Archive for April, 2009

Garage Door and Operator Questions and Answers

April 15, 2009

Q. How do I know what size garage door I have or need?

A. Measure the width of the actual finished opening and then the height. Garage door sizes are always shown and listed as the width first and then the height. In addition, many garage door dealers provide free in house estimates and will measure the opening for you while they are at your home or project site to determine the proper size.

Q. How do I release the door from the operator so that I can open the garage door by hand?

A. With the garage door fully closed, simply pull the red release cord down toward the floor. Always take special caution whenever you release the garage door opener if the door is not in the fully closed position, since the door may want to slam closed when released. If at all possible do not release the garage door when open, except for emergency or security purposes and close the door with caution. Some older openers may not have a red release cord and may need to be released by pulling down a handle, a spring loaded clip, or even possibly unbolting the arm from the door and opener. If you do have an older door that is difficult to disconnect you may want to replace the opener with a new garage door opener that has an easy pull red release cord.

Q. How can I tell if the garage door spring is balanced properly?

A. Open the door halfway by hand (release operator first) and let go of the door. The door should pretty much stay in the same position, although some slight drifting may occur. If the door wants to drop or if it opens on it’s own the garage door springs should be adjusted by trained and experienced garage door service technicians. To avoid possible severe injuries do not attempt to adjust the springs yourself without having the proper training and tools.

Q. We heard a loud noise in the garage and have not been able to open the garage door since we heard the noise? What could possibly be wrong with the door?

A. It is very highly likely that you have a broken spring that should be replaced by an experienced and qualified garage door service technician. If your springs (torsion springs) are on a shaft across the top of the door, you will see an approx 2″ separation in the spring. If your springs (extension springs) stretch along the track on the sides you will find that they are very obviously in two separate pieces.

Q. I have two springs on a shaft across the top of the door and one of the springs is broken. How do I know if I should change both springs or just the one spring that is broken?

A. We highly recommend that you change both springs at the same time, since both springs have been under the same amount of stress each time the door has been opened and closed. Unfortunately a visual inspection of the spring can not determine the further life expectancy of the spring. However, in many cases it will cost less to have both springs changed at the same time than if you only had one spring changed at a time. In addition, if you have extension springs on your door, the door may not balance properly with one new spring and one fatigued spring. Place a service order today to have both springs replaced and get your door back in proper working order!

Q. My spring broke very close to the end of the spring. Can I just throw away the part that broke off and reuse the rest of the old spring without having any problems?

A. The remaining unbroken part of the spring should never be reused. Not only is the old spring fatigued for the full length of the spring and could easily break again at any moment, changing the length of the spring will also distort the lifting power of the spring and will not balance the weight of the garage door properly. Do not attempt to replace the spring yourself and have it changed by a qualified service technician.

Q. Our garage door opener will not do anything at all when we push the button. What should we look for first?

A. The first thing that you should verify is that the opener is still plugged into the electric outlet. Secondly you should confirm that there is power coming out of the electric outlet or plug the opener into another outlet with a temporary extension cord. If there is power to the operator then there is some type of mechanical or electrical problem within the garage door opener itself and may need to be diagnosed by a qualified service technician.
The light comes on but the garage door opener will not open or close the door. What should we look at first?

If the light on the garage door opener comes on, obviously the opener is getting power and the problem would be in the electrical or mechanical workings of the opener. Be sure to unplug the operator before making any attempt to remove the motor head cover. To avoid the possibility of electrical shock, why not have your garage door opener repair made by a knowledgeable service tech. If your garage door opener is more than ten years old you may want to consider replacing the garage door opener to one with the latest safety features.

Q. Both of our transmitters quit working at the same time. Should we try changing the batteries in the remote controls?

A. Very seldom will the batteries in both transmitters go dead at the same time. Most likely the problem is in the radio receiver that is in the garage. It is also possible that the problem could be inside the operator itself and that it is no longer sending power to the receiver unit. (On some openers the the receiver and logic board are combined together on one solid state circuit board). It may be to your advantage to have a professional service call to determine the true problem.

Q. Our garage door opener was working fine, but all of a sudden we have to hold the wall button down to get the door to close. How can we get the door opener to start working properly again?

A. It sounds like the photo-cell safety beams are blocked, misaligned, or malfunctioning. Move any objects that may be interfering with the signal and verify that the photo-cell LED lights are illuminated as per the manufacturer’s instructions. (The photo-cells can not be permanently removed from garage door openers that were built since 1993). If the infrared beams are not blocked and the photo-cells appear that they are aligned, then contact your local garage door opener repairman to diagnose and repair the problem. You will not be able to close the door with the remote control transmitter until the photo-cells are in proper working order.

Q. While we were closing the overhead garage door something caused the door to stop halfway and now the door is hanging crooked in opening. What is wrong with the door?.

A. Most likely one of the garage door cables has come off of the cable drum (side that is hanging the lowest) from closing on something. The cables may still be under spring tension and should not be touched without the proper knowledge and tools to make the repair. In addition, trying to force the garage door closed or open may cause further damage to the garage door tracks and may also cause the door to fall to the floor. In most cases you are better off to leave the door in whatever position it is in until it can be properly repaired

Q. The two bottom sections of our garage door were damaged by a car bumping into the door. Can the two sections be replaced?

A. Yes the two bottom sections can be replaced as long as the sections are still available (many older garage doors have sections that are no longer made and it may be very difficult to find an exact match). However, in many cases the cost of the two sections and the labor to replace them may be very close to the cost of a brand new replacement garage door that will have all new track, springs, and hardware included along with the door sections.

Q. The cable on the garage door appears to be fraying. Should we be very concerned about this problem?

Your amount of concern should depend upon how much the cable is frayed, although the problem will only continue to get worst. If the cable is severely frayed to where there is only a few strands left that could break at any moment, the cable should be replaced by a qualified garage door service technician as soon as possible.

We hope you have found this page to be helpful on answering your basic garage door and garage door opener questions. We will always welcome any feedback that you would like to provide by contacting us!

Garage Door Safety Checklist

April 13, 2009

SPRINGS AND CABLES

Installation safety containment cable On all Clopay torsion spring doors, the spring is installed around the torsion shaft so that, if a spring should break, it cannot snap free and cause damage or injury.


Conventional garage door bottom brackets are under extreme tension and can cause serious injury if deliberately or accidentally loosened or removed by someone inexperienced in garage door installation or maintenance. Clopay brand garage residential steel doors feature our patented Safe-T-Bracket™ which, under normal circumstances, cannot be removed while the door is under tension, thus significantly reducing the risk of serious injury.

Are you able to loosen the bottom brackets of the garage door?

Have you checked the spring on your garage door?
Beware of old springs. Keep in mind that garage door springs are tightly wound and under high tension. Eventually, all springs will wear out and break, even high quality steel springs like those used by Clopay. A breaking spring that is not properly contained could lash out and strike property or people. Properly installed Clopay doors have containment cables on extension springs and the shaft on the torsion spring will contain the spring on these types of doors. If you have an older garage door, be certain your springs are inspected by a professional installer and replaced if needed. If your door has two springs, replace both, even if one is not broken. This will not only prevent any damage caused by the breaking of the second spring, but also keep your door working efficiently.

Installing Torsion SpringAre there any frayed or have worn strips hanging loose on the spring system?
If the cables that attach from the spring system to the bottom bracket on either side of your garage door have frayed or have worn strips hanging loose, your cables are in danger of breaking, which could cause serious injury or property damage. Have the cables inspected immediately by a trained professional who is aware of the potential dangers from spring tension.

Is it a safety concern if the springs are noisy?
Sometimes older springs become squeaky or make a chattering noise. The noise is caused by the spring coils rubbing against one another. This is not a safety concern and can be corrected with a spray-on lubricant.


To ensure safe installation, are the services of a professional installer required for standard torsion spring door installation?

Manual winding of a torsion spring during installation or adjustment is extremely difficult and potentially dangerous. Torsion spring garage doors should be installed only by trained professionals.

Michael Dryer / Cookson Door Sales/ Clopay Building Products