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Install Your Own Opener? Or Hire a Professional..?

Should I buy and install my own opener to save money? Or call a professional garage door repair technician?

There are many different brands of garage door openers, but at Complete Garage Door Service we only recommend two different brands. Linear and LiftMaster are the brands we offer based upon manufacturer’s warranty, company rapport, reliability, and quality.Complete Garage Door Service Opener Installed

If you shop around with the local building supply chains (Home Depot, Lowes) the openers they sell come in a box with a lot of assembly is required. For these supply chains, packaging takes precedence over quality.

The box store rails come in pieces rather than one long solid rail, which was the industry standard before the supply chains needed the entire opener to fit in one snug little box good for the drive home in a Ford Fiesta, but little else. Sectional rails are OK initially if the garage door is in good working order. As the torsion springs stretch and begin to lose their lifting power, it is the duty of the garage door opener to compensate for that to a limited extent. When the opener is forced to compensate, the rail will bow and flex, putting strain on the chain or belt drive.

As you might have guessed the sectional rail flexes a lot more than a solid rail the more your rail moves in ways it shouldn’t the harder it is on the opener sometime causing it to damage its self. This also affects how the opener reacts to coming into contact with an obstruction. Openers are designed to only put so much pressure on the down travel motion. If you have a multi-piece rail from the box store, it has more flexibility than the more rigid single piece rail. This flexibility cause the opener to exert more downward force before stopping a moving back up. This can cause more damage to the garage door opener motor, shortening its lifespan.

Why get the box store opener? Well for the obvious reason it is cheaper right? Maybe, but after factoring in installation, time spent attempting the install yourself, and potential for creating more problems with the door itself, the cost differences begin to dissipate. One of the most common mistakes I see from “do it yourself” home owners while installing their own openers is using the wrong force settings, the location of the rail, J-arm angle, lack of a support strut (which in the best case scenario causes undue stress on the top section of the door and the worst case it destroys the whole door). Many times new installers will make a series of minor mistakes leading to significant premature wear of the door and opener.

We have asked many homeowners if they would have rather called in a professional to install a garage door opener and a majority of the time, they would rather have called us first. Usually saving themselves money, as more repairs are often needed to fix the problems caused by a “handy-man” installation.

Give us a call, or visit our website, we are always happy to answer any questions you have!

Considering a Side-Mount (Jackshaft) Garage Door Opener?

Are you considering a Jackshaft garage door opener?

Garage Door Opener Installed in Spokane, WA

Side Mount (Jackshaft) Garage Door Opener

What Is A Jackshaft opener?
Occasionally, I have customers who do not think they can install an automatic garage door opener in their garage due to space issues. Fortunately, LiftMaster makes a scaled-down version of their heavy duty commercial garage door openers for lighter, residential use. Jackshaft openers typically are the solution when you need to save space, have clearance issues, have an oversized/heavy door, cathedral ceilings, or other miscellaneous obstructions.

How does it work?
It mounts on the wall just to the side of the garage door opening and attaches to the shaft of the torsion system spring line. Some customers prefer the Jackshaft opener due to how quiet and aesthetically pleasing they are in contrast to traditional rail-style automatic openers. I prefer to install Jackshaft openers on heavier doors (for which they were originally designed) and for high-ceilinged garages.

Some possible issues…
If you have a light door, Jackshafts are a little more prone to throwing cables off of the drums. Installing a Jackshafts can be more difficult than a traditional rail opener, you also need a power outlet in a place that there generally are none available (a quick fix for an electrician).

If you are going to attempt to install a Jackshaft opener on your own be very careful when you are programming the travel limits because you can easily throw the cables off of the drums causing a lot of damage. So please take your time when doing this and follow the instructions carefully. I know how hard it is to be patient when programming the limits because you feel that you are on the homestretch and just want a little instant gratification in seeing the opener in action but please be careful so you don’t cause damage to your door or yourself!

Before installing a new garage door opener, PLEASE VIEW THIS HOW-TO VIDEO on how to properly check the balance on your garage door. This simple, easy to perform maintenance procedure will allow you to determine if your torsion springs are still functioning properly. Nothing will ruin a garage door faster than when the springs are no longer counter-balancing the weight of the door. As the torsion springs fatigue the garage door will get heavier and heavier.. until the springs break or the opener quits working properly (or forever).

In fact, if you own a garage door period… you should find out how to perform this simple procedure.

Garage Door Repair: Do I Need to Clear My Garage Before a Repair Technician Arrives?

Clean, Organized Garage Space

As a garage door repair technician in Spokane- WA,

I have seen the entire spectrum of garage cleanliness and order! In some garages, you could eat off the floor and everything is in its place- In others, you cannot even walk through to the garage door! For those of you with VERY neat garage space, I applaud you! Keep up the good work…

For the rest of us (myself included), we may have a few things that need to be moved in order for a garage door repair technician to safely perform his duties. Sometimes, it is as easy as moving the cars. However, if your garage door has broken springs or it is unsafe to move it manually- it may not be possible to move out the vehicles. Just wait until the garage repair technician comes out and helps you safely raise the door. But if you can, it is always nice to move the cars out of the garage- and save a space for the technician in the driveway if possible! Our equipment can be heavy!

If you use the garage space for storage, it is important to clear certain areas for the technician to move safely- in order to perform necessary inspections and repairs. These areas include:

– A pathway from the interior door (and wall button for garage door) to the garage door itself.
– A 5’ clear space along the length of the inside of the garage door, so the technician can move back and forth.
– Another clear space along the length of the garage door opener, from motor to the garage door itself. (including an area around the motor)

By clearing these areas, the garage door repair technician can easily move a ladder and tools around as the inspection/repair process takes place.

Speaking personally, whenever a homeowner takes the time to clear a space for me to work safely, I am very appreciative! There is no need to move EVERYTHING out of your garage, but you can SHIFT it around a little and make a big difference!

Thanks in advance,

A Garage Door Repair Technician in Spokane, WA

Garage Door Maintenance: The 2 Things You Must Do Once a Year

There are 2 very important maintenance items to be performed on your garage door once a year to ensure that it is running smoothly and in proper balance. It is vital for the garage door to be properly maintained because it directly affects the performance and life-span of the garage door opener! These convenient devices have caused the front door to become a second mode of entrance to most homes. I have had customers that do not even carry house keys anymore, because they always use the garage door! However, most garage door openers are made of plastic- and only designed to “guide” the door up and down. So here are a few tips to help you make sure your garage door is in good shape…

1. The most obvious thing you can do is lubricate the hinges. I recommend using a heavy-duty silicone spray (DO NOT USE WD-40). Note: if you have small, black, plastic hinges- no lubrication is necessary and skip this.

garage door maintenance: lubricate hinges

Spray lubricant into area where metal meets metal

Most hinges are metal and the two halves of the hinge rub together. With the garage door all the way closed, spray each of the hinges on the outside of the hinge- where the metal meets metal. Another good thing to do at this point is to visually inspect the other hardware components for damage or wear, including: rollers, cables, drums, and other brackets to make sure all of the bolts/screws are tight.

2. The most important thing you can check is the balance of your garage door. This refers to the ability of the springs to counter-balance the weight of the garage door. When the springs start to fatigue, they will no longer be able to completely balance the garage door. This will cause the door to become heavy, which will slowly destroy your garage door opener.

To check the balance: Disengage the garage door from the opener by pulling the red-handled emergency release cord. This will allow you to move the garage door independently from the opener (manually). Then, move it up and down by hand a few times to see if there are any obvious sources of friction. If the door feels heavy, call a trained garage door repair technician. To test the balance raise the door until the 2nd roller from the top is in the radius of the tracks (the bottom of the door will be about knee-high above the floor). In this position, most of the door will be in the vertical position- therefore, most of the weight will want to come down with gravity. The springs should stop this from happening! So if the door slides down, or slams down, this indicates that the springs are fatigued- and you should plan to have a trained technician come to inspect it!

You can see a how-to video on our website: Spokane Garage Door Repair
Do not put grease in the tracks! This will only make the system function worse over time. Simply lubricate the hinges, visually inspect the other hardware, and check the balance on your garage door!

It also can’t hurt to have a garage door professional perform a safety inspection every 5-10 years to ensure that you do not have any issues that could prove to be dangerous! Remember, the garage door is basically a large, heavy, moving wall that we use more often than our tooth brush!!

Why should I Replace Both of My Torsion Springs, Instead of Just the Broken One?

Broken torsion spring on a garage door in Spokane, WA

Broket Torsion Spring

So you have a broken torsion spring… If your garage door big enough, or heavy enough, to require two torsion springs- you definitely want to replace both of them at the same time to save a lot of repair dollars in the near future!

As the torsion springs wear out, or fatigue, they will no longer be able to properly counter-balance the weight of the garage door. This means the door will be getting heavier and heavier as the springs fatigue. Unfortunately, if you have a broken torsion spring already- this has been happening for the last few weeks or months!

Why is this a problem? Well, most garage door openers manufactured in the last 15-20 years have become more and more dependent on plastic or nylon parts. They are designed to simply “guide” the door up and down- not push or pull it. The manufactures know that if your garage door is running perfectly- smooth that the opener will function for years. But if there is an issue like the door is heavy or the rollers are plastic- and have no bearings- the opener will slowly be destroyed and the homeowner will have to replace it…maybe with one of theirs!

So if you have a broken spring, here are some reasons why you would want to replace both of the springs at the same time, rather than just the one that is broken.

1. If you have one broken torsion spring, the other one is definitely fatigued! To the point where if you only replace the broken spring and reset the torsion system- the garage door will not be properly balanced! The garage door is still going to be heavy because the other spring is fatigued and not doing its job. Therefore, the opener will be working overtime, or not at all, to open and close the garage door.
2. Most likely, you will be calling out the service company again in the very near future to replace the OTHER spring when it breaks! This means twice the amount of service calls, time to meet technician, etc.
3. Most times it will be cheaper to replace two springs at once, rather than one spring on two separate occasions!

If you don’t have a broken spring yet, that is great! Check the balance of your garage door periodically, to ensure that you can tell when the spring is becoming fatigued. You can view a video on how to do this here.

If you have any questions, feel free to post a question!

Glass Garage Doors? Awesome!

This post on Hub Pages was pretty awesome!

It shows a whole bunch of garage doors with glass panels in all sorts of interesting applications! Check it out here

Or if the link doesn’t work for you, here is the URL: http://hubpages.com/hub/Home-Improvement-Glass-Garage-Doors

glass garage door in bedroom

Glass Garage Door System in Unique Setting

Win a $10,000 Garage Door Package!

Would you like to win $10,000 of new garage doors? Enter the Clopay Sweepstakes for a chance to win! If the clickable link doesn’t work, here is the url: http://www.clopaydoor.com/blog/post/2011/04/28/Clopay-Sweepstakes.aspx

Clopay garage doors is giving away a garage door makeover to one lucky homeowner during the $10,000 Garage Door Makeover Sweepstakes…

Clopay garage door giveaway forwarded by Complete Garage Door Service in Couer d'Alene Idaho

Girly Garages- Transform Your Cluttered Garage Into A Usable Space

Here are a few ideas presented by Clopay Door to make your garage space more inviting to use on a regular basis.

Organizing your garage can provide you with a useable space

You can check out the post and pictures here

Also, if you are in need of garage door assistance, please remember to make enough room for the technician to safely operate. It is suggested to clear 10′ of space from the garage door, for the technician to safely work on your door. If you are replacing your garage door, more space may be needed- but if you are having maintenance or repair work done…. 4-5′ of clear work-space around the garage door should be sufficient! Rule of thumb: “could YOU safely work on the door?” if not, move some more stuff!

Sincerely,

A garage door repair technician 😉

Secret Garage Door- Check Out this Sweet Garage Door!

This Secret Garage Door in San Francisco is pretty amazing! Probably cost a pretty penny though!

The architect is Beausoleil Architects and they explain the project on their blog..

Happy Easter!

A Decent Garage Door Video


I found this video on YouTube and thought I would pass it along. It goes over some good reasons to perform regular maintenance on your garage door! One big thing to notice are the two different types of counter-balancing springs.

The two types of springs are extension and torsion.

Torsion Springs are the most common on newer garage doors. The work by twisting up and twisting down. They are wound up with the door in the closed position and then locked onto the torsion bar. As the door goes up, the springs unwind- providing a counter-balance to the wieght of the garage door.

Extension springs are more common on smaller, older garage doors. Note: It is very important if you have this type of springs to make sure there are safety cables present. If not, there is nothing to stop them from flying around the garage WHEN they break. Safety cables are an additional set of cables that attach at the back of the tracks (back-hang, from celing to tracks) and passing through the length of the spring to attach on the front of the tracks or wall. This prevents the extension spring from launching around the garage when it breaks! Extension springs work by stretching out as the door closes, allowing the garage door to be light enough on the way back up.

To learn how to Check the Balance of Your Garage Door, or general garage door maintenance, just post a question!