Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Basic Overview of Garage Door Openers

The opener is a crucial component to your garage door installation that does all of the grunt work, so to speak: it's the single part that provides the power to actually lift and close your door. Depending on the age of your home and the budget involved when the garage door was installed, your opener may be something old and worn or something completely new and cutting edge. Today we'll be going over some of the basic garage door opener types, along with the various benefits and drawbacks of each.

Chain-Driven Openers

This is one of the most common garage door opener types, though it tends to be spotted mostly in older homes. With this opener, a chain pulls a trolley with an arm that lifts and lowers the garage door. Chain openers are one of the cheaper options due to the cost of parts and common usage. However, due to the nature of the design, chain openers have a few problems that can prove to be dealbreakers for some homeowners. Since the moving parts are all metal grinding on each other, chain openers are the noisiest of them all, and can cause rattling, screeching and vibrating whenever the door is opened. Also, in some parts of the country which are more humid, the metal chain may be subject to rusting if it's not made out of specific materials. On the upside, newer models are substantially quieter, but these are definitely things to keep in mind.

Belt-Driven Openers

Belt openers operate on the same principle as chain models, where a chain is pulling a trolley that lifts the door. The key difference here is that instead of a metal chain, belt openers use a belt made out of various non-metallic material, such as fiberglass, polyurethane, or reinforced rubber. The biggest upside to this is all but eliminating the noise generated by chain units, since the softer texture of the belt doesn't cause vibrating and rattling like metal-on-metal would. However, as a result of this belt-driven openers are a good deal more expensive than chain-driven ones.

Screw-Driven Openers

These openers use a threaded rod that carries the trolley, and a motor rotates the rod to move it back and forth on a track. Due to the least amount of moving parts, this design is one of the quietest; however, its design can leave the rod bent or broken quicker than a chain or belt would wear out. In parts of the country with extreme weather conditions, the rod will expand and contract with the heat and cold, shifting its performance seasonally. Screw-driven openers are still used in some parts of the country but are generally not as common as the first two types.

If your garage door opener is running into problems, the first thing to consider is whether it's appropriate for your household needs. A detached garage would be fine with a chain opener, while a belt opener may be more appropriate for an attached garage close to a bedroom or home office. If you suspect your opener may be losing steam due to years of usage, be sure to call your local technician to have it checked out before it's too late.

Afficient Garage Door is a Murrieta garage door company servicing the entire North San Diego County. Family-owned and operated, Afficient handles all facets of the industry from basic maintenance and parts replacement to reinstallations and emergency service calls. Contact Afficient at 951-541-0460 for a free consultation anytime.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is Your Garage Door Balanced?

Here's a quick maintenance tip for today on checking your garage door's balance. This is important because an improperly balanced garage door will cause your opener to work harder than it should, potentially leading to premature failure and necessitating a costly replacement along with any other emergency measures you would need to take. If this sounds complicated, don't worry! A balance test is one of the quickest, easiest and safest ways to perform self-maintenance and decide if any further action is needed.

To start, locate the spot on the track where your opener is clamped to the door, and make sure the door is closed, then detach the opener from the door. Lift the door carefully up from the middle so as to not cause wobbling, until it's about halfway up. Once lifted, make sure you have someone standing next to the door in case anything happens, and release the door to see what happens.

If the door is properly balanced, there should be very little if any movement. Anything else indicates that the door is in need of either some maintenance or even spring replacement, depending on how severe the symptoms are. A door sliding downwards means that the springs are too loose and are no longer exerting sufficient pressure, and if the door slides upwards, there's too much pressure from the springs. Both can cause the opener to work harder pulling or pushing, which can lead to it breaking down faster.

In the event that your door climbs up on the track, you may be able to add a bit of weight to counteract this. Most hardware stores sell a garage door brace, which is not only used to strengthen the integrity of the door, but also serve as a grip as well as adding a small bit of weight to it. This extra weight may be enough to bring the door into balance if the springs are only slightly miscalibrated. Anything more severe than this would most likely require professional attention, as garage door springs are extremely dangerous to work with unless you know exactly what you're doing.

For more information on garage door maintenance in Temecula, call Afficient Garage Doors at 951-541-0460. We are a professionally licensed, bonded and insured company with over 10 years of experience ready to serve you!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Torsion Vs Extension Springs on Garage Doors

Garage doors all require springs to operate, as they provide the tension and pulling power that lifts the door up on its tracks. Overall, there are two types of springs used for this: torsion springs and extension springs. Each one operates in a different manner to pull the door up, and requires different kind of installation and maintenance to keep them in working order. Today we are going to go over the basic differences between the two types, and the various benefits and drawbacks of both.

To start off, torsion springs are the most common type of garage door spring in usage nowadays. For most modern homes, torsion springs are the most efficient way to open your door, as it takes the least amount of room, operates quietly and is suitable for the garage size of most suburban homes. Torsion springs are also safer to use on double wide doors as they lift from the center, preventing any potential wobbling in the door as it gets lifted. Most homes are installed with only one spring for cost reasons, but two can be used if needed or desired.

However, all of the benefits of torsion springs come at a price - literally. Torsion springs are typically more expensive than their extension spring counterparts, both in terms of parts and installation, which can be a deterring factor when getting a brand new install or replacing an older one. A broken torsion spring is also nearly impossible to self-service, as they require special training to work with. This means that if anything does happen to go wrong, you'll be out of luck until you call a professional technician.

Extension springs are the other type of springs used on garage doors. Extension springs are installed on both tracks and pull the door up by its sides. They are not used as commonly nowadays, particularly on wider doors as the weight and balance on those can cause problems.  They are usually cheaper and easier to install, making do-it-yourself solutions a possibility for homeowners interested in saving some money, and in certain situations where there is not a lot of overhead room, they are sometimes the only solution available over a torsion spring.

But extension springs have a number of drawbacks in comparison to torsion springs. While it's possible to operate a garage door with only one torsion spring, an extension spring setup always requires two, one for each side of the door. As previously mentioned, extension springs can't be used on wider doors, and by design they take up more room than torsion springs in addition to being less aesthetically pleasing.

What type of spring is appropriate for your home, then? This depends a lot on your specific household and budget needs. In some cases, you may not even have to make a decision. If you're planning to stay only a few years in your current residence and the springs are still relatively new, it's best to just leave them as-is. Depending on your rate of usage, the average set of door springs last anywhere from 5 to 12 years, which is plenty of time if you're living in a place on a short-term basis.

On the other hand, if you're moving into an older residence or planning to stay on a long-term basis, getting the springs inspected should be the first step to ensure that they're not on their last legs. If the springs have been around for a while, a preemptive replacement may be a good idea, and if you have the budget for it, you may even want to consider replacing the spring type with the other depending on what your specific needs were. The spring is one of the most crucial components to your installation, and can affect all the other parts as well such as the tracks, cables, and even the door itself. Without a properly-functioning spring, you run the risk of having other parts failing due to unnecessary wear and tear, which ultimately costs more in the long run.

If you're not sure about your installation or whether the spring in your door is right for you, call your local garage door technician and have them come take a look. You may end up saving a lot of money by doing so!

Afficient Garage Door is a Temecula garage door company serving the entire North San Diego county. Family owned and operated, Afficient has been in the industry for over ten years with a strong track record of excellence and customer satisfaction.

Welcome to Afficient Garage Door's Blog!

Afficient Garage Doors is a Temecula garage door company that services the entire North San Diego County area. We have recently revamped our website and are in the process of many new exciting things in the months ahead. Our blog here will primarily focus on the garage door industry, and we plan to share some insights, tips, and easy-to-do maintenance advice for homeowners so they can keep their doors in good shape. We're still in the middle of redesigning, so check back soon with us for the latest details!