Snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures affect electrical devices, including your garage door opener. Remote controls, motors and battery operated systems do not do well in frigid weather. Garage opener performance changes with temperature swings.
A remote opener that normally triggers a response from a block away may not get the door to move until you reach the driveway. A battery-powered keyless entry pad might not work at all. Even the normally powerful electric motors controlling the door might be sluggish as lubricants on chains and belts stiffen.
Cold temperatures aren’t the only weather-related stresses on garage door systems. Heavy doors freeze to the driveway or garage apron and snow drifts pack in tight. Added weight and drag make doors even heavier. Wind-blown snow easily blocks the electronic eye and keeps the opener from working.
Late winter, especially after the weather extremes of 2019, is time for routine electric door opener inspections. Timely checks promote safety and guarantee reliable opener performance.
Review Daily Garage Door Opener Activity
When a garage door freezes and won’t move, there’s an obvious problem. However, other nagging concerns are more difficult to recognize. Begin a routine inspection tour using your eyes and ears. Listen for unusual sounds and vibrations. Watch for slower than normal response times and operating speeds. After a visual check of the entire installation, consider:
- Electrical safety devices – All modern garage doors installations must include electric eyes and auto-reverse systems. If anything breaks the electric light beam in this system the door must stop. Federal law requires sensors 6 inches from the floor on each side of the garage door. It’s a smart move to check these for obstructions and dirt on a regular basis all year long. After heavy snow or ice, check them more often. When you shovel the driveway it’s easy to add to the buildup of snow and ice around the electric connections. Even a large chunk of road sludge falling from a wheel well can slide in and keep the system from operating. Consider that even a thin veil of ice or snow will reduce the intensity of the light beam and bring you door to a halt.
It’s not at all uncommon for a door to open on command when you go out to shovel then fail to close when you’re done – snow has gotten into the system compromising the unit’s performance.
If clearing the light’s path doesn’t solve the problem, check the wiring. The light-weight wires used for the connections become brittle in extreme cold and even the slightest knock can loosen or even break them.
Power Controls Opener Performance
Your garage opener is electric so there are a couple of connections to check immediately when operation fails.
- Consider the source – the power source. If you press the button on the wall or on your remote and nothing happens you have four spots to check. The most obvious one is whether or not the main garage door opener unit is plugged in. Usually mounted in the garage ceiling, vibrations and gravity over time cause connections to loosen and eventually fail. Make sure it’s secure. If it is, check the circuit breaker assigned to it for a failure there, too.
The second point to check is the wiring between the main unit and the wall-mounted on/off switch. Just like the wires to the electric eyes, these connections do not react well to extreme cold and can loosen or break.
The most common power failure impacting performance is an easy fix – replace the batteries in your remote unit or keyless entry pad. Garage door repair technicians recommend replacing batteries in openers and pads as frequently as you do in smoke detectors inside the house.
The garage door is the main point of entry for most homes so an opener that works on demand is critical. Fresh batteries are a cheap, easy way to insure reliable performance when you need it most.
Garage Door Opener Shifts A Lot Of Weight
The garage door is the heaviest moving part in any home. Taking regular precautions to keep it working right is worth the time and effort. One of the easily overlook and misunderstood performance factors is the door’s down-force. That’s because another law says the door has to immediately stop and go back up when it hits something in its path. Controls for the amount of force the door must feel before reacting are on the main opener unit.
The appropriate down-force pressure setting for southern Wisconsin in August is wrong for mid-winter. Making the appropriate adjustments is important.
Adjust the force pressure three or four times a year. Changes in temperature and humidity change how the system responds. Daily performance is closely linked to the weather.
The operator’s manual list the correct settings for your opener.. That’s also where you’ll find instructions on how to make the adjustments. If you have any doubt, give the pros at Northland Door Systems a call.
All garage door panels get stiffer and react slower in cold weather. That means it takes more force to move them. If your garage door opener has a standard summer setting of 25 pounds, the setting for a cold winter like this one is more like 35 pounds.
When you have a new or replacement garage door installed, or torsion springs replaced, the installation technician will adjust the settings for the current conditions. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be checking them regularly.
What Depends Upon Opener Performance?
Your family, pets and property are all affected every day by the smooth operation of your garage door. What happens when an opener fails? Among the concerns are:
- Potentially severe and costly damage to an expensive door and its fittings
- Damage to the garage – vibration loosen supports and create problems for walls and ceilings
- Damage to the opener itself – the motor overheats, chains, belts, connections and systems breakdown
- Injuries or damage to people, pets and possessions
A key operating consideration starts before the opener works for the first time. Installation is the basis for reliable performance. Poor installations lead to excessive wear on moving parts, stress on door components and reduced operating life and effectiveness of safety features.
When the time comes for a professional inspection or repair of your electric door opener, call Northland Door Systems at 608-251-3627. Or email us for professional assistance for garage door opener installation and repair to insure optimum opener performance in your Madison WI home.