Ice Hockey & Your Garage Door
It happens every year in Canada—Old Man Winter arrives with little or no warning! Which is great if you can’t wait for outdoor skating rinks and the hockey season!
The good news is that even by late autumn, there’s still time to have your garage door serviced before ice storms coat your weather seals, or road salt corrodes your cables, or plunging temperatures snap your torsion springs! Don’t be caught by surprise, because this kind of maintenance invariably becomes more complicated and/or more expensive after the seasonal temperature drop!
The Great Game – Safety First
Just like sharpening your skates at the beginning of the season, savvy professional service techs recommend seasonal maintenance on any overhead door system. And the most important regular maintenance is the kind that nearly any homeowner can perform without any assistance from the pros. First on the list of regular maintenance is to ensure that the auto-reverse safety system works properly. We recommend that homeowners perform the auto-reverse test in three stages.
Lacing Your Skates, Elbowing, & Interference!
1 – Firstly, standing erect at the centre of the open garage door, test the safety reverse by simply breaking the photo-sensor light beam with your skate or boot as the door begins coming down. The garage door should immediately stop, and reverse travel back to the up position. And by the way, if your door does not have a photo sensor it should be retrofitted to include this important safety upgrade. Some homeowners will mount the photo-sensor in an out-of-the-way location like up in the rafters. This is a very bad idea! This defeats the purpose and is especially troublesome if children or pets use the garage door.
2 – Secondly, standing erect at the centre of the open garage door, test the safety reverse by placing your cocked arm under the garage door as it is coming down. The garage door should reverse with only the lightest of elbowing pressure, perhaps five pounds of pressure at most! If this simple test fails we recommend that you call a professional garage door service technician. Of course it is possible to adjust the auto-reverse pressure setting on the electric operator-but a stepladder and hand tools and some technical savvy will be required. Know your limit!
3 – Thirdly, test the safety reverse by placing a hockey stick (or a short length of 2⨉4) flat on the ground in the middle of the open garage door. Send the door down. The garage door should stop and reverse immediately after contacting the interference that you placed flat on the ground. If this simple test fails, we earnestly recommend that you call a professional garage door technician. The problem may relate to the torsion spring balance—and this is something that the average homeowner should never touch. Better safe than sorry!
We recommend testing the auto-reverse safety system at least monthly. And beyond that we recommend lubricating wheels and tracks and hinges several times per year. Replacing hinges and wheels and tracks requires a higher level of mechanical expertise. And again we have to caution that you honestly appraise your own skill set—not to mention the value of your own time spent searching out parts, and then elbow deep in tools and grease.
But most important is the caution that cables, springs, and bottom brackets are strictly off limits! These components are under very high tension—and can cause very serious injury. Servicing frayed cables, broken springs, or rusted bottom brackets is far beyond the ability of the average homeowner-call a professional garage door technician.
The Penalty Box
So don’t let Old Man Winter send you to the penalty box, trapped in your garage without warning. And don’t wait for a mid-winter early morning when your kids are racing to school and the breadwinner is rushing off to work—and the garage door won’t open. When the seasons change, preventative maintenance and service can prevent lost time and save you money. And a smooth running garage door will ensure that you’ll get to the rink on time!