5 Ways to Get Your Garage Door Ready for Winter
As we write this post, new record high temperatures are being set for Whitby and the GTA in early September. The long range forecast doesn’t show any daytime temperatures below 20 degrees. It feels more like June than September.
But September it undeniably is. The beginning of autumn and cooler temperatures. The precursor to winter.
It may not seem like a time to prepare anything for the onslaught of ice and snow, but it’s better to prepare your garage door for winter now than when the ice and snow actually arrive.
5 Steps to Prepare Your Garage Door for Winter
The last thing you need is for your garage door to stop working at the height of a blizzard. The following steps will help keep it in peak working condition throughout the winter.
1. Check the Operation of the Door
This one’s easy, unless there’s a problem. Whether it’s manual or you have a garage door opener, open and close the door. As you do check to make sure it moves up and down evenly, with it’s bottom edge remaining parallel to the garage floor. Also listen for unusual squeaks and sounds, particularly grinding noises from your garage door opener.
2. Tighten Connections
The panels of your garage door are connected to each other by bolted hinges. And the door is connected to it’s tracks through the rollers on each side. Check and tighten all bolts in these connections.
3. Lubricate the Weather Seals
The rubber seals between each panel, along the bottom of the door and around the door frame should be lubricated to keep them from sticking, freezing together and cracking.
4. Lubricate Moving Metal Parts
5. Test the Safety Systems
You should do this at least twice a year and the autumn is as good a time as any. If you have a garage door opener, it has two safety systems. One will reverse the door if the door strikes anything as it closes. The other will reverse the door if anything crosses its path while it is closing.
To test the first safety system, place a 2X4 on the garage floor where the door meets the floor. Close the door. It should stop and reverse when it hits the 2X4. To test the second system, use a stick to push an empty cardboard box into the path of the door as it closes, while you remain well away from the door’s path. The door should stop and reverse as the cardboard box moves between the two photo eyes on either side of the door opening.
To learn more about keeping your garage door and opener it tip-top working condition, call Whitby Garage Doors at 905-665-8668.
4 Tips to Tuneup Your Garage Door this Spring – Part 2
In Part 1 of 4 Tips to Tuneup Your Garage Door this Spring, we talked about the importance of keeping your garage door and door opener operating smoothly and safely, and we looked how to inspect both for problems.
Here are three more tips to keep your garage door operating at peak efficiency this summer.
1. Check that The Door’s Safety Systems are Working
Your garage door is probably equipped with two safety systems. One stops the door and reverses it if the door strikes anything while it is closing. The other, the safety sensors, stops and reverses the door if anything interrupts the signal between the photo eyes located on either side of the door frame.
To check the garage door’s safety sensors, get an empty cardboard box that you do not need. Put the box on the driveway just outside the open garage door. Stand on the side of the box away from the door with a stick or something to push the box. Start the door closing and push the box between the photo eyes. When you do, the door should stop in its path and reverse.
To check the system that reverses if the door strikes anything while closing, with the door open, place a short 2 x 4 piece of wood on the garage floor where the door touches the floor when it’s closed. Stand away from the path of the door. Use the remote control for the garage door opener to close the door. The door should stop and reverse when it hits the 2 x 4.
2. Inspect the Door’s Seals
Your garage door has weather seals between each panel, along the bottom of the door and around the outside frame of the door. They should all be in place and undamaged to keep your garage well-insulated.
3. Lubricate the Door
Like an oil and lube for your car, this will keep your door running like a well-oiled (lubricated!) machine.
For metal on metal moving parts, like the hinges (never the surface of the rollers in the roller tracks) use a petroleum-based lubricant.
For weather seals and stripping between the door panels and all around the door, use a silicone-based lubricant.
4 Tips to Tuneup Your Garage Door this Spring – Part 1
You do it for your car, so why not for your garage door and garage door opener? Every spring, you start thinking about taking the car in for a tuneup, rotate the tires, oil and lube, check the brakes, and anything else needed to keep it running safely and smoothly.
What most people don’t realize is that their garage door can benefit from some of the same TLC. And you don’t even have to drive it to your mechanic’s shop. A spring tuneup for your garage door and opener helps to keep it running smoothly for longer, helps you avoid costly repairs, and most importantly, helps keep the largest and heaviest moving object in your home working safely.
How to Do a Garage Door & Door Opener Tuneup
Here are a few of the things you can do to make sure your garage door and door opener are all working well for the summer.
1.Inspect the Door and Opener
Check that all the moving parts of your door and opener work properly.
After disconnecting the door from the opener, opening and closing it by hand should be a relatively easy, smooth operation.
Inspect the hinges between the door panels for signs of corrosion and/or damage.
The rollers on the side of the door should run smoothly and evenly along the entire roller track.
5.Springs & Cables
Check the cables and springs that help balance your door for signs of rust, fraying and over-extension.
6.Inspect the Gear on the Garage Door Opener
If you see signs that the gear is slowly being stripped of its teeth, it might be worth having it replaced before you are caught at the worst time with a garage door that can’t open or close.
In Part 2 of 4 Tips to Tuneup Your Garage Door this Spring, we’ll talk about how to make sure the door’s safety systems and seals are in good shape and also how to lubricate the garage door.
Until then, if you spot anything that doesn’t seem right, or you need any other help or garage door services, call us at 905-665-8668.
3 Ways to Avoid Garage Door Problems this Winter
Is it just us, or does everything seem to work fine until it’s the worst possible time for it to break? For garage door problems, the worst possible time will be when you arrive home during a crazy ice storm on a freezing winter’s night.
Even if you’re one of those people who loves winter, it’s definitely not the time of year when you want to get out of your car and wrestle with the garage door to get it open.
Here are a few things you can do right now to help you avoid those chilling garage door problems:
1. Lubricate the Door
Yes, your garage door would benefit from an annual lubrication and now’s the best time to do it. In addition to helping the moving parts of your door operate smoothly, the lubricant gives them some protection from winter’s harsh conditions.
You’ll need a petroleum-based lubricant for metal moving parts and a silicone-based lubricant for weather-stripping and seals.
2. Check the Roller Tracks
If the roller tracks that support either side of the door aren’t parallel to each other, it could jam the door open or closed. Disconnect your garage door opener and check that the door works easily and smoothly by opening and closing it manually.
3. Always Check the Base of the Door
You can do this now and throughout the winter. During the fall and winter, the chances are higher that some debris, ice or snow can affect your door’s safety systems. If ice and/or snow build up at the base of your door, or leaves block the door’s safety eyes, it might not close properly.
Winter’s on its way. But by doing some maintenance on your door right now, you won’t have to worry so much about its arrival.
Turning Your Garage into Your Winter Storage Unit
We can’t remember a quicker switch from record-high summer-like temperatures, to single-digit chill factors than what we just went though in Whitby. One weekend it was lazing by the pool and the next weekend, well, you needed a warm jacket to do any outdoor lazing.
For homeowners the quick switch from summer to winter brings on the sudden realization that you’ll soon need to put away all your summer furniture and equipment. And your garage is the likely storage spot.
The only problem is that, every fall, there seems to be less space in the garage than when you took the stuff out in the spring.
But by putting an action plan into place (don’t you love action plans!), not only will you have lots of place to store your summer stuff for the winter, but you just might end up with a cleaner, more organized garage.
1. Determine What You Need to Store
One of the problems with getting everything into the garage is not knowing how much you need to store before you start. Every time you think you’re done, there’s another umbrella to find a spot for. Take a look at and count all your garden furniture, accessories and toys, etc., so you know how much you need.
Now is also a good time to clean your furniture, tools and equipment and prepare your gas-powered equipment for winter storage.
2. Prepare the Garage
The first step is to recycle anything you can to free-up as much space as possible. Then clean, organize and plan the space for all the things you know you’ll need to store.
3. Check Your Garage Door
With so many things now, or soon to be, in your garage, keeping it secure is more important. In addition to checking your garage door opener and security systems, fall is also a great time to practice some preventative maintenance on your garage door.
Remember this when you’re loading everything into your garage. You’ll be taking it all out again in only four or five short months!
Make Springtime Garage Door Safety Time
No doubt your springtime ‘to do’ list is overflowing. And, even if it wasn’t, your spring cleaning tasks are usually abandoned before they are completed.
But if there’s one that, if you don’t do it already, you should add to the list: a quick ‘safety inspection’ on your garage door.
If your door seems to work well enough, you might wonder why you need to invest in it. Your garage door is the largest single moving object in your home. It also is used at least a couple times a day. An object that is large enough to cause serious personal harm, or damage to your belongings, that’s used so frequently, should be regularly inspected before something serious happens.
Here’s a quick checklist of things you should inspect on your garage door at least twice a year.
1. Look & Listen
Do a visual inspection of the door, focusing on the parts that manage its operation, like the spring(s), cables, rollers and pulleys. Look for signs of wear or uneven operation that could be early signs of a bigger problem. While you put the door through its motions, listen for anything that doesn’t sound right, like grinding or squeaking, and find the source.
2. Make Sure the Door Reverses if Blocked
Your door opener is designed to automatically reverse a closing door if the door hits anything solid. To test that the system is working properly, place a piece of wood on the garage floor where the door comes down. Close the door and, if it doesn’t automatically back up when it hits the piece of wood, get your door opener inspected.
3. Make Sure the ‘Eyes’ can See Each Other
The electric eyes that are located near the floor on either side of the garage door opening are designed to stop the door if anything blocks the signal that passes between the eyes.
Check to make sure the eyes are working by placing a cardboard box between them and start to close the door. It should stop immediately or soon after it begins to close. If not, check the alignment of the eyes.
In the end, doing a garage door safety inspection should take only a few minutes. It’s well worth the effort to help make sure that you don’t have an unfortunate accident due to a malfunction.
Don’t Forget the Garage in Your Spring Cleaning
In fact, it might be an idea to make the garage a priority for the overall cleaning of your home. If you want to start by cleaning the garage, you’re bound to find some storage space, which you can use for some of the things you want to get out of the house.
Or you can finish with the garage. That will give you a place to quickly throw all trash when you’re cleaning inside your home. Then, after you clean out the garage, you’ll know that every square inch of your home has been ‘spring cleaned’.
No matter what route you take to tidy home this year, here are a few tips to help you get your garage cleaner than usual:
1. Take No Prisoners
If decades of installing garage doors have shown us anything, it is that people keep a lot of stuff that can be thrown out, and they keep it in their garage. Whether it’s a sentimental attachment or the old ‘I might need that piece of drywall one day’ mentality, it’s clogging up your garage.
Here’s a simple rule to use when cleaning your garage. If you’re not sure whether to throw something out, throw it out. But, be careful about not do put hazardous waste, like paints and motor oils, in the regular garbage pickup. To learn more about how to handle hazardous waste, here’s a link to Whitby’s Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste web page.
2. Gather Your Weapons
Cleaning supplies, boxes and containers – anything that will help you organize and clean the space in your garage because they often tend to attract items that fit into certain categories, including ‘sports equipment’, ‘garden tools’ and ‘automotive’. Use the boxes and containers to keep similar items. And clearly label each box.
3. Look for Potential Storage Space First
Practice your unforgiving attitude to throwing things out in those areas that will quickly give you some space to manoeuvre. As you continue to clean the garage, you’ll need places to put things for ‘just a second’.
The best part of cleaning the garage, aside from finding a spot for all that stuff that was lying on the floor, is the simple amazement of making a place that was so cluttered, so very organized again.
The Pros and Cons of Parking in Your Garage Over the Winter
One of the greatest perks of owning a garage is the ability to park your car overnight during the winter. No matter what the weather, you know that when you wake up in the morning and head out, you won’t need to chisel the ice off or brush a foot of snow off the roof of your car. Furthermore, parking inside the garage keeps the car’s fluids warm, which makes it easier to start.
Your garage offers your car year-round protection. In summer, it shelters your car’s paint and finish from the sun’s damaging rays. In winter, snow, slush, and ice all melt away after you park in the garage (even if your garage isn’t insulated).
But the idea that it’s best to keep your car in the garage in winter has been challenged by those who say it could actually damage the car’s body panels, seals, and undercarriage. In an article in the Globe & Mail, two Canadian college professors outline the reasons why:
- Moving your car in and out of the garage causes snow and ice to melt and refreeze, which can reduce the life of the seals on your car
- In the dampness of the garage, the car can more often be wet than dry and combined with the presence of salt, those conditions can promote premature rusting
Come home from work or the grocery store, and your car is soiled with grey snow and de-icing salts? If you leave your car in the garage, something undesirable might happen. The snow will gradually melt, creating condensation. The warm temperature combined with the humidity and corrosive substances spread on the roads will create a favourable environment for rust formation!
This can lead to oxidation of the body, exhaust system, radiator, etc., if you keep your vehicle in your garage. In addition, be aware that with repeated temperature changes, the rubber seals of your car could deteriorate.
While the jury’s still out on whether it’s good or bad to park in the garage in winter, the choice is yours. If you don’t notice any premature corrosion, and you absolutely love walking out to a clean car in the mornings (and who doesn’t?), then the garage is the place for you.
It’s Cold Outside – Good Time to Lubricate Your Garage Door
Ay, yes, lubricating the garage door. Not exactly at the top of your ‘to-do’ list every weekend is it? In fact, you’ve probably never done it or, at best, once or twice in the prideful enthusiasm of having just installed a new garage door.
And that’s not to mention the fact that, even if you were to world’s greatest maintainer of everything in your home, garage door and all, you wouldn’t choose to lubricate the door in the middle of winter.
But colder winter temperatures are dry, and when temperatures warm up even slightly, damp conditions can prevail. The flip-flop between dry and wet conditions can make garage doors squeal or even stick during operation.
Even if your door is just two years old, it’s time to lubricate it. And to maximize its working life, you should continue to do so twice a year from now on. Moving forward, perhaps you can set up a schedule of fall and spring lubrication times to avoid the really cold weather.
In any case, it’s not a long process, so you won’t get too chilly.
How to Lubricate Your Garage Door
You’ll need to know two things before you begin: what parts of the door you need to lubricate and what type of lubricant to use on each part.
Moving Metal Parts
Including the hinges that connect the door panels, the springs and roller bearings, the moving metal parts of the door should be lubricated with a petroleum-based lubricant. Not only will it reduce the squealing and sticking, but the door’s operation will be much smoother. The lubricant will also protect the parts against rust. It is important that you do not lubricate the surface of the rollers or the tracks they operate in, but clean them both thoroughly.
For PVC Seals
PVC seals are used between the door’s panels, along its base and around the frame of the door to help keep out noise and the elements. Use a silicone-based lubricant on all the seals. On the seals between the panels, the lubricant will help the door work smoothly and prevent premature wear. The lubricant will also stop UV rays from deteriorating the seals around the door’s frame. UV rays. And apply some lubricant to the bottom seal of the door to prevent it from sticking to the door jamb.
Just like that, you’re done. Now you can get back inside where it’s warm, comfortable in the knowledge that you garage door is well lubricated for at least the next six months.
Springtime Garage Cleaning and Garage Door Maintenance
Be Sure to Inspect the Garage Door When Cleaning Out the Garage this Spring
The return of spring warmth and sunshine are indeed welcome sights after another cold and seemingly endless winter. After several months of pseudo-hibernation, neighbours can once again be seen working about their properties, raking the lawn, removing patio furniture from the shed, and detailing the interiors of their vehicles.
Another ritual of spring for many homeowners is cleaning out their garage; it is amazing just how much dirt, dust, film, and grit can accumulate in a garage over the winter, even if that space is accessed much less frequently during those months than in the warmer seasons. And when all of the garage contents have been removed and spread over the driveway and lawn, there will often be a quick-witted passerby who stops and asks what time the garage sale will be starting.
Once everything (most everything) has in fact been taken out of garage, the cleaning process can actually be completed, and there is an odd sense of satisfaction in knowing that all of the possessions will be returned to a freshly-swept environment, even though they may all end up in the same spot from whence they came. Before this replacement ritual takes place however, it may benefit the homeowner to invest the time in a garage door inspection.
Winter can be particularly harsh on a garage door and its parts, regardless of the actual amount of snow and ice that fell/accumulated during that time of year; therefore, having the garage emptied out for cleaning purposes offers an excellent opportunity for a door inspection and, if necessary, any maintenance or repairs that may be needed to restore its optimal performance.
A thorough garage door inspection should take into consideration the overall state of the door itself, its general operation (smooth or bumpy? quiet or noisy?), and an assessment of the condition and/or performance of these components:
- Window Inserts
- Weather Stripping
- Garage Door Opener
Based on the findings of such a self-inspection, a homeowner might take one or more of these steps to better the operation/performance of their garage door and prolong its life:
- Tighten all hardware
- Wipe/lubricate all moving parts
- Replace tattered weather stripping
- Prepare/ready the door for re-finishing
- Test all garage door opener safety features
Conversely, for those homeowners in Durham Region who might be less confident and/or less inclined to perform their own garage door inspections and subsequent maintenance, they have the option of contracting the expertise of a reputable and reliable garage door service company such as Whitby Garage Doors.
Some Garage Door Maintenance Issues Will Need a Professional Repair Service
In some cases, garage door inspections and maintenance by a homeowner could uncover more severe or potentially dangerous damage that will likely require professional repair services. Some examples would consist of:
- Frayed cables
- Loose or bent springs
- Jammed or misaligned door
- Damaged, rotted, or rusted panels
- Peculiar sounds when door is in motion
- Peculiar sounds when door opener is in use
When such garage door repair work is needed, Whitby and area homeowners can rely on the award-winning services provided by the skilled technicians of Whitby Garage Doors. These services include but are not limited to addressing:
- Broken or bent springs
- Snapped or worn cables
- Twisted/bent tracking/rollers
- Damaged or broken door panels
- Malfunctioning garage door openers
- The root cause of any unusual sounds
For additional information on the garage door maintenance and repair services provided by the experts from Whitby Garage Doors, see our Services page.
For all your garage door inspection, repair, or maintenance needs, rely on the specialists from Whitby Garage Doors. Call Whitby Garage Doors today at (905) 441-1512 to arrange a service visit at your first convenience.