I like to surf the web to see what kinds of articles and video’s are out there about Garage Doors and Garage Door maintenance, repairs and adjustments. There are several videos about things homeowners can do to help keep their Doors running smooth.
On our service calls we try to tell our customers how to inspect, lube and tighten the hardware on their doors. Some of the instructional videos tell homeowners that Garage Door Companies are just trying to rip them off and that just about anything can be done your self.
I beg to differ.
After a nice thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house my brother-in-law mentioned that his garage door (that he installed himself) was a little out of balance and asked if I would adjust it for him. I didn’t have any tools with me so I asked him if he had any winding bars. He said he didn’t but had some big screwdrivers that he used when he installed the door.
I had to politely refuse to make the adjustment until I could come with the right tools. Without an exact understanding of what is going to happen next and the proper tools some procedures can be pretty dangerous. Ask any Garage Door repairman and he will love to tell you his own horror stories from his own experience.
Quite often on the phone we get questions like; “Is this something I can do myself?” That is a hard question to answer. When we are at a home and can see the kind of tools in someone’s garage and how much dirt there is under their fingernails we get a sense of someone’s mechanical aptitude, but on the phone…? My glib answer is “Oh, I’m sure you can handle it, but your neighbor is a mechanical idiot and will probably kill himself.”
Usually they get the idea.
I went out on a call to a retired NBA player. He had been working on his door and reasoned that the solution to his problem of one of the cables coming off the drum was to disconnect the bottom fixture of the cable that wasn’t off. It wasn’t a good idea.
When things go wrong sometimes they go wrong extremely fast. The little drops of blood across the garage floor into the house made me wonder if this was one of those times. I was right. When our power forward walked out into the garage with his hand bandaged he sheepishly told me of his mistake.
We made a deal; if he would quit trying to fix his Garage Door himself, I would not try to play above the rim. Fortunately he was not hurt badly, just his pride.
The story that really drives the point home for me is one from over twenty years ago. A landlord had me come out to put the tension back on his springs. We chatted while I wound the single spring.
When I was finished and while I was writing up the bill I noticed he had his arm in a sling and asked him what happened. He pointed to the spring. Trying to save a few dollars he decided to adjust his own spring with his own improvised tools.
Not realizing the potential energy stored in the spring he loosened the set screws that attached the active end of the spring to the shaft while he was holding onto the shaft with his left hand the spring unwound and the seven and one half turns came off in less than one second.
The set screws tore across his wrist and that was the reason for his arm being in a sling. He told me that it took nearly eighteen hours of micro surgery to reattach the nerves, tendons and veins and that his prognosis was with a couple of years of therapy he may get back 80% usage of his hand.
He told me it was a pretty expensive lesson to save a few #@@*# dollars. I learned a valuable lesson myself. When I have anything to do with spring adjustments I don’t chat while I am doing it. I need to focus on what is going on.
Fortunately most mistakes are not that costly. Sometimes it only cost an entire weekend and a case of beer to find out that installing a Garage Door Opener wasn’t as easy as it seemed. We’ve finished a few of those kinds of jobs and had to start from scratch to get it put in right.
I’m not quite as big a fan of DIY as I used to be. I’ve made plenty of mistakes that I will not confess here. I’m pretty proud of some of the things I have been able to do that turned out so well that, as my dad said, that it didn’t look like we did it ourselves. The lesson here is to understand your limitations and act accordingly.
If you don’t know what those limitations are, and you are married, a spouse may be able to point a few of them out for you.
For more information about Garage Door Repair or Maintenance, give us a call today at 1-800-478-8428 or Contact Us Here.