Lighting Your Garage

To LED or not to LED your garage, that is the question!

If you are thinking about the lighting for a new garage or adding and/or updating your present one, this is a very important decision.

How do you feel about the opportunity to get big utility rebates? How do you feel about 77% savings in energy?

Since all the wild weather, how do you feel about LED bollards with enough battery back up to supply lighting power for 90 minutes without wire or external back up system?

Lighting is crucial in a garage.

Be sure to be aware of ‘safety’ before you decide on overhead, natural daylight, ambiance, under cabinet or track lighting. Almost all garages end up with a combination of these.

Door ways, steps, (even a single one) light switches, places where rain, snow, or leaves tend to gather, short walls, handles on doors, cupboards or draws, things hanging from the ceiling or potentially dangerous tools (shovel, picks) all need to be contained or clearly lit.

Solar powered, sensor and motion lights are down right fun.

Jay Leno LED

Nebraska native, Jay Leno, is not only a funny guy who has lots cars, he is super savvy about the garage he keeps them in.

Yes, he whistled long and loud over the initial cost to switch to LED lighting, but after learning how soon he would re-coup the cost in energy savings he jumped in with both feet.

The other fellows who work with him were quick to add that the new lights didn’t make the awful thrumming sound florescent lights made. They actually preferred them.




Birds Roosting in Your Garage

It’s for the Birds! No…It’s Not!

You are just itching to utilize your garage for that extra work and storage space but wait a minute, so do some birds! What to do?

As far as they know, they think you’ve arranged it for them.

removing-birds-from-garage

You must sway them away from the garage.

A lot of birds are protected by environmental laws so you must resist the urge to shoot them. However, they still make nests in your garage door opener or open spaces above, leave unsanitary droppings (often right on your windshield), some make holes and oh yeah, that swooping-down-on-your-head thing when you are in their path.

You can try to always keep the door closed, but your next bet is to try to give them another, more favorable to them, option.

Options Away from the Garage

Bird baths, higher bird houses, even bushes with berries away from the garage. If you can make them feel safe this actually works pretty well.

Another option is to make sure they can not ‘get comfortable’.

There are Sound deterrents that are as well as Netting. That is often used on fruit bearing trees and bushes to keep birds off, works in the garage rafters as well.

Reflectors and/ or Flash tape, will keep your garage walls free for your use.

Balloon Decoys (big eyes) Cut-out photo Decoys (coyotes) seem almost funny to people, but they do fool the birds if you move them around often.

If you have the right wind drafts, Predator Kites are down right fun.

If you still have no joy, there are Bird Spikes. They sound ominous, they just attach in strips and make it so there is no purchase for bird feet to grip on to. They are U.S. Humane Society approved and come in metal or a choice of acrylic colors.

 




Eliminate Garage Clutter

The garage isn’t just for storing your car…at least not for most people.

It has become the storage for just about anything people do not want in their homes…shoes, tools, old furniture, cardboard boxes that might be used to ship stuff at Christmas, etc.

Here are a few ideas to help with all the clutter you need to step around as you venture from your garage door to your car and back again.

Shoe Storage

Shoe Storage:

Since the garage is the main entrance for your family and sometime your friends, especially your kids’ friends, a lot of folks make others take their shoes off by the door. And, most of the time, they just sit there, waiting to trip you. Why not get a shoe organizer you can leave by the door? Easy to build from the store and clears the floor.

Garage_Loft

Storage Loft:

Do you have a high ceiling garage or see a lot of room up there that could be used for storage? How about building a loft? It’s essentially an attic.

Slat_wall

Slat Wall:

These have become more and more popular over the years because of how great they are for getting things off the floor and creating more space. You can hang just about anything from them.

Garage_Cabinets

Cabinets:

Are you considering removing cabinets inside your house and were just going to throw them out? How about hanging them in the garage? If not, you can buy cabinets and install them or, have custom built cabinets installed…clear the garage of everything!

Pegboard

Pegboards:

Like a slat wall, hanging peg boards on walls will remove excess clutter from everywhere. When the garage floor is cleared, your garage will look like a huge room!

Take a long look at the garage with the cars not in it…or, if there isn’t even enough room for your car in the garage, change that…it’s easy!




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…

WARMER THE BETTER

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.

CLEAN IT, CLEAN IT GOOD!

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!

VISUALIZE THE SPACE

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?

MOBILITY

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?

Lubrication

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! Contact us today 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)

Convenience.
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!

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

Power.
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?