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)

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.

With rolling code garage door technology now helps 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 thief 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!”

Need to invest in a new garage door, garage door opener, or automatic garage door? Contact us today for more information. Don’t forget to check out our current specials!

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!

Knowing When to Replace Your Garage Door Opener

Your garage door opener is a fairly simple mechanical part to your home and is only thought of when it breaks down…or the light goes out. But, there are some good reasons to replacing the opener sooner rather than later especially if your opener has been with you for a long time and you’ve gotten a new garage door recently. New garage door opener models are all about safety, security and convenience these days.

First consideration is the reversing mechanism of the garage door. If you haven’t changed your door since 1993, chances are, you do not have the required safety reversal mechanism. These are the sensors on both side of the door close to the ground that when triggered by someone or something passing through, sends the garage door back up. If you do not have these and have a child or a pet, it is highly suggested to get a new garage door opener immediately.

How loud is your garage door when it opens? Is your opener on a chain system that looks like one on a bicycle? If so, consider changing to a belt drive garage door opener which will be much quieter.

If you lose electrical power can you open the garage door? Newer models of garage door openers have battery backups.

No garage door opener? No problem. Some models of garage door openers come with keypads that can be installed outside the garage door. Newer units are way high tech these days and you might not need to remember a code…you can use your fingerprint!

Lastly, older garage door openers have fixed codes on the remotes meaning someone with a special device could sit outside your home and grab the code when you aren’t home and open the garage door. Newer garage door openers have a rolling code which changes each time you open the door. This is as much a safety issue as the reversing mechanism.

Are you ready to join the new century and change out your garage door opener or the entire garage door unit completely? Give us a call!

Is Your Garage Door as Safe as You Think?

It’s a dark job—crunching numbers on every possible product-related death or injury Americans incur each year—but someone’s got to do it. Enter the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which tallies annual danger quotients on everything from glass shower doors to Go Karts. It’s not just an exercise in curiosity, of course. It’s about making us safer. Thanks to their work, reversing systems and external entrapment systems (typically an electric eye) have been required on new garage doors for 20 years running. As a result, automatic garage door injuries and deaths have plummeted, but we urge everyone to remember that even doors in compliance aren’t injury-proof! Components can and do break down. That’s why you should test your reversing system and electric eye every month:

  • Test your electric eye by waving a hand in front of the beam as the door closes.
  • Test your auto-reverse by putting a 2-by-4 under the garage door and seeing if the door reverses when it touches the wood.

Automatic doors with these features are safer in spades, but you still need to check other door components on a regular basis. When, for example, did you last check the cables on your garage door? You don’t need to do these kinds of checks every month, but twice a year is not a bad idea. Just make it a part of your seasonal reorganizing of garage supplies—switching out lawn mowers for snow blowers, garden tools for ice scrapers, and vice versa. Here are some things you’ll want to include:

  • Check that the rail is secured to the wall and not bent or deformed.
  • Make sure the brackets that hold the axles in place are still firmly secured to the garage door.
  • Check for slack in the drive chain or drive belt.
  • Listen for strange sounds of popping, creaking, or grinding.
  • Look over the garage door springs, cables, rollers, and pulleys for signs of wear or damage.

Remember that repair of some garage-door components such as torsion springs is very risky work—there are statistics on that, too—so don’t be a maverick. If you need help with a checkup or repair, give us a call. We even off 24-hour emergency repair, any time of day and on any day of the week or year!