Garage Door Troubleshooting

garage-door-troubleshooting-phoenix-az

As residential and commercial garage door installation and service professionals there is little that we haven’t seen in the garage door industry. Garage door wear and damage is varied and there are a lot of things that can go wrong that need minor or major repairs. Something as simple as a basketball or tennis ball can knock a sensor out of alignment or a garage off its track. Diagnosis of the problem is first, and everything can be repaired.

There are a lot of things that homeowners can easily fix. Straightening a safety sensor is just a matter of pointing it at the reflector plate, for example. However there are some repairs are better left to the professionals. Certain elements of garage doors are extremely dangerous. The tension springs for example are under tremendous pressure and can cause very serious injury. This guide should help you identify what is wrong with your garage door, which will help you know if you need to call a pro.

The Garage Door’s Path Is Blocked

Clearly the garage can’t do its job and close if something is in the way. Garage doors are developed with a safety mechanism that causes it to go back up if something is in the way. Homeowners can become frustrated when they press the button to close the door and it comes about half way down only to stop and return to the fully open position. This can be caused by something as simple as toys, or other items in your garage lying in the garage door’s path.

To resolve this issue just inspect the ground and area around your garage door sensors. Move anything you think could be in the way. Check out the garage door tracks as well. Get a step ladder for the areas that are harder to see. If build-up or objects are stuck in the track the garage might get a false positive for a object in the way and reverse.

The Remote Has Dead Batteries

This is one of the most common problems people have with their garage doors. It is also one of the easiest to fix. To troubleshoot this problem check to see if the wall switch for the garage door still works. If it works then it’s most likely the batteries in the remote.

To replace the batteries you will have to either unscrew or slide open the remote’s batter compartment. Dig the batteries out of the remote and take them down to the store. Getting the right match for the remote is important. Most stores will have different brands, but will have a compatibility chart that will tell you which Energizer replacement will replace a Duracell and vice versa.

The Safety Sensors Are Crooked

Indiana Jones might be able to slide and roll under doors, but as of 1993 sensors installed for safety on garage doors prevent us from being our own action heroes. These safety photo eyes watch the path of the garage door with an invisible beam. When the garage door remote is used these beams check the area to make sure it is clear. This is done to prevent injury or damage to property.

Before adjusting the sensors alignment you will want to make sure that the sensors are not dirty. If they have debris, insects, or dirt on them they will assume something is in the way and refuse to let the garage door close. They are made of glass and should be cleaned carefully to prevent scratching. Clean the sensors and then check to see if the garage will close and open properly.

If the garage door still isn’t cooperating you will need to check the alignment of the sensors. They should point at exactly the same angle, from the same height, and directly at each other. If they are looking in different directions and not seeing each other they will assume there is a object blocking the garage door path and disable the garage door’s movement.

Garage Door Maintenance Tips

Top Preventive Maintenance Habits for Garage Door Owners Phoenix AZ

No matter what season it is, what time of day it is, your garage door has to open every single time you need it to.  We come and go many times a day and rarely have the time to find a way to fix a malfunctioning garage door.  Preventive garage door maintenance is the way to avoid having the inconvenience of a broken or malfunctioning garage door is to take care of it before it needs repair.  Here’s a list of ways you can keep it running for years with trouble free operation.

Keeping the Tracks Clear

Ensure that the tracks on both sides of the garage door are free from objects or debris.  As an owner you can easily check the plump with a level to see how it’s weathering use, but if you see that it needs adjustment it’s time to call the professionals who have the tools, experience and knowledge to do this work safely.

Test the Safety Features

Most modern garage doors have a safety feature that prevents it from harming someone or something they happen to be in the garage doors path.  There are a couple main ways that it can see if there is something in its way, a photocell and mechanical method.  For the mechanical system you can just find a brick or a 2×4 for it to come down on close on, as soon as it touches the object it should reverse direction and come back up.  For the photocell as your garage door is closing just wave your leg or an object under it and it should automatically stop and reverse direction.

Keep Moving Parts Lubricated

If you want your garage door to last for many years just keep it well lubricated.  It takes less time than reading the paper and is very simple.  You can find white lithium grease and use it on the screw or chain.  Then most garage door specialists will have some spray lubricant you can use to spray directly on the overhead springs.

Cable Checking

These high-tension cables are something only a trained professional should be working on.  They are extremely dangerous and can maim and kill if not handled properly.  You can’t work on them, but you can inspect them to see if you should have a professional come and do the work for you.  Visually check them out looking for broken strands, especially down near the bottom roller bracket.

Roller Inspection and Replacement

The rollers need to be looked at about every six months, regardless of their material.  They should also be replaced any time they look worn or at least every 7 years or so.  If you notice wear, chips or cracks they need to be replaced.  You can do this or a professional will be happy to come out and do a minor service on your garage.  If you want to do it simply removing any roller brackets that are not attached directly to the cable system, and then reattaching after the roller replacement.

Garage Door Balance Testing

Even though you might not be able to see it with the naked eye an imbalanced garage door can cost you money.   Being out of balance puts more strain on all the parts and will wear them out sooner.  You can test the balance of the garage door.  Simply start with your garage door in the closed position and pull the release handle (typically a red cord).  Then manually raise the garage door about halfway.  It should stay right where you leave it, if it doesn’t your counterweight springs are out of balance and you need to call a professional as these are extremely dangerous to work on.

Tighten Loose Bolts and Other Hardware

Given that most garage doors open over a thousand times a year in all sorts of weather conditions they are subjected to a lot of vibration.  Vibration loosens bolts and screws.  Take a look at all the hinges, brackets, bolts and screws to ensure they are tight.  You can even tighten these down with a socket wrench.

Be Aware

As you sit waiting for it to open before leaving in the morning its typically quiet and a great time to just be listening and watching how it functions.  If it seems to run roughly or jerks at certain spots it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right and needs some attention.  If you hear grinding or scraping noises it’s time to take a look at the tracks, rollers, and the general condition of the door.  It can be difficult to track down the issue and a professional can come out and help you with an inspection.

Garage Door Care

Even if the all the mechanical systems are working perfectly it can still need some surface attention.  Comprising about a third of the front façade of your home checking for rust spots on your steel doors will keep your house looking great.  Wood doors need to be examined for signs of water damage like warping and will need any stain or paint checked out for peeling or chipping.


If you take care of your garage door, it will take care of you.  A little time spent on a cool weekend morning will save you frustration some afternoon when the sun is out, it’s hot, and you just want to get in your garage.

If you’ve got a worry or a doubt that about your garage door and think something might be wrong, call the experts and On Track Garage Door Service.

It’s Garage Door Safety Month, Here Are Some Safety Tips

With Garage Door Safety month kicking off in just a few days, it seems like now is the perfect time to offer up some tips on making your garage a safer place. Automatic garage door systems have added a large degree of convenience and functionality to our lives and homes, but they do carry inherent risks that could leave you or a family member in a precarious position.  Avoid any unnecessary risk or injury by applying the following tips to your garage and garage door.

  1. Keep your automatic garage door remote control out of reach of children. Placing the opener switch that is mounted in your garage in a position that can’t be reached by kids is also important.
  2. Don’t let children play with your remote to your automatic garage door opener.
  3. Learn about your automatic garage door opener by reading the manual and further your knowledge about the safety features and fail safes built into your system.
  4. Check on the components of your garage door system monthly. Keep tabs on the condition of your entire system to ensure proper functionality.
  5. Check on your safety sensors and make sure they work properly by placing and object in the path of the closing door. If the door reverses course and moves back to the open position your sensors are in good working order. If the sensors can’t ‘see’ each other your garage door should not be able to close.
  6. Explain the dangers of getting your hands and fingers caught in the apparatus of your automatic garage opener system. Getting a finger or hand stuck can lead to serious injury and damage that is potentially permanent.
  7. Make sure your garage door is all the way closed before leaving. This will allow kids or pets to have a path out of your house as well as giving animals and intruders an easy path into your home.
  8. If you leave on vacation, unplug your garage door system to save power and ensure that nobody can access your home through your garage.
  9. Make sure you have customized access codes. Never keep the manufacturers code as your active code.
  10. NEVER leave your remote in your car or with a valet attendant. Using your smart phone as a remote is a good solution to this.

Hopefully this has been an enlightening entry on garage door safety that sees you go into this upcoming garage door safety month and beyond with increased awareness and safety levels when it comes to your automatic  garage door system. Be safe and we wish you and your family a wonderful Garage Door Safety Month from our team here at On Track Garage Door Services!

Automatic Garage Door Components

Garage doors are an integral part of most homes and the garage door is the biggest point of access that most home have. Automatic garage doors are a convenient evolution that have been widely adopted across the country for decades and come standard on most new homes. This entry is going to go over the components of automatic garage door systems in order to arm you with the knowledge needed to truly understand you automatic garage door system. Knowledge is power and this knowledge can give you the power to keep more money in your bank account as you will be able to approach maintenance from a place of understanding instead of wondering.

The tracks are located on both sides of the door and guide the door as it opens and closes. There are vertical and horizontal tracks present that your door travels along when activated.  The tracks are attached to the wall and ceiling. The tracks have springs attached to them with the extension springs are located on the outside of the vertical track and the torsion springs are above the garage door. The size of the actual springs will be dictated by the size of the garage door. The torsion spring is pulled to a tight state when the door is closed and that tension is used to help the motor open the door.

Sensors are located near the ground on each side of the garage door opening. They use lasers that are sent between the two sensors and when a clear connection is present where the sensors can ‘see each other’ the door will operate properly. If the sensors cannot see each other the garage door will not close as the sensors are picking up an obstruction that would interfere with the garage door closing correctly. This is both to ensure that your garage door is not damaged by closing on an object as well as a safety measure in case a person or pet is in the path of the closing door.

 

Keeping Your Automatic Garage Door in Top Shape

An automatic garage door is a very common luxury that is found on most homes in the United States. While they are fairly simple in concept they possess just enough complexity to necessitate regular care and maintenance in order to keep them working efficiently and quietly.  Before we go into various ways you can keep your garage door in top shape it should be pointed out that you should never attempt to fix your garage door unless you are a professional. A trained, licensed and insured technician will not only provide the skill and expertise needed, but you will be covered in the event that anything should go wrong. That said, let’s briefly outline ways you can keep your automatic garage door system healthy.

  1. Make sure your system’s components are lubricated: A coating of lithium spray or silicon spray will go a long way in keeping your automatic garage door system operating quietly. Proper lubrication also will significantly reduce wear and tear due to friction. WD-40 is not recommended because it is not a long lasting solution.
  2. Keeping your tracks clean: Keeping the tracks of that guide your garage door clean is important because dust can easily collect on them and that can create a residue that can erode your springs, rollers and bearings.
  3. Check/Replace weather seals: The weather seals on the bottom and sides of your automatic garage door can wear down over time and when they do they allow more and more air from outside to make it into your home.  Weather seals typically last in the 5-10 year range, so odds are you will not need to replace them, but checking them is always a sound idea.

These three ways are only part 1 in our series of simple ways you can keep your automatic garage door system in top shape.

 

Tips to For Garage Safety

Your garage is one of the most vital components to your home. It can store important belongings, house vehicles, act as a workshop or a common area. Regardless of the way your purpose your garage it holds inherent safety risks that every home owner should be aware of. On top of knowing and understanding the risks associated with garages and automatic garage door systems can go a long way toward successfully avoiding any unnecessary risks or injuries that could lead to health issues or potential lawsuits. Not only can your garage pose the risk of physical accidents, it is also the most vulnerable area of your home when it comes to break-ins and burglary. The nature of garage doors leaves them open to being breached if they are properly secured. Even automatic garage door openers can be easily hacked with any kind of frequency transmitter is the automatic garage door opener system is old enough. Taking the time to understand the weak points of your garage is the only way to strengthen them in order to increase the efficiency of your garage in both performance and security. Protect your family, guests as well as your belongings with some of the tips listed below.

  1. Use a smaller remote garage door opener that you can fasten to your keys instead of you car visor. Keeping the remote on you lowers the probability of someone getting ahold of by breaking into your car.
  2. Inform your kids about garage door safety. Make sure they understand how it works and where the possible dangers are. Knowledge is truly power.
  3. Make sure you always keep your garage door closed if you don’t need it to be open. Don’t give would be thieves a peek at your merchandise or an easy entry point. Keep your possessions safe and out of view, close your garage door.
  4. Keep your garage door well-kept and maintained. Making sure your garage door is always functioning properly is the best way to make sure it is operating safely. Your garage is the biggest moving part of your home, make sure it and its components are always in good condition. Performing routine checks of your garage door system is an absolute must on both the safety and maintenance fronts. Not only will keeping tabs on your system make it more safe to operate, it will also position you to save major money over the lifetime of your automatic garage door opener system.
  5. Make sure your windows are covered for the same reasons we listed above for keeping your garage door closed at all times. Giving would be intruders a way to peek inside your garage and take inventory of its contents and entry points is raising your chances for an intrusion/robbery. Keep your windows covered with attractive curtains or blinds so you can enjoy the open windows when you are working in your garage, but leave your windows covered and concealed when you are not.

More tips coming next week!!

Ways That You Can Have a Greener Garage

Going green is becoming more and more common and necessary in our society and the trend is finding its way into almost every nook and cranny of our cities and towns.  One place that you can easily start going green is you garage. Garages serve as storage spaces for many substances and objects such as vehicles that emit hazardous fumes that can make it into your home if your garage is attached to the main body of the house.  Below will be listed a few ways you can make your garage greener.

  1. Don’t turn your garage into a miniature hazmat storage unit

As mentioned above, there are many materials that give off toxic fumes that can be harmful to your family and pets.  Chemicals and cars can send these fumes into your home and effect the air quality level in your house for the worse.

  1. Have a Ventilation Fan Installed

If you do need to store toxic materials in your garage, having a ventilation fan installed can do a lot to offset the production of hazardous fumes by circulating them out of your garage and away from your home and family.

  1. Change Your Lighting Fixtures and Bulbs to Greener Models

Installing LED light fixtures and bulbs will conserve a lot of energy and save you money on your power bill. Task lighting is another option that suits those who like to use their garage as their workshop space.

  1. Install an Insulated Garage Door

Most garage doors are very thin and allow air to leak in and out of your garage. The air leaks cause the temperature in your home to fluctuate more quickly and will cause your heating or air conditioning units to activate more frequently.

On Track Garage Door Services in Phoenix, AZ can get you set up with a greener garage asap. We are the Valley leaders in all things garage door. Call us at 480-641-2301.

Loud Garage Door?

Is your garage door obnoxiously loud whenever anybody tries to open or close it? Is your door interrupting the peace and quiet in your home and neighborhood? Nobody wants to be the owner of, or live by, a screechy and creaky garage door as it can severely annoy your neighbors and fellow house mates on top of potentially becoming a major safety hazard.

Automatic garage door openers are complex, motorized devices with many moving parts, including gears and chains. As it goes, the more components involved in a process equals more potential problems possibly occurring. The quality and precision of the initial install of your garage door system definitely matters when it comes to the longevity of your systems overall functionality and effiency.  Another thing that needs considering when diagnosing a systemic issue is the make and model of the garage door opener unit itself.

Friction is probably the most common causes of noisy automatic garage door systems. As time passes, your systems inherent lubrication is diminished and the buffer between the moving parts eventually disappears. As the lubrication is eroded, friction increases and the noise level during the operation of your system increases exponentially. Aside from noise, this friction will also greatly expedite the wear and tear on vitally important components your auto garage door system. Replacing an entire garage door system can be very expensive so keeping your garage door regularly maintained can go a long way in saving you a lot of money.

If you are noticing your garage door starting to make noise when you operate it, make sure everything is properly lubricated and everything is possibly tightened. If you are noticing more than just a lack of lubrication and loose components then it may be time to call a professional who is trained, licensed and bonded so you know that you are going to have high quality work done and that you are also protected should anything go awry.

How Increase your Garage Security

Garage doors can be a target point of entry for would be burglars. There are many ways to fortify your garage and turn it to a strong point of your home instead of a weakness with the potential to be breached fairly easily. We are going to outline ways that you can increase the security level of your garage in a 2-part blog entry.  Part 2 will come next week and there may even end up being a part 3. Without further ado, let the fortification begin!

  1. Do not leave your garage remote in an obvious place: If you are like many homeowners, you probably keep your garage door opener clipped to the visor above the driver side of the car. This makes your garage infinitely more accessible because easy access is a breached car window away. Find a more thoughtful place to keep your garage door opener that won’t be so easily found.
  2. Secure your garage’s emergency release: Almost every garage door is equipped with an emergency release that can be manipulated to allow access without much exerted effort. Using a zip line or similar method to secure the emergency release will eliminate the option of using it to gain entry into your home.
  3. Make sure your windows are covered: If you have windows on your garage, it’s a wise move to cover them to eliminate visibility and a potential burglars ability to scout your garage as an entry point. It will also help keep the temperature in your garage down and keep your vehicles and belongings protected from extreme temperatures.

These are the first 3 tips in our series on increasing garage security. Most of these do not take a lot of time to put in place, but they could save you hours upon hours of dealing with the aftermath of a possible home invasion or robbery.

Your Home May Be About To Be Invaded By Unwanted Guests

Many home owners fear an invasion of termites showing up and nesting in their homes wood structure. The root of this fear is obvious as termites eat wood for sustenance, but one pest that isn’t as notorious but just as damaging: The Carpenter Ant. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood in order to survive, but they do build their nests in wood and are every bit the equal of termites when it comes to terrorizing wooden structures. The carpenter ant colony that is established initially is far from the colony that you will find as time goes on.  As the carpenter ants breed and their numbers increase, so too does the demand for space. Within a relatively short amount of time the carpenter ant colony will spider web it’s way through various areas of your homes understructure until they have established a proverbial carpenter and metropolis.

A common entry point into your home for carpenter ants is the garage. The exposed nature of the wood framing in your garage makes it ideal and easily accessible for the colony starters. It’s fairly easy to miss the initial presence of carpenter ants, but sooner or later you will start to notice fine, saw dust like particles on and around your wood framing. This is the first sign of an invasion! Things are now hostile and you should contact an exterminator ASAP.  While prevention is ultimately the best way to avoid dealing with a carpenter ant invasion, you may be caught off guard. If, in fact, this is the case then your garage may be in need of some structural repair. Hopefully this isn’t the case and you detect the presence of the ants early, but they may leave you in need of repairs to your homes wooden structure. Keep your garage safe and prepared with preventative measures and keep those carpenter ants at bay!