensors. Contact our expert team online to request a convenient service appointment.

What to Do If Your Garage Door Spring Is Broken

What to Do If Your Garage Door Spring Is Broken

If you’ve recently encountered problems operating your garage door, it may have a problem with its springs. The garage door springs are essential for lifting and closing the door effectively. When one or both of them are damaged, then your door won’t be able to operate as it should.

If you think something has happened to your garage door springs, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms that can confirm your hunch. A garage door with broken springs can also be dangerous, which makes it all the more essential for you to understand the ins and outs of broken springs. 

How to Identify a Broken Spring 

There are a variety of ways to identify a broken spring. The key is to proceed cautiously so that you can protect yourself and others in your home from harm. Be on the lookout for these warning signs of a garage door spring break. 

1. Your Garage Is Struggling to Open

A broken spring means your garage door has lost a central part of its operations — when you try to open it, the door will likely struggle to work. If the door is opening crookedly or not opening at all, it’s likely that there’s something wrong with the springs. 

2. Your Door Closes Too Fast

When working properly, garage door springs release tension slowly as the door closes to prevent it from banging into the ground. When the springs are broken, there is nothing to keep the door from shutting rapidly. When you close your garage door and see it close very fast and with a bang, then you probably have a broken spring. 

3. Loud Snapping or Cracking Noises 

Sometimes you may actually be able to hear a garage door spring break — these are characterized by loud cracking or snapping noises. When you hear one of these noises emanate from your garage, there is a good chance it was caused by a snapping spring. 

4. Noisy Operations

Along with struggling to open, a garage door with broken springs will also likely have very loud operations. Instead of the smooth, measured opening and closing of a properly-functioning door, it will produce crooked operations and banging, grinding or screeching noises. 

5. Weathered Springs 

You can also take a look at the springs to see if they’re damaged. Sometimes the springs may actually still be intact, but they’ve become so rusted and weathered that they can no longer do their job. 

How to Fix a Broken Garage Door Spring

While it may be tempting to try to fix a garage door spring yourself, it’s best to leave that job up to a garage door professional. Broken springs are under enormous amounts of pressure, and they can cause injury or damage to objects in your garage. Be sure to err on the side of caution and contact a service you can trust for help

Contact EXL Garage Doors

If you need garage door service for torsion springs or extension springs in the Gallatin or Nashville, Tennessee, area, then EXL Garage Doors has you covered. With over 20 years of experience and a commitment to our customers, we’re the professional garage door company you can trust. Contact us today! 

How to Keep Your Garage Cool in the Summer and Warm in the Winter

How to keep a garage cool in summer and warm in winter

Many people today use their garage door as the main entryway to their home as opposed to the traditional front door, resulting in garage doors opening and closing numerous times throughout the day.

In the colder months, this means letting more frigid air enter, and in the hot months, more heat is coming in. The best way to combat extreme weather in the winter and the summer is to insulate your garage and make it climate-controlled, keeping it nice and warm in winter and cool in the summer, adding extra protection and saving you energy.

Garage Door Insulation Kits – The Best Way to Keep Your Garage Warm in the Winter and Cool in the Summer

While adding space heaters in the winter or portable fans in the summer can help regulate how warm or cool your garage is, insulation is ultimately the best way to keep your garage cool in summer and warm in winter. Insulation helps control your garage temperature since it reduces air loss and prevents air from getting in. Since garages are one of the worst parts of a home when it comes to energy efficiency, insulation is crucial. 

When you control your garage’s climate and temperature using insulation, you’re also keeping energy costs down as you reduce the amount of energy necessary to heat up or cool down the rest of your home. Insulating your garage doors with insulation kits also makes your garage door more sturdy, since insulation helps strengthen the door and makes it less susceptible to dents from accidentally hitting it or other damage by natural elements.

Insulation kits also reduce noise from opening and closing your garage door and decrease any noise from outside your door. Insulation allows you to use your garage for your favorite hobbies or recreationally, making it a comfortable and controlled atmosphere no matter the weather.

When you search for an insulation kit, look for one with a high R-value. R-value measures how effective a material is at insulating based on its chemical properties and thickness. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. However, when it comes to R-values for garage doors, they can sometimes be measured using different methods. This makes it challenging to figure out what R-value you specifically need to insulate your garage door, so it’s always best to seek professional assistance to find the right insulation kit for you.

Additionally, insulation kits require careful precision to cut the insulation to fit your garage door panels perfectly before securing them on. To ensure that your insulation kit works the way it should and your garage can stay warm in the freezing cold and cool in the scorching temps, trust a professional to install your garage door insulation.

At EXL Garage Doors, we offer insulation kits and professional installation services, as well as a variety of Clopay insulated garage doors for your home if you’re looking for a complete door update.

How to Keep Your Garage Warm in the Winter

Even if you only use your garage for storage, freezing winter temperatures can infiltrate your garage and affect your belongings, such as your car. Colder temperatures can ruin your car’s battery, thicken its fluids, cause low tire air pressure and lead to unreliable wiring and spark plugs.

Plus, if you often work or do any recreational activity in your garage, it needs to be habitable, and freezing temps can quickly make it unbearable. Garages act as a nice buffer as far as temperature goes from the outdoors to inside your home. Garages should be warmer than outside, and, though they may not always be as warm as your home indoors, you should be able to go from your home to your garage to grab something without having to put on all your winter layers.

In addition to adding insulation, you can use other tips to help keep your garage warmer when it’s cold outside. Try the following to control your garage’s temperature year-round.

Start By Cleaning Your Garage

1. Clean Your Garage

To find the best way to control the climate of your garage during the winter, start by giving your garage an excellent, thorough cleaning. After all, what good is adding improvements to your garage if it’s still a mess? 

2. Check Your Weather Stripping

After you organize and clean it up, inspect your door and look at your weather stripping. Over time, your weather stripping could crack and break, and if water finds its way in, it can freeze and make your garage door stuck, unable to open. Broken weather stripping also leads to some severe air leaks which allow the cold winter air to come in.

To replace your weather stripping, remove the existing weather stripping and scrape off any leftover sealant (not all doors will have sealant that needs to be removed, especially doors that were installed within the last 20 years). To put on your new weather stripping, you must accurately measure it and line it up to the door to ensure your seal is tight. Close the garage door and put the stripping down so the rubber flap is pressed against the door.

3. Seal Other Air Gaps

Your weather stripping isn’t the only place cold air can enter your garage — other doors and windows are also prime spots for air infiltration. Inspect the area carefully to see if the caulk has broken. If the sealant is in bad shape, it can also promote mold growth or wood rot in addition to letting in cold air.

It’s generally best to remove the old caulk before applying new. Start at the top and use consistent pressure with a putty knife or other sharp tool to remove it, then clean the surface thoroughly before applying new sealant. For extra protection, add affordable plastic window film to help keep cold air out.

4. Add Insulation to Uninsulated Walls and Ceilings

If the exterior walls and your garage’s ceiling aren’t currently insulated, now’s the time to change that. You have multiple options for doing so, including:

  • Spray foam insulation.
  • Rigid foam insulation.
  • Batt foam insulation.

This small addition can also help reduce noise, which is useful for those who use the garage to pursue hobbies.

5. Consider Adding a Heater

You can also explore various heater options to your garage warm during the winter months. Think about the amount of space you have in your garage and shop around accordingly. 

If you’re scarce on space, you may even want to consider a wall-mounted heater. Mounted electric heaters are easier to install than a forced-air heating system, so you may be able to install it on your own. However, you could also go with a forced air heater or convection heater. 

For convenience, a portable space heater or propane heater could work best since they come in various sizes, making it easy to find one that works for your space and meets your heating needs. Unit heaters are also compact and relatively simple to install, and you can choose to run it on electricity or gas. You may opt to put in a mini-split heat pump to save even more energy.

How to Keep Your Garage Cool in the Summer

Similar to how you want to protect your garage from frigid winter air, you also need to keep it cool when summer brings extreme heat. Our tips for helping do that include the following.

1. Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation

In addition to insulation kits or insulated garage doors, you can find ways to use natural ventilation to keep your garage cool, especially if it has no windows. By opening any outside-facing doors, windows or other doors besides the one that leads to your home, you increase the air circulation inside your garage, keeping things moving and preventing your garage from feeling too hot.

2. Plant a Tree

This solution is good for the environment, wildlife and your wallet. Adding a tree can help shield your garage from the sun during the hottest parts of the day and maintain a lower temperature inside. 

Some shady trees include walnut, maple, ash, oak and magnolias. Since they lose their leaves each fall, you’ll benefit from the winter sun to keep your garage warmer during the cold months.

3. Let Your Vehicle Cool First

Pulling a hot car into a garage and closing the doors traps the warmth in your garage space as your vehicle cools down. A better solution is to park your car in a shady spot to let it cool first and keep the extra heat out.

4. Try a Fan

Portable fans are an affordable option that you can set up near your open doors, pointed inside your garage to draw the cool air from outdoors and pump it into your garage. You can choose from several styles of fans, such as pedestal fans, box fans or high-powered shop fans. Still, you should note that fans don’t really improve the overall garage temperature and climate as much as they boost airflow, making it feel significantly cooler inside your garage.

You could also install a ceiling fan if your garage permits. Typically, garages need to be at least 8 feet tall to install a ceiling fan. You must also make sure the blades of the ceiling fans are between 7 and 9 feet above your garage floor and between 10 and 12 inches under the ceiling. 

5. Consider the Benefits of Air Conditioning

Before you decide to incorporate air conditioning into your garage, you should think about how often you’re using it and how cold you need it to get. If you spend a lot of your time in your garage and determine air conditioning is a necessity for your garage, consider installing a window air conditioning unit or a portable floor unit as a more affordable option.

6. Keep Your Garage Clean and Organized

Keeping a clean, organized garage will also benefit you in the hot summer months as airflow can circulate better when there’s no clutter around your garage. As some other added methods you could incorporate to beat the heat, consider installing some attic vents for heat to escape through or put in a dehumidifier to prevent your garage from feeling like a summer swamp. Protect your belongings and work in comfort by discovering the best approaches for how to keep a garage cool in summer.

Trust EXL Garage Doors to Install Your Insulation and Keep Your Garage Temperature Under Control

Contact EXL Garage Doors

Whether you spend hours a week in your garage or want to protect your valuables inside, it’s time to upgrade your garage with insulation to keep the temperature and climate-controlled no matter the weather outside and start saving energy today. 

Whether you’re looking for an insulation kit or a complete door replacement, EXL Garage Doors can provide you with quality materials at a great value and professional installation and maintenance services for any of your garage door needs. With more than 20 years of experience serving the GallatinFranklin and Nashville, Tennessee, don’t wait to see what we can do for you. Request a free estimate or contact us to start your garage update today.

Why You Should Never Tighten Your Garage Door Cables Yourself

Cables play a vital role in any properly functioning garage door system. You’ll find them attached via brackets to either side of the bottom of the door. They work in tandem with the torsion springs to raise and lower the door. 

These cables also perform a crucial safety function. When a spring fails, the cable prevents it from recoiling and causing a potentially serious injury. Instead, the snapped spring will fall harmlessly to the ground. 

What Happens When a Cable Snaps?

Garage door cables consist of galvanized wiring that may fray due to wear and tear. Eventually, a frayed cable will snap, transferring additional tension to the other side and making it more likely that the other will break as well. Your door will appear crooked or unbalanced and won’t open and close as easily. While you can usually spot a broken cable by performing a visual inspection, a squeaking noise or unusual shaking during operation can also indicate an issue requiring immediate attention.

Why Do Garage Door Cables Loosen?

Besides fraying or snapping, garage door cables can become loose and fall off the drum, which causes them to wind and unwind when raising or lowering the door. Loose cables can result from:

  • Mismatched cables and drums
  • Failure of the auto-reverse mechanism that causes the door to strike an object and loosen a cable
  • Improper installation
  • Broken torsion springs
  • Frequent door opening and closing

How to Adjust Garage Door Cable Tension

Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring that your garage door cables are functioning with the proper tension. The process can be complicated, dangerous and requires mastering the following steps:

  1. Lower the door to the ground and ensure there is no gap at the bottom.
  2. Release the opener from the drive chain by pulling on the rope attached to the garage door mechanism.
  3. Raise the door to the open position to release the built-up tension in the torsion springs.
  4. Attach two c-clamps to the track underneath the roller closet nearest to the bottom of the door to prevent it from lowering or moving.
  5. Disconnect the end of the cable from the garage door frame and reinsert it into one of the holes further down the frame to cause it to tighten.
  6. Eliminate any remaining slack by adjusting the cable bracket. 

Can You Tighten Garage Door Cables Yourself?

Even if you’re confident in your mechanical abilities, it’s easy for an inexperienced homeowner to overlook a step or face an unexpected issue during the adjustment. A garage door professional knows what to look for and how to avoid potentially costly mistakes. 

Still, safety is the most important reason to hire an expert. You’ll avoid the dangers of working around high-tension springs and heavy overhead doors.

Contact EXL Garage Doors to Learn More

If you need to make a garage door cable tension adjustment near Gallatin, TN, the experienced pros at EXL Garage Doors are ready to help. Contact our team today to learn more or request services. 

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