Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in accessories, maintenance, repair

Curiouser & Curiouser!

Your garage door has curious bits and pieces that might leave you wondering and asking yourself, “What the heck is that for, anyway?” After twenty-five years in the garage door industry, customers still surprise me by pointing out these puzzling singularities-often seemingly useless “thingys”. And I keep relearning that what’s obvious to me, might be something of a mystery to the average homeowner.

In my own mental-file-cabinet, I collectively and colloquially file these curiosities under “Jots & Tittles”. Some two-thousand years ago Jesus famously spoke of ‘jots and tittles’ within the old Jewish Law. A ‘jot’ is simply the least part of something, like a single ink stroke when forming a letter of the alphabet. And a ‘tittle’ is smaller still-such as the point at the end of a pen stroke.

Garage door definitions of different parts and hardware

Here are a few garage door ‘jots & tittles’ for your amusement and enlightenment:

The Tiny Wire:

Look up at the motor-head mounted on the ceiling. You’ll see a diminutive wire dangling down-about 6-8 inches long. Don’t snip it off with scissors! That little wire is quite important. It’s actually the antenna for the radio receiver. When you click the handheld remote in your car (or the built-in visor button) that little wire picks up the radio signal, activating the motor to open and close the garage door.

The Buttons:

Speaking of that handheld remote… why are there 2 or 3 separate buttons? What are all the buttons for? The answer might not be obvious because most folks only have one single garage door. Game show hosts like Bob Barker might have several garage doors, but most of us have only one. The extra buttons are to reveal what’s behind garage #2, or what’s behind garage door #3!

The Track ‘Thingy’

Very often you’ll find a metal ‘clip’ mounted on the outer side of the vertical track, about two or three feet off the floor. That clip is a grab hook for the mechanical lock. And if you open your garage door with an electric opener (like most folks) it’s quite useless. The clip was installed with the original garage door. And the clip should be disabled or simply removed whenever an electric garage door opener is installed. (Much like the human appendix—you’ll only notice it when it causes big problems!)

The Pull Cord / Emergency Release

This is perhaps the most misunderstood garage door “appendage” of all. The pull cord is typically a thin nylon rope, often red in colour, and 1-2 feet long, dangling down from the “arm” at the top of the door. The sole purpose of the pull cord is to unlatch and disconnect the garage door from the electric opener. Nothing more.

So, when might you use the pull cord?

When a person or pet or object becomes trapped beneath the garage door. Or whenever there is a power failure—no electricity.

The pull cord is a mechanical release, allowing you to pull the garage door up by hand—but only if your springs are working. If you have a broken spring you’ll need to heave and pull like Hercules to lift up the garage door!

Undiscovered Thingys

If you discover any other new and wonderful “thingy” on your own garage door, any competent garage door technician can explain the function and nature of the oddity. But when you’re not certain it’s best not to touch—and by all means seek out a professional and informed opinion. Have your garage door serviced annually. And have all those nagging little mysteries-the jots and tittles-fully revealed and explained!

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