Updated on September 18th 2023
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.
The safety of your family comes above all else - don’t let your garage door jeopardize it. Let’s explore the six top signs it’s time to replace an outdated garage door, and some common sense tips to improve the safety of every old and new garage door.
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, springs, 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 - The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 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 fifteen or even twenty 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 garage door 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.
The garage door is a marvel of modern engineering that allows you to enter and exit your home without ever having to directly interact with the weather. In truth, for most people with an automatic garage door on their house, it is the main entrance. The de facto “front door” in all but name. If your garage door is fifteen or more years old it’s time to seriously consider calling our experienced team of technicians for garage door replacement. They’ll provide cost-effective ways to replace the garage door.
Still, as convenient, quiet, dependable, attractive and easy garage doors may be maintain, even the newest model of garage doors by trusted names can pose a risk to your safety. Garage doors contain several hundred pounds of wood, steel, glass and more powered by an electric motor and tightly wound, highly dangerous springs. As such, proper garage door service in Northglenn is essential if everyone who interacts with the door is to do so safely.
The Importance of Garage Door Service in Broomfield and Northglenn
The potential for the garage door to cause harm must be respected. Those who take a cavalier attitude toward garage door safety are usually those who wind up experiencing injury, damage to their property or worse. Here are some common sense safety tips experts suggest you take to heart when it comes to your garage door.
- Don’t ever touch the door while it’s moving - The average sectional garage door has four or five rows of panels with hinges at the top and bottom of each row. These enable the door to turn the corner from vertical to horizontal and slide into the ceiling area above your car. Each one of these hinge points however, represents the potential loss of a finger or fingers. The pinching forces generated by the moving door can make short work of human flesh so you should never, ever, put your hands anywhere near the door or its hinge points while the door is in motion.
- Don’t ever try to repair garage door springs - Northglenn homeowners are not alone in thinking the garage door opener lifts the door. When in reality the opener’s job is simply to get the door moving and then regulate that movement so that it’s nice and smooth. Most of the heavy lifting is actually done by the torsion or extension springs. These large industrial springs store massive amounts of energy in their coils. Enough to kill anyone who might be near them when they snap. If you suspect problems with your garage door springs in Broomfield, don't risk your safety with D.I.Y. repairs. Leave the springs alone and call the pros to come take a look.
Review our previous guide to learn more about the biggest DIY garage door repair risks.
- Have any broken windows or panels replaced immediately - Broken garage door panels can throw off the dynamics of the door which in turn might cause an accident. They’re also a security hazard in that they make it easier for the local B&E guys - who are always casing homes to look for weak points - to gain entry to your home. Broken glass panels are an even greater threat because they not only make it easier for criminals to gain access, but the broken glass can cause injury to you, your family members and your pets
- Make sure the auto-reverse is always working - The auto reverse mechanism consists of a beam of light that is projected across the opening of the door. If someone (like your child) or something (like your pet) breaks that beam of light while the door is closing it will immediately stop, reverse course and return to the open position. This simple but extremely effective mechanism has a weak point however, in that the electric eye can sometimes become misaligned. Thereby rendering the auto reverse useless. From time to time check on the auto-reverse and make sure it’s working properly. Do this by opening the door while standing back from it and then breaking the beam with a broom while the door is closing. It should immediately reverse course and return to the open position. If it doesn’t, contact us for garage door service in Northglenn or Broomfield.
- Don’t play chicken with the door - Some folks are fond of hitting the “close” button and then trying to dash out of the garage before the door comes down. Of course the auto-reverse should prevent the door from closing if you break the beam. But if you slide under the beam the door will continue to close. If you just happen to get stuck under the closing door or bang your head on it as you try to slip out things could get very nasty very quick. Don’t play chicken with the door.
- Have the door checked regularly - The best way to ensure you are not the victim of accidents caused by broken springs or cables, misaligned tracks, stuck rollers or a faulty motor is to have your overhead garage door inspected on an annual or twice-annual basis. In this way any small issues that might be gestating can be identified and corrected before they grow into serious situations. Remember - the garage door hanging over your head may weigh several hundred pounds, and there is not much you can do to protect yourself if it comes crashing down on you or your car.
The Bottom Line
You certainly have no reason to be afraid of your garage door, any more than you need to be afraid of your car. But, as is the case with the car, you need to make sure you don’t operate the garage door recklessly or ignore signs that a replacement is needed. If you suspect something is wrong with your door, the right thing to do is to call A Better Garage Door for garage door services in Broomfield, Parker, and dozens of nearby Colorado communities. Take the above tips to heart and you should have a long happy relationship with your door.