It may be easy to overlook, but it’s truly important to give some attention to your garage door opener if you want it to operate trouble-free for the years to come. You can avoid common problems with sensors, excessive noise, and even full-blown malfunction by performing a bit of preventative maintenance from time to time. Here are some things to look out for as you’re inspecting your garage door opener and the associated components.
Clean and Adjust the Sensor
Many of the most common problems that people encounter when it comes to garage door openers have to do with the sensors. Sensors were made mandatory as a safeguard against the garage doors automatically closing on people, pets, children, etc. These days its actually illegal to install garage doors without them, and for good reason. Without them garage doors could crush whatever was in their path.
However, the sensors do lead to issues with garage door functionality. Most commonly, keeping the garage doors closed. When you’re looking over your sensors, there are a couple of things to note. Make sure that the emitters and sensors are clean and clear. You can use a lint free cloth such as a lens cloth to clean them up. The second thing you want to pay attention to is the alignment – in other words you want to make sure the garage door sensors are properly communicating with each other. Each of the sensors will have a light that indicates that they see the other sensor. To test if you are looking at the right light, cover the sensor and see if the light goes out. Then you want to make sure that when the path between the sensors is free of obstruction that both of the sensor lights are completely illuminated. Make sense? Easy enough. Let’s move onto the next one.
Cleaning The Drive Components and Lubrication
What exactly is required here will vary a bit depending on the style of garage door opener you have. At any rate, the point of this inspection is to make sure that the opening mechanism is clean and clear of debris, and that the cleaning mechanism is properly lubricated, if required. A garage door opener that is lacking in lubrication can become loud and bothersome, and over time it can even lead to problems with the function. Many of the quietest models do not require lubrication at all, and you can read more about them if you are interested in finding one for your garage.
The first thing to do is to make sure that the opening mechanism has no debris. Usually it is not the case, but things like spider webs, leaves, and pine needles can sometimes make their way into the mechanism. Before doing any cleaning or lubrication on these moving parts it is essential that you disconnect the unit from any and all power. If you do not do this it can cause a potential safety hazard!
Once the drive mechanism is clear of debris, it’s time to lubricate if necessary. Refer to the owner’s manual for your unit to learn more about what type of lubrication is required, how to apply it, and how often to apply it.
Keep an Eye on the Battery Level
Last but not least is to keep an eye on the battery level, and to keep an extra on hand when it starts getting low. You may not even consider that a garage door opener needs a battery because they are plugged into the wall. Beware – in most cases they do! Once the battery fails the unit will stop functioning. Luckily they often come with alarms that will warn you when the battery life is getting low. If you are hearing them then don’t wait, it’s time to swap the battery out for a replacement!
These simple and effective preventative maintenance steps will help you stay on your path to a long living and highly functioning garage door opener for years to come.