A garage door is one of the most vital components of your home in many ways. Not only does it provide one of the most visible components of your property, being one of the forward-facing aspects of your house, but it also serves as an entryway into your household and a means to express the individuality of your property. As such, the garage door should be treated as importantly as your front door or lawn, and maintained similarly. Given the fact that the garage door is also the most prominent entryway into your home, a lot of care should also be taken to ensure that it functions properly and both lets people into your home as well as keeping unwanted intruders out.
Every installation has a couple of universal methods to keep it in good working order. Garage doors have hinges and rollers which require lubrication every so often to keep movement smooth between the parts, and this lubricant can be purchased from your local hardware stores at inexpensive prices. Additionally, basic preventative maintenance would involve checking the bolts and screws to ensure they are tight and that the balance of the door is not off. An improperly-balanced door will cause stress on the parts and necessitate repair that much faster. These steps do require a bit of knowledge, though, so be sure to call a professional garage door repair technician if you're not completely sure of what to do.
Another point to keep in mind is if your door is made out of good, keeping it properly painted and waterproofed is important as well. Over time, sunlight and rain will cause cracks and damage to the wood which will result not only in an unsightly appearance but reduce the structural integrity of the door, making it possible for it to get damaged or even for people to break in. This isn't as applicable with metal doors, but depending on the moisture and humidity in your region, rust can be a possible issue to keep on top of.
The main failing point of a installation, however, are the springs. Springs are high-tension and have a limited lifespan by design, and as such require replacement when they are on their last legs. Typical garage door springs last 10,000 cycles while extended lifespan springs can go up to 100,000. Of course, the specific lifespan depends on a number of factors, such as how often you use the door, how long the spring's been around before you moved in, and so on. If you know a spring is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may be best to replace it to avoid the risk of being locked in your home.
Unlike lubricating the tracks and rollers, spring inspection and replacement is fairly dangerous for the inexperienced or untrained consumer. Springs are tightly wound up and are under a considerable amount of pressure, making them dangerous to work with without proper equipment or training as they can cause physical injury if not handled correctly. Unless you are properly educated in garage door spring maintenance, it's best to consult with your local repair technician instead to handle all tune-ups and maintenance work.
So what happens when maintenance is not performed? To start, your door probably won't open if a critical component, such as the springs or the opener, malfunction or break. Depending on your household's vehicle arrangement, this can leave you stranded inside your home and unable to drive anywhere you need to. In more severe situations, the track or roller may end up bending or breaking, potentially causing damage to whatever is underneath them or causing structural damage to the garage. These sort of situations can get expensive to repair quickly, even if addressed early on.
Hiring a garage door technician to perform regular maintenance on your installation is the best way to prevent a lot of the common mishaps that lead to huge inconveniences such as this. Most garage doors only need to be serviced once every 6-12 months, so a small bit of time and money spent can go a long way to preventing potentially crippling damage to your home.
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