I don’t know how long the garage door opener has been installed – it was there when I bought the house (and a major perk – I’d never had one before). It doesn’t look very old (shiny clean metal, nice sleek-looking contraption), but I encountered a problem not too long ago when the siding guys needed access to the electrical outlets (the most accessible of which were tucked inside the garage). We were finding that the door was getting stuck in a half-up position, about 2 feet from the ground. It would lower again all the way back to the ground, but I couldn’t manage to get the door open further (and I couldn’t push it upwards by hand either).
I can’t say I planned to ever learn exactly how door opener really works, but I decided to look into it. Here’s what I found (and definitely check out the photos below to help visualize what I’m writing about):
- There are two triggers that tell the door when to stop raising, and when to stop lowering (those are white on my product)
- There’s also a set of metal rails that the door goes up and down on as a track.
- And, then, there’s another metal beam that actually holds the mechanism attached to the motor that raises and lowers the door.
To investigate, Pete and I stood on the inside of the garage (on tall buckets) to see if we could tell what the door was getting caught on. We watched it open and close several times, noting where the wheels went, how the rails shook, and what the motor of the unit sounded like (was it sounding weakened?). What we observed, is that the top of the garage door was accidentally hitting the first trigger when it was on it’s way up (it should have been angled to bypass that first trigger, and continue straight towards the second trigger). Because the first trigger was being hit, the door thought it needed to stop right THERE.
So, how’d we fix this? First, we needed to figure out why, all of a sudden, the door was tapping the first trigger. Was the door on the track correctly? Was there something pushing or pulling the trigger down? Did something come undone?
After some experimenting, we decided that if we could force the middle bar upwards (the only diagnosis we observed was that the metal bar just begun to sag), the door would raise properly and avoid hitting the first trigger. The metal bar itself had some extra perforations, which we were able to screw into to secure (and reinforce) the bar to the joists that were already in the garage roof. It was such an easy fix, but it took a little bit of work to troubleshoot the best solution… I bet repairmen get called for it all the time.
(Sidenote: another other easy thing you can try before you call someone to repair the garage door opener is to flip the electrical breaker to the garage off and on. It’s worked a couple of times on mine in other instances. Seems to need a reboot every once in awhile.)