The modern garage door has a well-deserved reputation for long-term dependability and safety. But nothing lasts forever and there comes a time when garage door replacement becomes not just a luxury but a necessity. Still, there are quite a number of folks out there who harbor the notion that if they can squeeze a few more cycles out of their overhead garage door they’ll end up ahead of the value curve. What’s more likely to happen is that they’ll end up behind the damage and injury curve. Old garage doors are no laughing matter. Like old, decrepit buildings they represent a significant safety hazard. Not to mention the fact that every day you hold onto a faltering old garage door it negatively affects the value of your home.
When the Time Comes to Replace the Garage Door, Don’t Wait
We’re homeowners too and understand how important it is to make every dollar stretch. But the line between being frugal and being careless is sometimes a razor thin one and folks can go too far in trying to squeeze one last lift out of their ancient garage door. Here are some of the dangers you open yourself and your loved ones up to if you fail to replace your old garage door.
- Collapse of the door - The garage door is not just the largest piece of moving equipment associated with a house, it’s also far and away the heaviest. An average size garage door can weigh in excess of 300 pounds. With many larger doors weighing twice that. But the door itself is not just the panels you see from the outside. It’s also the tracks and springs and rollers and cables and more. And it is these secondary components that actually lift the door and keep it in the air. So while your garage door panels may look fine, the tracks, rollers or springs may be on the verge of failure. That failure may take the form of the door racing down its tracks and slamming into whoever or whatever is in its way. Or it may take the form of the door popping out of the track and crashing down onto the car or anyone who is standing under the door at the time.
- Failure of the auto reverse system - In 1990 the Consumer Product Safety Commission published a report that stated 46 children in the US had been killed by garage doors between 1982 and 1989. The resulting public outrage resulted in new laws that required all garage doors manufactured after 1993 to be equipped with automatic reverse mechanisms. This law covered all new as well as replacement garage doors. The auto reverse mechanism shines a beam of light across the garage door opening. If anything breaks this beam of light while the door is closing the door automatically stops and returns to the open position. But like all other mechanical devices the auto reverse feature can be rendered useless with age. So the longer you hold onto your door the greater the likelihood someone will suffer a terrible fate because the auto-reverse mechanism failed.
- Broken springs - If you have managed to go 15 or even 20 years without having to replace one or both of your garage door extension or torsion springs you’re an exception to the rule. But just because you haven’t had to replace your garage door springs doesn’t mean that all is well. While new doors typically use 2 torsion springs older door designs only employed a single spring. So if yours is a torsion spring garage door and it’s more than 10 years old it probably only has the one spring. Why is that important? Because if the only spring snaps (as old springs are wont to do) there is no backup spring to stop the 300, 400 or 500 pound door from racing down the tracks to the ground. And woe unto anyone who is under it should this happen.
- Wasted energy - Most folks hold onto their old garage doors because they’re trying to save money. New garage doors are not cheap and they want to optimize their ROI on the existing door. While that might seem like a logical course of action it ignores the secondary expenses that come from having an old garage door. Primary among these are energy expenses. Doors designed and build 20 or 25 years ago were simply not designed to be particularly energy efficient. In fact most had no insulation. Even if you were an environmentally aware homeowner and added insulation to the back of the door at some point it isn’t going to be much help on a door that’s 20 years old.
Why? Because over time every aspect of the door becomes looser and allows more cold air in during the winter and cool air out during the summer. The seal between the door and the frame also becomes essentially useless. The bottom line is that the colder your garage is the more warm air it sucks out of adjoining rooms. As a result, any money you think you are saving by not investing in replacement garage doors is being spent on increased energy bills.
If your garage door is 15 or more years old it’s time to seriously consider garage door replacement. Give the pros at A Better Garage Door a call. They’ll provide cost-effective ways to replace the garage door.