Securing Your Home after the Storm: Assessing Your Garage Door System 

Most of us think of a garage door as a convenience, allowing us to park our cars in a relatively protected space so that we don’t have to get too cold or wet. Garage doors do much more though. They protect your home from intrusion, help to regulate the internal environment of your home, protect your car from crime, and withstand the elements to protect not just your car, but your home from flooding and other types of damage. Garage doors aren’t immune to damage, however, so inspecting your garage door after a storm is a good idea to ensure that it is good condition and can still offer you all of the benefits it should. To help you with that inspection, here is a list of components to investigate.

Hinges

Hinges allow the door to pivot in specific locations, but also ensure that, when closed, the door cannot be moved in a way that would allow a person or wind-blown debris to enter. Inspect every pivot point after a strong storm to ensure that they operate properly as the door is opened and closed.

Springs

Springs are necessary to help counterbalance the weight of garage doors. Without working springs, it is nearly impossible to open a garage door, even with an electric assist motor. Springs also help to keep doors from falling when they are open, so they are critical safety devices. Inspect springs for weak points and breaks. Broken springs are relatively easy to identify, but stressed springs can be harder to spot. Look for areas where the spring doesn’t coil uniformly or where the metal appears to be discolored (usually lighter than surrounding areas). Watch the springs as the door opens and closes, looking for points where the spring appears to bind or where the door appears to stick.

Tracks, Drums, Cables, Belts, and Chains

To keep your garage door opening smoothly, a number of tracks, cables, chains, and belts may be used. The exact components differ between different door types, so the exact inspection needs will vary based on your door. Look at all of the moving parts of your garage door system to see if any are broken, don’t move smoothly, or are not aligned properly. In general, these components are easily fixed or are inexpensive to replace. Not repairing them promptly, however, can lead to more extensive and more expensive damage. You can read more over at GarageDoorService.com to learn about specific garage door components and how to inspect them for damage.

Electronics

Lightening is the main cause of damage to the electronic components of a garage door. Lightening can damage the electric motor itself or electronic components of the opener. Signs of lightening damage include an opener that functions erratically, failure of a remote or keypad to work, lights that are not lit, or flashing lights on the back of a circuit board. Most people don’t use surge protectors on their garage door openers, but most manufacturers recommend them. You can use the same surge protectors you would use with electronics to protect your garage door opener from lightening.

Weather Seals and Insulation

Weather seals are easily damaged by debris, ice, and extreme temperatures. In the cold weather, a seal can be damaged when it is frozen to the ground and you attempt to open the garage door. Inspect your seals every few months and after severe weather. Look for tears, discoloration, dents, and debris stuck to the seal.

Most modern garage doors are insulated to provide resistance against heat loss and gain. This insulation can be damaged in a number of ways, but generally only if the door façade is penetrated or damaged in some way. Inspect the surface of your garage door for damage and inspect the insulation in any area where you do find damage. Ensure that the insulation isn’t wet and that it is intact. If you find damage to your garage door, repair it immediately to avoid more extensive damage to the insulation.

When to Inspect a Garage Door

You should inspect your garage door after every major storm, but you should also do bi-annual inspections as well. The best times to do routine inspections are right before winter and right after winter when the weather begins to warm. By inspecting your door regularly and addressing problems before they become serious, you can ensure years of trouble-free operation from your garage door.

Elliot Pugh is a home improvement contractor. He likes sharing his insights online. You can find his posts on many home improvement blog sites. 

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