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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

November, 2006
Garage Doors & Electric Openers
Issue #55

This month I would like to briefly discuss garage vehicle doors and electric openers. I spend quite a bit of time inspecting these as they are the largest moving component in a home. I usually run across three types of garage vehicle doors; tilt-up, roll-up and sectional. Regardless of the type of door I leave it in whatever position it was in when I arrived, then first inspect the hardware. I have seen many doors that I do not operate due to the condition of the hardware. Often the rollers on sectional doors are worn out, creating a dangerous condition. Tilt-up doors I check closely as well. The door hinges are often worn and fasteners missing. I have seen the pivot point bolt hole elongated from use. Any of these conditions warrant inspection and repair by a qualified garage door technician.

Door springs are often damaged, missing or broken; needing replacement. I report on older springs that are not safety restrained as a hazard and recommend replacement. When they break (we know they will break) the pieces will fly everywhere.

Once I am satisfied with the condition of the door and hardware being in serviceable condition I make sure it is unlocked and operate the opener. I listen for any unusual noises and watch the opener performance. I realize there are many ways to check the tactile edge sensor (auto reverse) and my method is not the “UL approved” method. I close the door and use my hands to catch the door and test the reverse. If there seems to be too much pressure to reverse the door (or no reverse) I recommend contacting a garage door company for repair or replacement. I typically only test the light beam reverse on the light gauge aluminum doors due to the likelihood of damage. Many times I fine the light beam sensors improperly located and recommend correction. They should be located four to six inches from the floor at the door jambs.

Many inspectors check tilt-up doors for proper balance. This can be done by disengaging the electric opener and opening the door manually. It should open with reasonable effort and hang at the half open position without slamming back down.

Door openers manufactured prior to about 1975 may not have auto reverse. I always recommend replacement with a modern, safer machine. Any appliance 30 or more years old has fulfilled its expected service life.

We'll talk next month,

Mike Casey
Kaplan Professional Schools
Now You're Ready For Business!™



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