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Testing Old Doors for Safety


Safety Tips

Although June is just about over, we want to continue sharing door safety tips such as these. We are taking a look at what you can do to practice Garage Door Safety when you have older garage doors. In older houses or building, the garage door may be original or a replacement. Not sure of its vintage? You might be able to track the door’s manufacturing date through a model type listed in the owner’s manual. If not, conduct this series of tests in order to discover if the door does not have a reversing feature or is a modern model with the feature in need of repair.

Balance. To check balance, start with the door closed and trip the release mechanism so you can maneuver the door by hand. If the door is balanced (properly spring-loaded and running freely on its tracks), you should be able to lift the door smoothly without much effort and it should stay open about three or four feet above the floor.

If the door flies up or down when you let go, the balance needs adjusting. Because the springs store so much power, you should have their tension corrected by a qualified service contractor.

Force setting. Test the force setting of the opener by holding the bottom of the door as it closes. If the door does not reverse as you apply moderate resistance, the setting is probably excessive. (Consult your owner’s manual for specific details about adjusting the setting.)

Reversing test. Place a 2-by-4 block on the flat in the path of the door. If it does not promptly reverse on hitting the block, you should repair a modern opener or replace an older one that lacks the reversing feature.

Basic maintenance

The humdrum part is basic maintenance, mainly cleaning, oiling and a shot of graphite in the lock. Many manufacturers recommend cleaning the tracks and then applying a light machine oil, except to plastic parts.

One of the largest door makers, Genie, says to oil door rollers, bearings and hinges monthly, using a silicone lubricant or light oil.

There are some fixes any homeowner with a level and socket wrench can take on, such as aligning the tracks. Though door wheels have some leeway, if the tracks are not parallel and plumb, the wheels can drag and also wear out prematurely. The solution is to loosen the bolts in the track mounts just enough so you can realign the tracks before re-tightening.  Omega Door and Hardware encourages you to continue practicing garage door safety.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com