The Six Secrets About Your Garage Doors
Everyone likes a good secret – people love knowing secrets, or keeping secrets. Knowing something that other people don’t can be powerful, and of course it can be rewarding. But did you know that even now, your garage door is keeping secrets from you? That’s right – sitting out there in your garage is the key to saving money, staying informed about your home, or adding another whole room onto your house! Today, we’re going to pull back the curtain and pass along six juicy secrets about your garage door that you might not have known.
1. Your garage door CAN still operate during power outages.
Yes, you heard (read?) that right, your garage door doesn’t have to be totally disabled just because the power cut out. Residential garage doors are locked in place when they’re lowered, to prevent potential burglars for simply lifting the door upwards to gain access into your home. From the inside, however, it is possible to disable this lock by pulling on the manual release cord – usually a red bit of string with a handle, hanging from your garage door opener’s track. That cord can be used to release the garage door from the chain or belt drive, allow it to be manually opened. Now, if your door is properly maintained and your springs are wound correctly, the door should be fairly easy to open and will stay at whatever height you leave it open – if this isn’t the case, then proceed with extreme caution and make sure that door doesn’t fall on anyone or anything. You can use clamps on the tracks on either side of the door to secure it from falling. Once the power comes back on, you can simply run the garage door opener as normal, and the track should catch back onto the door’s bracket, re-connecting your door to your opener.
If all of that sounds like too much work, don’t worry – you can very easily upgrade to a garage door opener with a built-in battery backup. A battery backup will let you pull your car out of (or in to) the garage and should last long enough for most power outages. If you live in an area prone to strong storms or winter weather, a battery backup might be a safer choice than relying upon manual operation.
After your door is disabled by a power outage, especially if you have to operate it manually several times, it is a good idea to contact a professional who can take a look at your system and make sure that everything is still in good working order.
2. Your garage door CAN help you sell your home.
Is your garage door eye-catching, or is it an eye-sore? All too often, the garage door is a neglected part of the home, and as long as it keeps opening when it’s supposed to, homeowners never think about what it’s doing for the appearance or functionality of their home.
Well, we have seen A LOT of garage doors, and believe us, they are not all pretty. Sometimes, a door is cracked and listing. Sometimes, the paint is chipping away and the door squeals loudly every time that it’s opened. Sometimes, a door is just plain or old, and the design has gone out of style. All of these can be a mark against your home’s resell value, even if you don’t know it – the potential buyer might not even recognize it! First impressions are everything when trying to sell your home, and if someone notices a ratty old garage door during their first visit, it can easily sour them towards the rest of your home.
Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be all bad. A garage door can actually be a boon to make it easier to sell your home! A newer door can be a selling point when your agent is giving people a tour of the home – it can be quieter, more energy-efficient, or just more modern. All easy upgrades that practically pay for themselves when you decide to sell.
3. Your garage door CAN save you money on your heating/cooling costs.
Most garages don’t have climate control, and many of them aren’t insulated at all. That means that the temperature inside the garage can vary wildly, from being saunas in the summer to iceboxes in the winter. Those temperatures, however, can be affecting how much you pay to heat or cool the rest of your house – and here’s how.
The exterior walls of your home are well-insulated – so that when it’s hot outside, it can stay cool inside, and vice versa of course. But your interior walls are not as well insulated. Unfortunately, the wall between your garage and the rest of your home is normally built as an interior wall, so it is less insulated than other walls which are exposed to the elements. Especially if your garage’s interior door opens into a living space or if there is a room above your garage, you will see a definite connection between the temperature of your garage and the temperature of these rooms, as the heat or coolness bleeds through the thinner interior walls and into your living space. That’s no good!
Fortunately, we have just the secret for you – did you know that garage doors can be insulated? Yes, it’s true! All garage doors have a rating called their “R-value” which determines their thermoconductivity – how well they conduct temperatures – and by choosing a door with a higher R-value, you can save on heating or cooling costs year round. Of course, many homeowners won’t want to upgrade their entire garage door just for this purpose, so you can also ask an expert to install panel insulation on your door, or if you want a more DIY-friendly approach, you can install weatherstripping around the edges of your garage door, to help better insulate your entire garage! These simple steps will pay for themselves over time, as maintaining a happy temperature near your garage costs you less.
4. Your garage door CAN tell you when it was left open.
You may be used to telling your garage door what to do, but did you know that your garage door can tell you things too? That’s right – with modern technology, it’s possible for you to get a text every time that your garage door is opened; for a more practical alternative, you can install an app that will let you monitor if your door is open or closed at any given moment, and even let you close it with the push of a button, no matter how far away you are!
This sort of smart-phone integration doesn’t actually happen within the garage door – it happens inside your garage door opener. The opener is an oft-neglected part of the door but it actually does all the heavy lifting, and having a modern opener provides just as many benefits as having a modern door. One of the nicer benefits of new technology is that you can choose a “smart” garage door opener and monitor your door from anywhere in the world – no more uncertainty about if the door was left open, and no more kids sneaking home later than their curfew.
5. Your garage door CAN be almost totally silent.
Any machine is going to make at least a little noise, but this secret is the kind that you whisper – did you know that your garage door can be almost totally silent? Commonly the garage door is though of as being excessively loud – a great grinding gear behemoth that wakes up the whole neighborhood whenever you use it late at night!
There are several ways to make your garage door operate more quietly. The simplest step is to simply lubricate the door! There are many moving parts on a typical garage door, and any or all of them can be a source of some noisy unpleasantness. The hinges between the door’s panels, the rollers, cables, and tracks on either side of the door, and the chain in the overhead track are some of the prime offenders. Although you could use WD40 or any old lubricant, there are specific lubricants made for garage door usage that will be more effective. If lubrication doesn’t solve your problem, the next step would be upgrading your metal garage door rollers to nylon rollers. Nylon rollers will be quieter than their metal counterparts, and they can hold up to much more use, but they will generally be more expensive. Contact us today if you’re interested in having your steel rollers swapped for nylon ones!
Lastly, if lubrication and new rollers haven’t quieted the garage door, it’s time for drastic measures – a belt drive garage door opener. Most residential homes have a chain drive on their garage door opener, and the noisy clicking of metal chain is a big source of the door’s rumbling. To remove this noise, you can upgrade to the much quieter belt drive, which works on the same basic principle but uses a dependable and quiet belt in place of a chain!
6. Your garage door IS the largest moving object in your home!
Our last secret is sorta more of a fun fact, but it can be a great fact to tell your friends at parties! Your garage door opener is an appliance, like your toaster or dishwasher, but it also happens to be the largest appliance in your house! In fact, depending on how you measure, it might be largest moving object that you own – your car weighs more and has a greater volume, but your garage door is probably larger from the front! Given the enormous size of garage doors, doesn’t it make sense to make sure to choose one that you’re completely happy with?
We hope that you’ve learned something from reading these secrets today! If you know any money (or time) saving secrets from around the house, post them in the comments below!