Automatic garage door openers are one of the true conveniences of modern domestic life. You can arrive home in a blinding snowstorm yet still get yourself and your car neatly tucked away without a single flake landing on your head. That’s the upside. When your garage door decides not to play nice, however, it can be a different story. Sometimes an overhead door will, seemingly out of the blue, get stuck part way up or part way down in the cycle. What then?
When to Call For Garage Door Repair
Yes, garage doors will sometimes get stuck which can be a major inconvenience. However, a door getting stuck doesn’t just happen. There’s a reason why the door got stuck and often times that reason can be traced back to a lack of proper maintenance or service on the door. Here are a half dozen of the most common reasons a garage door will get stuck.
- Poor Lubrication - If your door’s motor has a chain drive the chain needs to be lubricated on a regular basis, just like the chain on a bicycle. If you skip this simple but crucial maintenance step, you’re likely to experience the door seizing up on you at some point. You can avoid this altogether by scheduling annual garage door maintenance.
- Sensor Obstructions - This applies to the door failing to close. Garage doors use a beam that goes between sensors on each side of the track to tell them if something is in the way of the door. If the beam is broken the door, sensing there may be a person or pet in the way, will not close. Sometimes however other things can get in the way of the sensor like blowing leaves, paper or a fallen garden tool. Until the obstruction is cleared the door will not close. You can usually handle this yourself.
- A Damaged Track - Sometimes people accidentally strike the track with their car. If you’ve struck the track and then left the house you may not know you’ve damaged the track until you return later and the door won’t open. If you do accidentally strike the track make sure you run the door through a couple of up/down cycles to ensure everything is still operating the way it's supposed to. If your tracks need to be realigned after being struck, you are best advised to leave that to the garage door professionals.
- Sensors Out of Line - If you hit the track with your car while backing out you might not do any damage to the track itself but you can knock the sensors mentioned above out of alignment. In this case the door may go up fine but refuse to close. If one of the sensors has simply become misaligned you usually won’t have to call for garage door repair. You can move things back into alignment yourself with minimal effort.
- Broken Spring - Once in a while the door will begin to open and then suddenly crash back to the ground and stay that way. This is usually an indication that either the torsion spring or one of the extension springs has snapped. Contrary to popular belief it’s not the motor that lifts a garage door, it’s the spring. Springs usually snap because they’re old, but that aging process can be accelerated by poor maintenance. If the spring has snapped you’ll need to call for fast garage door repair immediately.
- Door Lock Engaged - Most garage doors have a handle on them which, if turned, engages the manual lock system on the inside of the door. Sometimes this gets turned by accident and can cause quite a bit of confusion. If your door is refusing to open, the manual locking mechanism is one of the first things you should check. It could save you the time and money of calling for garage door repair when it’s really not needed.
While some of the reasons a garage door may fail to open have to do with inadequate maintenance, cold weather can present its own set of challenges to automatic doors especially in this part of the country. If your door is generally working fine and then suddenly starts acting up during one of Colorado’s patented arctic cold snaps the problem may be weather related. For instance:
- Metal being metal it will contract in the cold. The colder it gets, the greater the contraction. In extreme cold springs or other metal components of your garage door opener may seize up, causing the door to get stuck in either the open or closed position. The problem may be alleviated through the application of a silicon-based spray lubricant.
- When it’s really cold for prolonged periods of time grease may harden and cause the chain to lock up or prevent the spring from coiling and uncoiling properly. It is never, under any circumstances, a smart idea to work on the springs yourself. Garage door springs store enormous amounts of energy, which makes them potentially deadly if mishandled. Always call in the professionals if you think there is a problem related to the springs.
There are quite a few reasons why a garage door will get stuck. Some are maintenance-related while others are weather-related. Some of them are simple to fix; like moving whatever is blocking the sensor beam, or disengaging the manual lock. Some, however, will require the attention of professional garage door repair technicians like those from A Better Garage Door.
During our more than 19 years in the business here in Erie and Westminster, and all over Colorado, we’ve seen every kind of problem that can befall an overhead garage door and know the right way to go about fixing them all. If your garage door is sticking and you’re not sure why, don’t take any chances with your health and safety, call A Better Garage Door on (303) 920-2267. We’ll get someone there ASAP to inspect the door, diagnose the problem and set things right so that you can go back to other things, like relaxing after a hard day’s work.