Make Your Garage More Energy Efficient

Do you look at your garage as an extension of your home or part of the outside world since it’s for outside “stuff”? Most people don’t consider the garage part of the house and this is why it’s more than likely the most inefficient room of your house. If the garage is attached and isn’t considered just like a living area, it basically sucks hot air into the home during the summer and cold during the winter.

But, you can change your garage efficiency very easily!

Insulating Your Garage is a first Step!

First, let’s talk insulation. Most homebuilders also don’t view the garage as a room of the house and therefore do not insulate it. The walls are basically sided, sheathed and particle board placed on the inside. You can start here by blowing insulation into your wall space. Also, consider caulking between bottom of the walls and the floor.

How about your garage door? Did you know you could insulate that as well or buy a new door that is insulated?

Let’s talk about that door from the garage into the home!

Do you have weather stripping and a draft stopper? There should be! Make sure the entire frame of the door has the weather stripping and be sure to caulk around the door frame as well.

Do you use your garage as a workshop but are using heaters during the winter? Did you know you could scrap that heater and get cheap solar heating installed with a homemade unit? It’s easy – check it out!

Look down at the garage floor. Do you see lots of cracks? It’s time to seal those and stay flat with the sealant…you don’t want bumps and such when driving in.

It’s a perfect time to start getting this done for your garage and your home. Before you do your spring cleaning, make your garage a more livable space – get a “new room” and make your home more efficient!

Spring Cleaning for your Garage

Let’s talk SPRING CLEANING and your garage!

OK…keep reading and don’t grimace. It’s something that should be done…since you clean your house after the long Winter, why would you ignore the garage?

Garage cleaning

If this is what it takes to get into your garage for Spring Cleaning…you might need help…


First, wait until a sunny and a little bit warmer day. Start to bring everything out of the garage that is moveable and think about taking an inventory. This is the best way to see what you DON’T need anymore. Consider items for a garage sale that you haven’t used in the past 2-4 years and if it’s longer than that, consider the trash can.

Remember, as well, that some items cannot just be thrown away – batteries, gasoline cans, electronics. Check with your local municipality about disposal of those items.


Sweep out the dirt, and then hose out the garage floor as well…using a push broom to get any excess water out. Let the garage dry – which is why doing this on a warmer day is essential. While it dries, take a look at your stuff!


Now that you’ve decided what to keep, sell or throw away, think about moving stuff around in the garage to offer more space. Where can the lawn mower fit better? Can you hang the bikes? Can something be done with the yard tools? Consider hooks and space saving items to take stuff off the floor. How about using a pegboard or reels for cords?


Can you make anything mobile? How about plastic bins with little wheels and putting labels on the outside of the bins?

Think of your garage as an extra room from now on and you won’t worry too much about cleaning it for Spring…or again in Fall!

Garage Door Limits and Force

Is your garage door not closing all the way or it goes too far past the opening? Does it come down with too much force?  For some, your garage door might need replacement, but for many, there’s a few fixes you can make and all it will require is a stepladder and a screwdriver.

Garage Door up and down limits Norm's Door Service

Garage Door Up and Down Limits

All garage door openers have either dials for force or limit and force adjusting screws. Let’s start with the limiting screws on the garage door opener.

The door cable can become misaligned if the door opens all the way and is too far back. The bottom section of the door should stop right at the head of the garage. If the door doesn’t go far enough back, good luck getting your car or truck in and out. Get on the step ladder and locate the limit adjusting screws – usually, they are on the left side of the unit. If there’s a friend who can help, have them standing by the opener button on the wall. If you need to change the up limit of the garage door, turn the screw to the left. Turn it to the right if you need the up limit to go down a bit. Do this in small increments and each time you do an adjustment, open and close the garage door to see where it ends up.

If your garage door won’t close all the way, change the down limit by turning the screw the same way as above – to the right if it needs to go down more, to the left if you need it to be a little higher when the door is closed. Again, small increments and test the door each time you make an adjustment.

Garage Door Up and Down Force

Your garage door will have screws or dials to fix the force of the door opening and closing. If it’s a screw, turn it clockwise to increase the amount of force required to reverse the door’s direction. Turn the screw counterclockwise to decrease the amount of force. And remember to do this in small increments. Open and close the garage door each time to test. If you have dials, it is the same concept as the screws: clockwise to increase force and counterclockwise to decrease.

If you have done all this and don’t see a change, you should call us and we can inspect the garage door. It might be time for a replacement.

Your Garage Door and the Winter

The extremely cold weather we have had this year can be rough on just about anything – your body, your car, your house and your garage. We all love garages because it protects our cars/trucks from the elements…the heavy snow and crippling freezing wind is torture and getting into a cold car is even worse!

Garage door in winter tips

So, what happens when your garage door starts to act funky during the winter?


First off, there are ways to make sure you garage door functions smoothly. You may have just purchased a garage door and opener or just the opener…or it might just be a few years old, but, you’re having a few issues. You’ll want to start with lubrication. All the moving parts need to move easily and you have to make sure they are lubricated properly. Look at the rollers and hinges closely and spray the lubricant liberally. Do the same between each door section! Be sure to only use lubricant suggested in the owner’s manual. And, make sure your garage opener actually uses lubricant! Some don’t.

Use Your Garage Door Daily

Do you not use the garage every day? During the winter, you will want to take a moment and open and shut the door at least once. It will freeze and then when you do need to open it, it won’t. If your automatic has stopped working, unplug it, manually and close the door at least 2 or 3 times then plug the unit back in. Test the opener now. It should work. If it doesn’t work, check the lubrication or for any obstructions. At this point, it might be time for a new opener.

Remember, extreme changes in temperatures cause expansion and contraction. If you follow these basic tips, your garage door should be ready for you when you need not just in the winter, but year round!

The Death of Your Garage Door Opener

You are thrilled to be able to get your car into the garage after driving through all that snow, ready to get inside and be warmed up. As you open the door to the inside of your home and you hit the garage door opener, you hear it…a horrible sound of gears screeching and the garage isn’t coming down, the belt isn’t moving.

Broken Garage Door Opener

You try it again…the door doesn’t move. So, you are forced to use the emergency release rope and manually bring the garage door down – even the belt isn’t moving! What happened?

How old is your garage door opener? If it is a few decades old, consider the age and think about the gear. More than likely, that is what is broken. It’s not going to turn anytime soon, it might be worn or the motor itself might be blown as well.

There are lots of folks out there who will tell you to just buy garage door opener replacement parts and change out the gear yourself. They will say that replacing the opener yourself is a pain and a new one isn’t necessary. This is why we asked how old the opener is to begin with. Sure, if you just got it or it’s only 5 years old, that is a good option. But 10 to 20 years old, that garage door opener is ancient and what you can buy on the market now for a fair price is going to beat just replacing a gear…if that’s really the problem!

Let’s say you went with the option of a new garage door opener…bought one at Sears, maybe? So…are you installing it yourself? It’s not a one person job…at least, not an easy, one person job. While we are big fans of DIY shows and websites, some things are just not Do It Yourself! We will come and replace your old, broken down opener and haul it away! We will save you time and energy and make sure you aren’t stranded out in the cold or stuck in your garage! We have specials on garage door openers all the time! Visit Norm’s Door Service for more information!

Choosing the Right Garage Door

Whether your garage door is near the end of its life and you can hear it through the sounds coming from the spring or, it has broken and you want to change, there are few things you should consider first when choosing the garage door that’s right for you.

Garage Door From Norm's Doors

Let’s start with design.

Not all garage doors are the same. You want a door that fits your style but also fits the look of your home. You could certainly choose the same style you had before, but now is the time to think outside the box…and maybe change the look of your house from an outsider’s perspective. If you are planning on moving soon, think about curb appeal. We have access to plenty of specialty garage door products and our consultants can help you make a decision. We also have plenty of Garage Door Specials you should peruse via our website!

Our next piece of advice for you is construction.

This can make a big difference in the feel of the door despite the look of these doors being similar. We are talking about Pan Doors (standard, single-sided steel) or Sandwich Doors (double-sided steel). The basic measurement of this construction is through the gauge of the steel and what’s called “R-value” or how the insulation is measured.

Finally, what options are you hoping to have for the garage door?

Do you want it to have windows? What about decorative hardware? These are the top two questions we get when people are searching for their new garage door. And, you’d be surprised at how many options there are with hardware and windows!

When it comes to windows, you are not sacrificing security when you have them on the garage door. And, double-pane windows can maintain the energy rating of the door.

Are you ready? Call us for a free estimate!

Why You Need an Automatic Garage Door

While many of you out there already have automatic garage door openers, there are folks who either prefer lifting and closing the heavy garage doors themselves or don’t think an automatic garage door is for them. That’s completely fine, but we want to try and change their minds. Maybe you can help us…if you see someone getting in and out of their car to open and close their garage door, be good neighbors…share this blog!

Illustration of a garage door.

Illustration of a garage door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We could just leave it at this. Automatic garage doors are convenient. When the snow hits Omaha and all of eastern Nebraska, getting out of the car to open a garage door seems somewhat disheartening. Let’s also consider detached garages with manual garage doors. You are left out in the cold much longer than you need to be. Heck, you don’t even need a garage door opener if you have a newer car. Programmable buttons in the car will open and close the garage for you. No need to worry if the opener is in the car…it is the car!

Other than occasional safety checks and possibly lubrication of the chains, automatic garage doors are pretty much maintenance free.

Let’s say the power goes out. You won’t be left outside! Most automatic garage doors have a back-up battery power system. But, if you opt out of that, no worry! You already know how to open your manual garage door…you can still open this one manually. But, we suggest spending the extra little bit to get that battery back-up. We’ve already talked you into leaving your manual garage door behind…why keep bothering with one?

Clear the Garage Clutter

You’ve had enough of the mess in your garage. You just can’t seem to find a way to organize all the clutter. While you have sold plenty of your “junk” in garage sales and have tossed out even more, you still find yourself maneuvering around kids’ toys or bicycles or you can never find the tool you need because you forgot to put it in the tool box. That’s the worst when you need the hammer to fix something inside and head into the cold garage and spend 15 minutes looking!

It’s time to organize!

Take a moment and look at the garage, with the cars parked in the driveway. What’s on the ground? What could be placed on shelves? What could be hung from the exposed lumber? How about hanging from the walls? There are plenty of DIY garage organization systems out there you might be able to purchase, but you could also spend less money and use common/everyday items. Bungee cords bought at any hardware store could tie items up above the cars. You could also buy larger hooks that handle weight to hang bicycles. What if you bought a few pieces of lumber and created a mini-loft and placed items there? Here are some of the ideas we are talking about.


DIY Garage Storage DIY Garage Storage DIY Garage Storage DIY Garage Storage


Your garage is supposed to protect your car. We have allowed it to become a workspace and storage area. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, what if you took a few minutes to think about organization and then found cheap ways to clear that clutter in your garage. Trust us, you will be a lot happier when you need to run into the garage for that hammer in the middle of winter and you don’t spend 15 minutes looking for the hammer!

Prevent Garage Door Break-Ins

Garage doors can be an easy target for thieves to gain access to your home. For most people, when they see a garage door open these days, they think nothing of it. Put a “work truck” in front and your neighbors think someone is just doing work in your house and you let them in.

While rolling code garage door technology now help keep thieves from using code grabbers to open the door, there are other ways thieves can rob you blind.

Here are 5 important tips to making sure thieves don’t view your garage as an easy access point

Don’t use the opener installed in your car. If you happen to leave your car out, a theif can break into the car and just open the door easily. Invest in a key-chain opener that you take with you wherever you go.

2) Don’t leave the remote in the car. See above.

3) If you have garage windows, consider covering them or tinting them. This keeps people who are walking by from checking to see if there’s a car inside.

4) Get a garage “padlock” for times when you are gone for extended periods. If you don’t have a manual lock you can use c-clamps.

5) Stop leaving the garage door open. Let your neighbors know that you won’t be leaving it open either especially if this was common practice. If they see it open that should trigger them to make sure everything is alright in your home. Leaving the garage door open is just an invitation – “Hey…rob me!”

Repairing or Replacing Garage Door Springs

When it comes to garage door parts and the age of your garage, the torsion spring is probably the first item to look at. New garage door torsion springs are made to cycle anywhere between 10,000  to 15,000 times in a lifetime. Garage door springs break because every time the door opens and closes, the spring wire bends a little. The average lifetime of these springs is about 5 years.

You can extend the life of the torsion springs by using larger springs; in some cases, you could pay double the price for large springs, but they could last 4 times  as long! You will also avoid extra work and money spent down the road. It’s always recommended to replace both springs if your garage has two. These tend to wear at the same time. Think of the springs like you do your car tires…only we aren’t rotating them. The springs wear out the same way as tires but you can’t tell just by looking at them that they might be about to break.

If your garage door springs are just squeaking or making a lot of noise, you can simply apply some garage door lubricant to see if that helps. If it doesn’t, those springs are probably near the end of their life. While there are plenty of places out there to purchase your own torsion springs for the garage door and do it yourself, we don’t recommend that. The springs are under a lot of tension since they are tightly wound and can be very dangerous if they break and you are around.

We can help you if you think your springs are almost done with their life or if you can’t open your garage door because the springs have sprung!