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Garage Door Frequently Asked Questions

Wondering what's wrong with your door? Not sure what to do? Check out our frequently asked questions and answers to help get you on your way. If you're still stuck, give us a call!

Can I turn off or remove the safety beams?

No. All residential garage door openers manufactured since 1993 require some form of safety device to protect people, pets and objects from injury or damage if they are in the door's path. The opener will not be in compliance if the beam is tampered with, removed, or otherwise disengaged. 

How do I open the garage door when there is a power outage?

It depends on the model so always refer to the owner's manual for further instructions. You can open the door from the inside using the red emergency release cord. Opening the door from the outside requires installation of an emergency release lock. 

How do I release the door from the opener so that I can open the garage door by hand?
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.
How do I tell if the garage door spring is balanced properly?
Disconnect the opener by pulling the red release cord with the door fully closed. Open the door halfway by hand 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. 
How do safety beams work?

Safety beams are actually an invisible, continual, infrared electronic beam that stretches across the door at its installation point. This beam scans the garage door opening at all times and if interrupted by a person, animal or object, it automatically stops the door from traveling. To work properly, beams should be located at least 5 inches but not more than 6 inches from the floor. 

How does a garage door transmitter (remote) work?

A transmitter is a simple remote device that transmits a radio signal to your garage door opener receiver (the unit mounted in your garage), telling it to operate your garage door. The technology of the transmitter has advanced over the years to provide additional security, which has led to the development and popularity of other remote entry devices such as key fobs that operate the locks on your car doors. 

How long should my garage door springs last?

The most common torsion springs have an expected life of about 10,000 “cycles”. A cycle is one opening and one closing of the garage door. The steel spring experiences tremendous force each time the door opens or closes. Gradually, the steel fatigues with each flex, and eventually cracks and breaks, usually releasing its stored energy in an instant with a loud noise or bang.

In garage door repairs, most accidents occur during the replacement of the springs. Also, if one spring breaks and they were installed at the same time, it is likely that the other will not be far behind since they both have the same wear and tear. For this reason, we suggest changing both springs at once (we always replace both if they are extension type) to save you the expense of a second service trip.


How often should my overhead garage door be serviced?
Your overhead garage door is the largest piece of moving equipment in your home. Most families use their garage door more than their front door. In order to ensure a properly working door and opener, you should have your overhead garage door and opener serviced every year. The noises your door or opener make are your initial "warnings" that something is not quite right. The longer you put off the necessary service, the more damage may result. Regular service can extend the life of your door and opener. 
I heard a loud bang in the garage and can’t open the garage door. What happened?

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. It is recommended that you replace both springs if only one is broken since they both have the same wear and tear. 

What maintenance can I do on my garage door and opener?

Review your owner's manual for the garage door and opener for specific maintenance instructions.

Because a garage door is a very large, heavy, moving part, it's prone to fall out of adjustment with daily use. When this happens, the door becomes harder and harder to lift and lower. The best way to lengthen a garage door's life span is to perform the following maintenance on at least an annual basis.

Visual Inspection. Stand inside the garage with the garage door closed. Look over the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware, such as hinges, for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any loose screws, bolts, or nuts, tighten them so parts won't fall out of adjustment. Look for cable wear or fraying. Is the mounting hardware becoming loose? If something doesn't look quite right - or doesn't sound quite right - it could be the symptom of a more serious issue. Have the garage door system inspected by a trained service technician.

NOTE: Garage door springs, cables, brackets, and other hardware attached to the springs are under very high tension and, if handled improperly, can cause serious injury. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself. Only a trained service technician should adjust them.

Door Balance Test. If your door is equipped with an automatic opener system: close the door and disconnect the automatic opener. You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three or four feet above the floor. If it is difficult to open or does not remain open, the door may be out of balance and should be serviced by a trained service technician.

Reversing Mechanism Test. With the door fully open, lay a piece of wood such as a section of a 2 x 4 on the floor in the center of the garage door opening where the door would touch the floor. Push your garage door opener's transmitter or wall button to close the door. When the door strikes the wood, the door should automatically reverse. If the door does not automatically reverse, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician. Note: Garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, are required by federal law to be equipped with a reversing mechanism and a photo eye or edge sensor as added measures of safety to prevent entrapment. If your system does not have these features, replacement of your automatic operating system is recommended.

Photo Eye Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener's transmitter or wall button to close the door. Wave a long object, such as a broomstick, in front of one of the door's photo eyes so it "breaks the beam." The door should reverse.
If it does not reverse and reopen, pull the broomstick out of the path of the closing door. Close the door. With the door in the closed position, clean the photo eyes with a soft, dry cloth. Gently adjust the photo eyes by hand if they appear to be out of alignment. Open the door and repeat the photo eye test. If the door does not reverse and reopen, the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.

Force Setting Test. With the door fully open, push your garage door opener's transmitter or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, hold up the bottom of the door with your hands outstretched and stiff. If the door does not easily reverse and continues to close, pull your hands away immediately. The closing force is excessive and the door should be serviced by a trained service technician.

Lubrication. Apply a small amount of lubricant to the door's hinges, rollers and tracks. We suggest light weight oil, such as 3-in-1 oil. Many stores also carry a garage door lube spray. Never use grease of any kind as it stiffens in cold weather like ours. 

While I was closing the garage door something caused the door to stop halfway and now the door is hanging crooked in the opening. What is wrong with the door?

Most likely one of the garage door cables has come off of the drum or broken. The cables may still be under spring tension and should not be touched without the proper knowledge and tools to make the repair. In most cases you are better off to leave the door in whatever position it is in until it can be properly repaired. If you must force the door up to get a car out you should do so by pushing the lower end of the door up. If you must force the door down to secure your garage you should do so by pushing the higher end of the door down. 

Why do I have to hold the wall button in to get the opener to close?

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. If the infrared beams are not blocked and the photo-cells appear that they are aligned, you will want to have an experience service technician 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. 

Why does the garage door reverse and open when I try to close it?

The likely culprit is an obstruction in the path of the door. Check for and clear any obstruction in the path of the door. If the problem persists, check to see if the safety beams are dirty or mis-aligned. Simply point them directly at each other. 

Why is the opener running but the door isn’t moving?

The door may be disengaged. Check to be sure that the red emergency release cord hasn't been pulled. If this is the culprit, re-engage the carriage. How to re-engage the carriage depends on the model. See your owner's manual for more details. The other possibility is that a plastic gear inside the motor has stripped. Many brands have replaceable gears. 

Why won’t the remote work?

First of all make sure that the opener works from the wall button. If it does check to see if it's just one remote control or all of the remote controls. If it's just one remote control check the battery on that remote. If none of the remote controls are working , make sure that the "lock mode" was not activated on the wall control. If you have made all of the preceding checks it can usually be presumed that the receiver is bad and an experienced service technician should be able to easily diagnose and repair the problem or advise on a new opener.