Garage Door Systems: How Do They Work?
Garage door specialists know how their doors work, but most people rarely think about it. You might have approached the inner workings of your door system with idle curiosity, but how do garage doors actually work? The short answer is that a motorized system of hardware lifts your door at the press of a button.
Understanding how a garage door opener works in-depth can help you recognize problems. If you know which parts malfunction, you can tell the professional who repairs them. This guide will teach you how garage doors work, and how the parts make them function.
How a Garage Door System Works: The Mechanics
When you press the button on your transmitter, it signals the door opener mounted on your ceiling. Contrary to what the name suggests, the door opener’s motor simply guides the door’s movement, while the springs hold the door by counterbalancing its weight.
As the door moves up or down the track, rollers keep the movement smooth. The close time dictates how long your motor runs before the door reaches its closed position.
When these mechanics malfunction, the ability to identify the problem comes in handy. You can discuss the issue with a garage door specialist, making it easier for them to trace and diagnose the cause of the problem. Communicating what’s wrong with your garage door helps you get it fixed faster.
How Garage Doors Work: Parts
That simple explanation of how a garage door system works ignores the crucial parts that make your door function. These parts are some of the most important components that make up your garage door system:
- Door opener: The door opener contains the motor and receives the transmitter’s signal.
- Springs: Springs balance your door’s weight. Most modern garage doors have torsion springs because they’re safer and last longer, but older doors may have extension springs.
- Cables: Cables assist the springs as your door moves. If your door has extension springs that have broken, your cables can snap from the door’s weight.
- Tracks: Tracks keep your door on the right path. You should see vertical and horizontal tracks.
- Rollers: Rollers assist the door’s movement along the tracks for steadiness.
- Hinges: If you watch your garage door as it opens and closes, you’ll see it articulate in a few places. Hinges allow your door to fold over on itself so it fits into your garage.
- Insulated weatherstripping: Installed on the edges, frame and each section of your door, weatherstripping seals the door to insulate your garage from the heat or cold.
Request Maintenance or Repair for Your Garage Door
When your garage door needs routine inspections, maintenance or repairs, call a professional to fix it. EXL Garage Doors offers expert installation, repair and maintenance services in Middle Tennessee.
When you contact us about our services, we’ll send a member of our highly trained team to address and resolve any issues. We’ll also give you a quote before doing the work to find the best plan for you. For expert maintenance and repairs, call EXL Garage Doors today at (615) 863-5106.
How to Fix a Garage Door That Won’t Close All the Way
If your garage door opens just fine but gets stuck at any point on the way down, you need to get the problem taken care of. A stuck door is more than an eyesore — it’s a weak point in the structure of your home that leaves your property exposed to everything the world has to offer. In many cases, a garage door that won’t close all the way is caused by something simple that you can resolve yourself without calling a professional repair service.
Why Won’t My Garage Door Close?
Garage doors consist of several components that all contribute to smooth, quiet and reliable operation. If any part of the system is blocked, becomes loose, falls out of alignment or is otherwise prevented from doing its job, it can cause your door to get stuck while closing. Here are some of the most common reasons a garage door won’t close all the way, along with some simple DIY solutions you can use to get your door working again:
- Check the sensors: Garage doors made after 1993 are equipped with safety sensors to prevent damage and injury while the door is closing. These sensors are valuable safety features, but they’re notorious for causing issues with door operation. Make sure they have power and that their wires look intact.
- Clean your sensors: The sensors send an invisible beam across the opening of the garage door. If they’re blocked or a lens becomes dirty, it can send false signals to your door. To help these components work as designed, clean the lenses of your sensors and sweep any debris from the path of the beam.
- Align your sensors: The sensors mount to either side of the garage door just above the floor. It’s easy to accidentally kick them or knock them out of place with a minimal amount of force, disrupting door operation. To put the sensors back in place, crouch down and gently move them back into the right position by hand.
- Check the tracks: The tracks running up the sides of your garage door guide the rollers as the door moves. If they get warped, bent or damaged, it can stop the door from closing partway down. Check your tracks for apparent signs of damage. If possible, use a rubber or wooden mallet to get them back into shape if you notice minor issues. Make sure you search for and tighten any loose hardware, clear dirt or grime from the tracks and lubricate using a silicone spray.
- Check your travel limits: Most garage door operators have travel limits programmed into them at the time of installation. In some cases, these limits may be incorrect or can slowly shift from their desired setting over time. If the travel limits are set too high, the door will stop before reaching the ground. Climb up on a ladder and look at the back of your motor for adjustment knobs or switch screws. Take your time and make small adjustments to prevent overcorrection.
Get Expert Help
If you see a broken spring or any damaged cables hanging down, call a professional. Making these repairs can be dangerous without the right equipment and training. For expert garage door repair in the Nashville or Gallatin areas, contact the pros at EXL Garage Doors today.
Why Does My Garage Door Open and Close By Itself?
When a garage door opens by itself, the reason may be less supernatural than you think. Garage doors are electrical systems and rely on wires, sensors and circuits to make your life easier. When something occurs in the system, it can send signals to your operator telling it to open or close your garage door. These systems are susceptible to damage, interference and more, but in many cases, the cause is something you can likely take care of yourself.
How to Fix a Garage Door That Opens By Itself
In the best case, a garage door opening by itself can be annoying. In more serious circumstances, it can place your property at risk for theft, expose your home to the elements or lead to injuries and liability concerns. If your garage door acts like it has a mind of its own, check to see if the answer is something simple. To try fixing the issue yourself, follow these steps:
- Check your sensors: All garage doors manufactured after 1993 have safety sensors included as part of the package. Garage door safety sensors typically mount near the floor or at the base of the tracks and send invisible signals across the opening of the garage. If the sensors fall out of alignment or detect movement while the door is closing, the operator automatically signals the door to open. Check each of your sensors for alignment, and sweep your garage free of any debris.
- Check your opener: Most garage door openers get a lot of use but don’t receive much attention. In some cases, the buttons on garage door openers can accumulate dirt and become stuck, sending repeat signals to your door. Clean all the buttons on your opener using alcohol, and open the housing to clean the connections. Be sure to inspect your wiring for any loose connections, exposed wires or damage. It’s also possible that one of your neighbors uses the same frequency as yours, but with today’s technology, such an issue is unlikely.
- Check the motor: Your motor is the brains of the operation and relies on a circuit board and transformer to keep your door working as designed. If you have a power surge or other electrical issue, it can damage these components and may cause your door to open and close without a command. If you have access to a multimeter, you can use it to test the voltage in and out of these components to see if they’re in working condition or hold the answer to your mystery.
Call the Experts
The most important part of any DIY garage door repair is creating a safe working environment and avoiding unnecessary risks. If your garage door opens by itself and you can’t locate the source of the problem, feel unsafe working on it yourself or need help implementing the solution, reach out to a professional. For expert garage door repair services anywhere in the Nashville or Gallatin areas, contact EXL Garage Doors today.
Why is My Garage Door So Loud?
Does your door make too much noise when you open it? The reasons for the new racket can vary. When garage doors squeal, bang, rattle and make other unusual sounds, it can be a source of frustration for you and the rest of the neighborhood. Thankfully, in most cases, you can save money — and your sanity — by fixing the problem yourself. Here’s how you can go about taking care of the issue.
How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door
The sounds a noisy garage door makes can differ, as can the causes behind them. Garage doors can rattle, squeal, bang, scrape, grind or make a combination of noises throughout operation. The best way to pinpoint the source of your extra noise is an inspection. Check all your components while the door is stationary, then listen and watch while using your door.
If your garage door is noisy, try these simple DIY fixes to silence it:
- Lubricate your components: Garage doors have many moving parts, and all of them require constant lubrication to perform their best. If your garage door squeals while opening and closing, it could be due to poor lubrication. Inadequate lubrication causes friction, which can also lead to vibrating, grinding and garage door screeching. Spray your springs, rollers, tracks, chain and other hardware down using a silicone lubricant to help quiet the door’s operation.
- Check your tracks for damage: When you open your garage door, the rollers move through the tracks mounted on each side, keeping the door aligned. If the tracks are bent or damaged, they can place pressure on the rollers and create a loud rubbing noise. If the damage is minor, you can pull the track back into place using the claw of a hammer. Insert the claw into the lip at the inside of the track and use it to bend the track back into its original position.
- Tighten or replace any loose parts: Garage doors vibrate when opening, and over time, your hardware can become loose and start making noise. Rattling sounds and squeaking are signs of loose parts, and they’re often something you can easily take care of in a matter of minutes. Inspect your garage door from top to bottom for any loose nuts, bolts, rollers, hinges or chains, making sure to tighten or replace anything that needs your attention.
- Perform regular maintenance: Once you take care of the cause of your noise, help keep your garage door working quietly with proper maintenance. At least once per year, inspect your garage door system for any damage, sounds and signs of wear. Clean any dirt and grime out of your tracks and lubricate the metal hardware, including the springs, bearings and rollers.
Professional Garage Door Care
Place the regular maintenance of your garage door in the hands of a professional. If you own a home in the Gallatin or Nashville areas, reach out to EXL Garage Doors to ask about our garage door maintenance services.
How to Fix Garage Door Rollers That Are Off-Track
If your garage door is off-track, it’ll be out of operation until you get it repaired. A broken garage door is frustrating, as it can trap your car inside and leave your home exposed to the elements. The good news, however, is that the fix can be taken care of quickly by a professional, and there are ways you can prevent the issue in the future. We’ll teach you how to quickly and safely assess your garage door rollers and perform preventative maintenance to help keep them in working order.
How to Tell if Your Garage Door is Off-Track
The first step for DIY garage door repair is to identify the source of the problem. When a garage door is off-track, it may get stuck, hang loosely from the tracks or sit at an awkward angle. If you experience any of these issues, do not attempt to force the door open or closed. Trying to force a door to work is dangerous and could bend your tracks, cause more rollers to pop out and damage your system.
What Causes a Garage Door to Go Off-Track?
Knowing why your garage door came off-track can help you prevent the situation from happening again. Most garage doors have between 10 and 12 rollers, and if any come off the track, you can spot them with a quick visual inspection. Taking care to ensure your safety, enter your garage and look at the tracks mounted on either side of the door. Common causes for garage rollers to come off the tracks include:
- Damaged tracks: Bent or damaged tracks can force rollers out of alignment.
- Loose tracks: The vibration of your door can loosen the bolts that hold the tracks in place.
- Force and impacts: If you hit your garage door with your car, you could send rollers off-track.
- Dirt and lack of lubrication: Built-up dirt and grime along with a lack of lubrication can throw rollers off-track.
How to Fix Off-Track Garage Door Rollers
Once you know the cause of your issue, you can be confident in your repair. If your rollers came off due to a problem with your tracks, for instance, you’ll want to address the tracks before setting the rollers back into place. If there is an issue with your garage door track causing the rollers to be off, it’s important to have a professional take care of the repair. A professional garage door repair technician will tighten and secure all your hardware, clean your tracks using a household cleaner and lubricate all your metal hardware with a silicone spray. To fix garage door rollers that are off-track, they’ll follow these steps:
- Disconnect the power: Pull the rope hanging down from the motor to engage manual operation for the door.
- Align the door: Line the rollers up to the spot where they jumped off the track, locking the door in place with vice grips.
- Open the track: To make room for the roller, use a pair of pliers to work the track open, then guide the roller into place.
- Close the track: Using a rubber or wooden mallet, hammer the track back into shape to prevent the rollers from coming off again.
- Check the door: Open and close the door a few times to check the repair before reconnecting your automatic garage opener.
Once a professional has put the rollers back on track, you can perform some simple preventative maintenance to prevent the issue from happening again:
- Regularly asses the rollers and track: Remember to check your rollers and track every now and then. Make sure rollers are in the proper places and that the track is free of debris.
- Apply lubricant: In order for the rollers to run smoothly on the track you can also apply lubricant.
Get Professional Assistance
You can perform preventative maintenance to reduce the risk of your rollers coming off-track, but if you notice that any rollers are already off-track, call a professional to assess the situation and complete the right repairs. Such an expert will know how to replace your garage door rollers if necessary. For help in the Nashville or Gallatin area, contact EXL Garage Doors today.
Garage Door Maintenance Checklist
Like many homeowners today with garages, you may open and close your garage numerous times a day. You may not realize anything is wrong with your garage until something doesn’t work correctly or your garage makes an odd sound. However, it’s crucial to take preventative measures when it comes to your garage door — especially if you use it heavily. One way to make sure your garage door is in great shape is to keep up with regular maintenance. Trust professionals to perform garage door inspections and maintenance at least a few times a year, as they are more likely to catch anything wrong with your garage door and can fix it before it causes any more damage. In between professional maintenance visits, you can go through this garage door maintenance checklist to keep an eye on the different parts of your garage door.
Broken garage door springs are one of the most common garage door issues. When you look at your garage door, there are usually two torsion springs above the door and extension springs on the side. These torsion springs are super strong pieces of metal that are tightly wound, creating potential energy that powers the springs to open and close your garage door when using the opener. The garage door opener acts to wind or unwind the springs for your garage door to open and close. Although these springs are designed to last about 10 years, all springs eventually wear out. Sometimes your garage may make a loud sound when springs no longer work, but sometimes your garage will not function correctly, have a hard time trying to close or open or stop working altogether when your springs break.
Since springs contain potential energy, you could severely hurt yourself if you attempt to replace your garage door springs alone. You must contact a professional garage door technician, who will arrive with the necessary tools and parts to repair the springs safely. However, just because a professional should perform replacement and maintenance doesn’t mean you can’t inspect springs as part of your regular garage door maintenance. Look for any visibly worn out, fragile or rusted springs and contact a professional if any look broken or like they’re about to break. You may be able to solve minor issues by applying lubricant.
If you’re unsure of the condition of your springs, you can do a garage door balance test. First, disconnect your door from the garage door opener, then manually lift your door. If you can’t open the door manually, call a professional at once. If it moves smoothly up and down, try leaving it half way. A well-balanced door will stay in place. If there is any movement, your door will likely fall down because the springs have lost tension. Never attempt to adjust the springs yourself and call a professional instead.
Although your garage door hinges are small, they are necessary to ensure your garage door can still open and close. If your hinges break and go undetected, it could lead to more severe damage, such as messing up your door’s guide tracks or damaging panels, which could eventually lead to an entire door replacement. Wobbly or missing screws may be the first sign that you need to replace your hinges. If screws are loose or missing, the metal plate they were in may have deteriorated. Sometimes using a nut and bolt to replace the screw provides a temporary fix. You should regularly check to make sure your screws are tight, that nothing is bent or twisted and that the lifting cable is attached to the hinges at the bottom of the door correctly to ensure your door is in excellent condition.
You should also check regularly for any rust or corrosion when you inspect your hinges. You may opt to use an oil lubricant on your hinges and other moving parts on your door to help prevent corrosion and other wear. Consult with a garage door professional to learn how to lubricate your garage door and determine which lubricant you should use for your specific model. If your hinges go beyond minor issues and you suspect they need to be replaced, you should also refer to a professional for help as soon as possible. It’s a lot easier to have someone fix your hinges than replace your entire garage door. Keeping up with regular maintenance will ensure you know how your garage door is holding up, and know when it needs help from a professional.
Your garage door rollers are crucial to smooth operation, opening and closing as your garage door should be. However, if you notice your garage door has gotten extra noisy when it opens and closes, your rollers are likely starting to misalign or aren’t moving correctly along the tracks. Sometimes rollers can be fixed with track grease, which helps the door open and close smoothly again and minimizes some of the noise, but other times rollers may need to be replaced. If your rollers don’t have enough lubrication, this could also lead to the garage door shaking, roller bearing failure and the loud opening and closing.
Check your rollers to make sure they are rolling, not sliding, in the tracks, and that your tracks are clear of any dirt or grease build-up. If your garage door tracks are filthy, your rollers may not move properly, so clean them regularly. Rollers may also go off of the tracks if the tracks aren’t anchored against the wall tightly, so check the brackets to make sure they are tight and that the tracks are where they should be. Be cautious of accidentally bumping your garage door with your car or any other large object, as this could also cause tracks to become misaligned and cause problems with rollers. If you keep up with maintenance and still suspect your rollers need to be replaced, contact a professional for help.
Garage door lifting cables are incredibly durable cables that allow your door to open and close by controlling the torsion springs. The cables prevent the springs from recoiling, so the springs can continue to do their job correctly to open and close the garage door safely. However, cables won’t last forever and may lose tension over time, so you must get them replaced when they’re showing signs of the end. How will you know when the cables are ready to be replaced? Usually, you simply have to look at your garage door. If your cable is rusted or frayed, you can tell by looking at it.
Additionally, if you notice any loud noises like screeching, rattling or grating, delayed opening and closing or not opening and closing at all, it could indicate a problem with your garage door cables. You should make sure your cables wind around the reel at the top of the vertical track and are functioning correctly. If your cables need to be replaced, make sure you trust a garage door professional to get the job done. If you attempt to replace cables yourself, you could be seriously injured since the spring and cable mechanism is fragile yet extremely powerful. You could also accidentally damage your garage door system, which could void your warranty.
Garage Door Opener and Sensors
If you’re having issues with your garage door opener and sensors, you could either repair your garage door opener or replace it altogether. However, it’s best to seek professional assistance when it comes to a faulty garage door opener so they can help determine which option would be best for you. If your garage door opener is 10 years old or older, a replacement is usually the best option, even if it could be fixed with a repair. Piling up repairs instead of replacing the opener is a temporary fix that will only lead to more repairs. Plus, new technologies are always emerging to take advantage of, so don’t get stuck with an outdated system.
To make the most of your garage door opener, however, make sure you regularly change the batteries in your remote. You should also make sure your garage door opener is compatible with a backup battery to use if the power goes out. If the power goes out and you don’t have a backup battery, you can’t open your garage door with your opener and would have to disconnect it from your opener and manually lift it. To test your garage door sensors, you could also conduct a reversal test. Start with an open garage door and put a 2-by-4 flat on the ground in the center of the door. Then, hit your opener to close the door. If the door hits the wood and doesn’t reverse immediately, you need to contact a professional for maintenance.
Contact EXL Garage Doors Today for Garage Door Maintenance and Repairs
Whether your garage door needs some routine professional maintenance to ensure everything looks how it should or you suspect something is broken and needs to be repaired or replaced, don’t keep putting it off. EXL Garage Doors has served customers throughout middle Tennessee for more than 20 years and can help you find the best solution to prolong the life of your garage door. Our highly-trained garage door professionals have the experience to check all parts of your door and identify and resolve any problem areas quickly and efficiently. Don’t wait, contact us and request a service today to keep your garage door in its best possible condition.
How to Keep Your Garage Cool in the Summer and Warm in the 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, 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 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 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.
Other Ways to Keep 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.
To find the best way to heat your garage during 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? 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.
You can also explore various heater options for your garage. 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.
Other Ways to Keep 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. 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.
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 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. 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.
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
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 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 Gallatin, Franklin 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.