Your garage door is made of a complex set of components to allow a small electric motor to raise and lower a door hundreds of pounds in weight. It includes a number of features to prevent serious injury should something malfunction. Periodic inspection of the mechanism by a residential garage door repair company is important, but there are some safety checks you should do in between visits. Here are the three areas you should check regularly to make sure that they are keeping you and your family safe.
Garage Door Springs Safety Cables
Critical to the garage door mechanism are the two high-tension coiled springs that counterbalance the weight of the door. They allow the electric motor or you to open and close the heavy door. Should one of the springs break or become disconnected at either end, it could fly across the room and do serious damage to the garage, car or anyone in its way. To prevent this, safety cables keep the springs from going anywhere in case of a failure. Check these cables to make sure they are safely in place:
- Locate the two springs running parallel to the ceiling.
- Look for the braided steel cable running through each spring.
- Check that one end of the cable is attached to the bracket on the ceiling and the other to the metal track running along side of the door.
- Check that the safety cable is not frayed, bent or kinked.
- If you spot any issues, call the garage door company to replace the defective cable.
Near the floor on either side of the garage door are two small infrared sensors pointed at each other. When working properly, an invisible infrared beam runs between the two sensors. While the garage door is opening or closing, should something or someone interrupt the beam, the door should stop moving and automatically raise. This prevents the door from closing on something, such as a child playing in the garage. Check the sensors to make sure they are working correctly.
- Raise the garage door.
- Lower the door and, while it is still moving down, roll a ball across the infrared beam. The door should stop immediately and raise.
- If the door does not stop immediately and raise, check that the infrared sensors are pointed at each other. Check that the wires are connected at the back of the sensors. Follow the wires as they go to the back of the garage door motor.
- Bend the brackets slightly to aim the sensors at each other or reattach the wires if these are the problems, and try the door again.
- If the sensors still fail, contact the garage door company to service them.
An additional safety mechanism to prevent the door from closing on something is the pressure sensor. This is built into the motor. As the door lowers, the motor detects when the it meets resistance. When it does, the door should stop immediately and raise.
- Raise the garage door.
- Place a chair in the way of the door closing, being careful to straddle the infrared beam so it doesn't trigger the motion sensor.
- Lower the garage door. It should stop and reverse the moment it touches the chair.
- If the door continues down slightly before reversing when it touches the chair, or doesn't reverse at all, look on the back of the motor for the screw or dial marked "Pressure."
- Turn the screw or dial in the direction marked "Less Pressure" and try the door again.
- If the door still doesn't stop and reverse, call for service as soon as you can.
For more information on garage door repair, contact a company like Crawford Door Company.