We love our garage doors! They give us privacy as well as convenience and security. When you combine them with automatic garage door openers, we really have a winning combination! A proper garage door should open when it is supposed to and close on demand. But what happens when it won’t stay open? Our Diligent Garage Door pros are sometimes frantically called because an open door suddenly comes back down again. This action can be confusing, distressing and even a little dangerous!

What is the cause?

Sometimes our Sandy Springs, GA customers call and want to know what the cause for garage door behavior like this is. Is it their electrical system or their opener unit? Could a faulty spring be the problem? Is it time to replace their photoelectric safety eyes? There seems to be thousand questions. Keep reading this post to see what you can do about this garage door phenomenon.

Suspect #1

The main cause of this type of irregular garage door activity is faulty springs. Your torsion or extension springs are the real power lifters when it comes to moving your several hundred pound garage door up and down. So many think that the remote control does the lifting; they confuse the remote with the opener system. The opener motor powers the action but it’s the springs that actually lift and lower your several hundred pound door.

A test for damaged springs

There are many signs of broken or damaged garage door springs. Some of these include a lopsided garage door, a suddenly falling garage door, a lifted garage door that sways easily, a frozen shut garage door that traps your car inside, etc. One test that you can do yourself is to try and manually lift your disconnected garage door and see how it rises. You do this by pulling on the red knob at the end of the emergency cord up by the opener light. This disconnects your opener from the garage door itself. Now that you’ve done that, try raising your door by lifting it upward. Notice if you encounter resistance of any kind. Is it hard to lift? Does the action see choppy? Or does the garage door open easily and smoothly? One or both damaged springs will make your efforts difficult and very noticeable.

Culprit #2

Your close limit switch is sometimes to blame for this type of garage door behavior. More often than not, you can just have your switch adjusted, and not replace it. As your garage door goes up, the opener motor pushes the limit switch which does what it is named for; it limits the rise of the garage door to the correct height. If your limit switch is not adjusted correctly, the garage door will not rise to the correct height and will usually start coming down again. The opener motor has the limit switch on it and you can do the adjustment yourself. If you still have your opener owner’s manual, refer to it for your model’s particular instruction on how to reset the switch. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you can look up your model online and get the PDF on your desktop, laptop or smart phone. Just get the make and model of your opener directly off of the unit and put this information along with the keywords “owner’s manual” in the search bar. You can also do a search on YouTube for the videos on how to make this adjustment. Of course you can always call a local garage door repair shop that specializes in opener service, but if you have the time, and enjoy do-it-yourself projects, this one is not difficult and it might just save you a service call.

Do you own or rent?

If you own or lease-to-own your home, condo or apartment, you are on your own as far as repair work goes. On the other hand, if you are renting, call your property management office, landlord or owner and see what they recommend. Your lease should state clearly what should be done as far as repairs to the property and the dollar amounts involved should be. Usually, the tenant pays for small repairs on their own and anything above a certain amount ($50 for example) will be taken care of by the owners. It may also be possible that you pay for fixing the garage door but you save a receipt that you can send in for reimbursement later. Some owners will want you to get 3 estimates in writing and submit them for selection.

Spring repair

Your garage door that won’t stay open most likely has a spring issue. Please don’t attempt spring repair on your own. DIY projects can be fun and save money but some things should be left to the professionals and spring repair, maintenance and new installation is one of them. Torsion springs tend to last almost twice as long as the older extension springs. Life cycles are counted in one opening and one closing instead of an average of years. 10,000 cycles is average for extension springs and about double that for the torsion variety. The advantage of torsion springs is that they tend to last longer and are generally safer. They also cost more. Be extra careful with your springs if you have the extension variety. These pack a real punch when they break or snap and can even fly shatter a window, or punch through drywall and windshields! Extension springs are located on either side of your garage door and are connected vertically through your tracks. On the other hand, torsion springs are located on top of your garage door and are horizontal in positioning.

Don’t put it off

If you experience garage door activity where your door won’t stay open, get it serviced right away. If you don’t the problem can get worse and the repair cost will be greater. Damaged springs that can be repaired now will have to be replaced if they break down further.