Why You Need To Have A Basic Understanding About How Your Garage Door Works

Few people ever give it any thought, until of course it goes wrong that is, but the garage door is by far the largest and heaviest moving part of your home. It forms a large area at the front of your property, and unless properly fitted and insulated can also account for a lot of heat loss. The majority of home owners have no idea of the various component parts contained within a garage door, and while this article is not written with the intention of turning your into a garage door repair specialist, its concept is to give you at least a basic knowledge of the various major parts of the system. Once you have a basic knowledge, if and when your door malfunctions, at least you will have some idea of what is wrong and how to go about fixing it.

The Motor And Gears

To open any garage door mechanically, you require some sort of force to start the momentum. That is what the motor part of the system does, as well as slowing down the garage door as it is about to close. Contrary to popular belief the motor isn’t responsible for the heavy lifting aspect of the process. When something is wrong with the motor, you will know very quickly as when it is working properly there will be some noise generated as the motor begins to work. If you press your garage door opener, nothing happens and no sound is heard, the likelihood is that the motor has developed a fault.

The Torsion Spring

These springs are the muscles behind your garage door. They are responsible for all of the heavy lifting and should be regularly checked for signs of wear and tear or rust. The average lifetime for a spring is anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 cycles, so they will eventually wear out. However, it is unlikely that they will suddenly stop working, so if you give them a visual check at least once a month, you will be able to take preventative action before anything goes wrong

The Drum

Every time the garage door opens, the cable winds itself around the drum. As time passes by there is always a chance that the drum can become damaged. In the worst case scenario, the cables could slip off the circular drum, causing the door to free fall. That’s why it is always important to regularly check the drum for signs of wear and tear.

The Cables

The cables are attached to the counterbalance system and then to the bottom roller. As the garage door raises and lowers they wrap around the drum and pull the door up or down. Again over time these cables can become worn and frayed. Once the deterioration begins it can develop quickly, which is why you need to perform regular  visual inspections.

Garage Tracks

These are normally on either side of the garage door, and act as a guide/container for the garage door as it slides upwards. The guides can move, becoming bent or damaged which can then prevent the garage door from opening, or even in extreme circumstances the garage door could become dislodged from the track entirely.

 Emergency Pull Cord

While not an important part of the opening and closing mechanism, the emergency pull cord performs a very important function. If there is a problem with the mechanism, or imagine that the electricity supply has been disrupted, by pulling the emergency pull cord, this will allow you to open and close the door manually. If you ever need to use this cord, just remember to reconnect it afterwards, otherwise the door will only open manually.

Photo Eyes

Photo eyes are an important safety feature made compulsory for any doors fitted after 1983. Photo eyes operate by sending a constant beam between them. In the event that the beam is broken, the garage door will immediately stop closing. This is to prevent people getting trapped between the garage door and the floor. Photo eyes can become dirty, or misaligned, and then stop working properly, so if the door is refusing to close check the photo eyes first.

Top Brackets

The top brackets, which are sometimes referred to as the top fixtures, are structured supports fitted to the top of the garage door. Their purpose is to provide attachments for the lifting cables

Bottom Brackets

The bottom brackets, which some manufacturers may refer to as the bottom fixtures are fitted to the bottom of the garage door. Much like the top brackets, their purpose is to provide attachments for the lifting cables.

The Garage Door

For some reason many people don’t consider the garage door itself but the door is an important part of the system. Each individual door is matched to the lifting mechanism, and as such the door itself cannot be ignored. Garage doors are generally of two different types, either one piece, in which case the door will lift up and over, or sectional doors, which will roll up. Should the door itself ever be damaged or dented, this can cause problems, so always check the door carefully to make sure it is in perfect condition. One of the benefits of sectional doors, is that it may be possible to replace one section of the door, should a section become damaged. When a one-piece door is damaged this will normally require a replacement with a totally new door.

Garage Door Opener

This is like the remote control system for your garage door, and is one of the most regular reasons people call out a garage door repair company. Always check the batteries and the spare remote to see if the mechanism is at fault or the remote itself. Sometimes it can be as simple as replacing the batteries.

Garage doors are both heavy and complex pieces of equipment. Some doors can contain upward of 1000 separate parts, and care must be taken when attempting repairs on a door. It would be impossible to mention all of the various parts in a garage door and so the above components are the main items, which will be found on nearly every door regardless of manufacturer. This guide is not intended to give you technical advice to repair a damaged door, but is simply to give you a basic guide, as to what the problem could be. For all major repairs we would strongly recommend calling in an expert. The risks of fatality or serious injury to your family, or damage to your property can be very high, if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. Provided you regularly service your garage door, and perform monthly visual checks on the various components mentioned above, your garage door should give you many years of problem free service.