• What is the Best Garage Door Opener?

    Has your garage door opener finally given out? Instead of automatically replacing it with a newer version from the same brand, you might be interested in comparing different options to help you find the best garage door opener for your Florida home.

    Because everyone’s needs differ, garage door openers are not one-size-fits-all. Many brands and models will get the job done, but your final selection should be based on the style and weight of your garage door, any safety and security concerns you have, smart home compatibility requirements, and other desired features. Here, we’ll help you sift through the most important qualities of a garage door opener so you know what to shop for.

    Horsepower

    Most single- or double-car garage doors made of steel or aluminum pair well with a 1/2 horsepower opener. If your garage door is oversized or made of heavy wood, consider a 3/4 to 2-horsepower model.

    The simplest way to determine what horsepower you need to lift your garage door is to check your existing unit. If this opener worked well for many years, buy a replacement with the same horsepower. If it struggled to lift your door or failed prematurely, upgrade to a higher-power unit, especially if your existing one is a 1/3 horsepower model.

    Lift System

    There are three primary types of garage door lift systems – chain, belt and screw – plus two newer options introduced in recent years called direct drive and jackshaft. If budget is your top priority, a chain-driven opener is the best choice for you. If you’re concerned about noise, consider a belt-driven opener. For low maintenance, a screw-driven system is your best bet.

    As for top performance and durability, direct drive and jackshaft lift systems are best, although these cost more than their traditional chain, belt and screw counterparts.

    Noise

    The lift system you choose has a significant impact on how loudly your garage door opener operates, but this isn’t the only factor to consider. The best garage door openers feature motor vibration isolation to help eliminate unwanted noise. If your home has a bedroom, nursery or other living space above the garage, vibration isolation can help reduce the disruption of opening and closing the garage door.

    Speed

    The average garage door opens at a rate of seven inches per second. If you want yours to move faster than this, look for an opener with a higher operating speed. If the opening rate doesn’t matter to you, a slower speed may help reduce wear and tear over time. Be aware that an opener’s speed rating doesn’t indicate its quality.

    Power Options & Backup Batteries

    As you shop for the best garage door opener, you’ll find that different models run on AC or DC power. Both types plug into a standard power outlet and operate seemingly the same. However, DC models tend to be smaller and quieter and have softer stops and starts. You also need a DC-powered unit if you’re interested in battery operation.

    A high-end garage door opener with a backup battery can save you from getting stuck inside or outside your house during a power outage. This is not only convenient but can even be lifesaving if you have an emergency and must evacuate your home or get to the hospital during a blackout. Expect the ability to open and close your garage door up to 20 times on backup battery power.

    Safety

    A vast majority of garage doors come with two primary safety features: infrared beam sensors and automatic reverse. These tell the door when an object lies in its path as it closes, at which point the door reverses directions to prevent an accident or injury. These sensors are only active on the close cycle.

    Security

    Garage doors are designed to protect your car and keep intruders out. Of course, this is only effective if the door is closed. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to accidentally leave the garage door wide open. That’s why timer-to-close is such a beneficial security feature. Models that offer this convenience allow you to go inside with your arms full – no need to come back out and close the garage door. It also eliminates the worry that someone could leave the garage door open on accident.

    Other security features, including rolling codes and lock mode, are more mainstream. Rolling codes make it virtually impossible for criminals to steal the code from your remote because it changes every time. Lock mode is useful when you leave town because it prevents remotes or keypads from opening the door. When you return home, you must enter the garage through the house and program the opener out of lock mode before you can use it normally again.

    Lighting

    Most garage door openers have two light bulbs: one in the front and one in the back to help illuminate every corner of the garage. These bulbs activate automatically when you open or close the garage door and remain on for a predetermined amount of time (usually 4.5 minutes).

    Motion sensor lights are another option. These come on automatically when you enter the garage or leave your car, eliminating the need to fumble around in the dark for a light switch.

    A less common safety feature is light activation when you cross the infrared beam. This is a popular feature amongst Florida homeowners who like to sit outside on summer evenings with the garage door open.

    Remotes & Keypads

    Most garage door openers come with two remotes, which are traditionally clipped to the visor in your car. If you have an in-car remote system, such as HomeLink or Car2U, make sure you buy a compatible garage door opener. Then, you won’t need to keep the remotes in the car, which improves security.

    Keypads are another popular way to enter and exit the garage. All garage door openers come with a control panel to open and close the door from the inside, but not all come with a wireless outdoor keypad. This offers convenience when working in the yard or coming home on foot. You can even program a temporary PIN number for houseguests or maintenance workers. When comparing keypads, look for a flip cover to protect against the elements and a backlight for ease of use in low-light conditions.

    Ease of Installation

    If you’re keen on a DIY installation, it’s helpful to select a garage door opener that’s easy to install. Features such as pre-programmed remotes, snap-lock rail systems, and online tech support and installation videos set some models apart from the rest. Of course, if you get stuck, you can always call in a professional for help with the installation.

    Smartphone Control & Smart Home Compatibility

    A high-end garage door opener with built-in Wi-Fi lets you monitor and control your garage door from anywhere. For peace of mind, you can set up activity notifications to receive alerts any time your garage door is opened, closed or left open. It’s even possible to establish customized schedules to automatically close the garage door at certain times.

    Built-in Wi-Fi also creates the opportunity for smart home connectivity. This makes it more convenient than ever to operate your garage door. For instance, you can coordinate your smart thermostat, locks and lights to react when your garage door opens and closes at certain times of the day, indicating that you’re either leaving or coming home. Check the compatibility of the garage door openers you’re considering with the type of smart home system you have.

    Warranty

    The final way to determine if you have found the best garage door opener is to assess the warranty coverage. There should be three categories: motor warranty, lift system warranty, and parts and accessories warranty.

    The motor is the most vital part of a garage door opener, so it should have the longest coverage. In fact, the best models have lifetime motor warranties. Lift systems are often covered for one to three years, though some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty. If a lift system fails, it’s usually easy to replace it without buying a whole new opener. A parts and accessories warranty – which covers remotes, wall switches, keypads and other components – should last for one to five years.

    Garage Door Opener Services in Jacksonville, Florida

    Whether you prefer a LiftMaster, Genie, Chamberlain, Craftsman, Linear or another brand of garage door opener, A1A Overhead Door Company can help. Tell us what your top priorities are from the list above, and we’ll match your needs with a model that will work flawlessly for you. For more information about garage door opener installation and other garage door services in Jacksonville, FL, please contact us at (904) 579-1123.

  • How to Prepare and Paint your Garage Door

    Painting the garage door is a chore most of us never think about, but it’s important to keep your door looking its best. Your garage door can make up about a third of your home’s exterior face, so if it’s looking shabby, it greatly decreases your curb appeal. Fortunately, while painting the garage door is a time-consuming task, it’s not especially difficult.

    • Determine the material. Most garage doors today are made of aluminum, but many older homes have wooden doors. While latex paint is a good option for both aluminum and wooden doors, aluminum doors need an oil-based primer, while wood can take oil-based or latex.
    • Watch the weather. It’s best to paint when the weather is temperate, with low humidity, indirect sunlight, and temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees. Bear in mind that you’ll probably need three full days to complete the job, so make sure the weather will hold.
    • Wear protective gear. Work gloves, a dust mask, and safety goggles will keep dust, debris, and paint from being inhaled or splattering into your eyes.
    • Do your prep work. A wooden door with a flaking or peeling surface will require scraping and sanding before you apply the primer and paint. An aluminum door may have some rust spots or uneven places that can be scrubbed off with a wire brush and then sanded smooth. Finish preparing the door by washing it with all-purpose cleaner, a scrub brush, and a hose. Dry it with rags or towels, and let it dry completely before beginning to paint it.
    • Keep paint where it’s supposed to be. Put down drop cloths to keep paint from dripping where it’s not wanted, both inside and outside the door. Use heavy duty painters tape to tape off handles, locks, and trim around the garage door, in order to ensure precision in your paint job.
    • Apply the primer. To make it easier on your back, disengage the electric garage door opener and manually lift the door to a comfortable height, then begin painting from the bottom and work your way up. If your garage has inset panels, prime those first, with a 2-inch nylon bristled paintbrush. Wipe away any excess that’s made its way outside these panels, to create a smooth finish, before priming outer areas, using the brush or a ¾ inch roller. Allow the primer to dry for a full twenty-four hours before you apply your paint.
    • Apply two coats of paint. This might not be necessary on an aluminum door unless you’re going from a darker color to a lighter shade. You might want to use a large brush to paint the door, to save time getting the job done. If the door is wooden, you’ll want to go with the grain. If it’s aluminum, you have more leeway, but should try to apply the paint as smoothly and evenly as possible. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying the second coat, at least twelve hours. Once you’ve completed your second coat, remove the tape and let the paint dry overnight before opening the garage door.
    • Consider getting creative. You don’t have to stick to paint, or even a solid color. If you’ve got a wooden garage door, you can strip it down and stain it, for a unique look. With an aluminum door, you can paint it however you’d like: you’re limited only by your imagination, your home owner’s association or neighborhood regulations, and how good you are with a brush.
    • Know how to clean up properly. Once you’re finished, and you’ve finished taking down the tape and putting away the drop cloths, it’s time to clean your brushes. It’s important to clean brushes thoroughly because paint left in brushes will make them stiff and unusable. If you’ve been using latex products, you can wash your brushes out with soap and water. On the other hand, if you’ve used oil-based paint, you’ll need to use a solvent like turpentine or paint thinner. Dip the brush in a generous amount of solvent until all the paint has come out, and then finish cleaning it by washing it in a thick solution of liquid dish soap. It can be helpful to separate the brush with your fingers, looking at the rubber base inside the bristles to make sure you’ve gotten all the paint off of the brush.

    You can make a big difference in the appearance of your door with a coat of paint. When it’s time to get a whole new door, though, it’s time to contact A1A Overhead Doors Company today. Our knowledgeable staff can help you determine exactly what’s needed, and complete your installation efficiently and professionally. Family owned and operated, A1A Overhead Door serves the entire metro Jacksonville area. In fact, we even go up to fifty miles into the outer countries. We are licensed and insured to cover both the client’s property and ours, and we’re proud to work with our clientele and will match or beat any competitor’s written estimate. For more information, you can call 904.579.1123 or contact us through our website.

  • Understanding the Differences between Garage Door Openers

    What kind of motor drives your garage door? If you’ve got an older model, it’s probably a chain, belt, or screw driven opener. In recent years, the introduction of the residential jackshaft and direct-drive openers have changed things, though, including conventional wisdom regarding the standard options. How much do you know about these different options? Do you have a thorough enough understanding to know which one is best for you?

    • As you’d expect, chain driven models involve a chain. It’s similar to a bicycle chain, and it pushes or pulls a trolley that connects it to a metal bar. This bar is called a J-arm, and it’s attached to the garage door. Chain-drive garage door openers are the most affordable in the industry, and they’re durable and long-lasting, but they also tend to be noisy. This may not be an issue unless you’ve got a bedroom over the garage.
    • Belt-driven openers are very similar to chain-driven models. The difference is that they use a reinforced belt to push or pull the trolley, rather than a chain. The belts are made of different materials: typically fiberglass, polyurethane, or steel-reinforced rubber. These belt-driven openers are quieter than chain-driven openers, but just as reliable. In fact, with periodic maintenance, you can expect your belt-drive unit to last for many years with no problems. You do pay for the extra quiet because belt-driven openers tend to cost $30-$60 more than chain-driven units.
    • If you are really interested in a quiet model, you might consider a direct drive unit. These are supposed to be the quietest type of garage door unit because the only moving part is the motor. An example of German innovation, they feature a motor that travels along a stationary chain embedded in an overhead rail. A J-arm connects the moving motor to the door. This type of unit costs about the same as a belt-driven model, and have lifetime warranties.
    • Screw-openers feature a trolley that rides on a threaded-steel rod. A motor rotates the rod, and because this design has fewer moving parts than most, it’s supposed to require the least maintenance. Screw-driven openers encounter problems, however, in regions with large swings in temperature. They’re also noisier than belt-driven openers, though manufacturers of this kind of opener are working on these problems. Working in their favor is the fact that they’re among the speediest of openers, opening a garage door at 10 to 12 inches per second as opposed to the 6 to 8 inches of most doors. All garage door openers close doors more slowly than they open them, at about 7 inches per second, for safety.
    • A jackshaft opener is different from other systems. This kind of system mounts on the wall beside the garage door and uses a system of pulleys and cables to turn the torsion bar and raise the garage door. Driven by a 24 volt DC motor, this type of system is reliable and quiet, and keeps the ceiling free for overhead storage. It’s also a good option for a garage with a high or low ceiling. This is the most expensive of the garage openers.

    How do you know which type of garage door opener is right for your home? If budget is a priority, consider a chain-driven opener. These are also good for large, heavy garage doors, like oversized or solid wood doors. On the other hand, if your primary concern is noise, a belt-drive opener may be a better bet. Of course, if your door is noisy as it goes along the track, a quieter opener may be a moot point. If your budget permits a direct-drive or jackshaft model, you might want to go with one of these, because they’re quiet and extremely dependable. If you’re looking for a nice, solid, middle of the road option, consider a screw-drive opener. They’re not as quiet as belt driven or direct drives, but they’re quieter than chain drives. Be aware, though, that screw-driven openers require regular maintenance to keep the rod from stripping the teeth of the drive. Because of this tendency to wear out, they’re not the best option for large or heavy doors.

    Whether you need a new garage door opener, or you’re ready for a whole new garage door, contact A1A Overhead Doors Company today. Our knowledgeable staff can help you determine exactly what’s needed, and complete your installation efficiently and professionally. Family owned and operated, A1A Overhead Door serves the entire metro Jacksonville area. In fact, we even go up to fifty miles into the outer countries. We are licensed and insured to cover both the client’s property and ours, and we’re proud to work with our clientele and will match or beat any competitor’s written estimate. For more information, you can call 904.579.1123 or contact us through our website.

     

  • How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door

    Few sounds are as annoying as the screech, whine, or thud of a garage door that’s not operating as quietly as it could be. It can be particularly grating first thing in the morning, but it’s not much of a treat at the end of a long day, either. The good news? It may be easier than you think to fix your noisy garage door.

    Before we begin, a caveat: Safety first. If your garage door is hard to move, opens very quickly, or seems to have derailed from the tracks, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Leave the major garage door repair to the professionals, rather than running the risk of injury or death. If it doesn’t seem like the necessary repairs are serious, though, you can proceed with making it quieter.

    • Tighten it up. All the nuts, bolts, screws, and hinges can make the door noisy if they’re getting loose. Working with a partner, for the sake of safety, tighten everything and spray it with lubricant. Make sure not to over-tighten, though, because you can strip the screws.
    • Out with the old, in with the new. Worn rollers and hinges can create a racket, so it may be time to replace them. If you’ve got metal rollers, consider replacing them with nylon, which are more expensive but quieter and don’t need oiling.
    • Give it a good greasing. Well lubricated parts will make the door operate more smoothly, and that means less noise. Spray the hinges, roller bearings, and springs with a garage door lubricant, and lubricate the opener track with grease.
    • Mind the vibration. Anti-vibration pads between the mounting bracket and ceiling or noise insulators between the brace and the motor block can keep the garage door opening mechanism from shaking around and making noise.
    • Call for reinforcements. Sometimes, garage doors require more know-how than the average homeowner possesses. Don’t be afraid to call in a professional, for a safe and effective solution to your garage door problems.

    Whether you just need help getting rid of irritating noises or you’re ready for a new garage door, contact A1A Overhead Doors Company today. Family owned and operated, A1A Overhead Door serves the entire metro Jacksonville area. In fact, we even go up to fifty miles into the outer countries. We are licensed and insured to cover both the client’s property and ours, and we’re proud to work with our clientele and will match or beat any competitor’s written estimate. For more information, you can call 904.579.1123 or contact us through our website.

  • Is your Garage as Secure as you Believe? How to Ensure your Garage is Secure

    Most of us consider our garages to be safe places to store our things. That big, heavy door, solid walls and concrete floors make the garage seem like a nearly impenetrable fortress. But is your garage really secure? Perhaps not, but there are some simple ways you can make it safer.

    • First, keep the door closed. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget, especially if you have several family members going in and out.
    • Next, store the garage door remote inside your house. It’s convenient to keep it in the vehicle, but it’s also easy for thieves to find. If someone breaks into your car and the remote is there, he or she has easy access to your house. A keychain remote opener may be the best solution because you can leave it on your keys and never forget it as you enter and exit the house.
    • Lock the inside door. A deadbolt on the door that leads from the garage into your house is a good deterrent for thieves. Make sure that the door to your garage is a strong as the front door of your house, and install a peephole so that you won’t have to open the door for every strange noise.
    • Choose a garage door with no windows. If that’s not a possibility at the moment, frost or cover the windows, so thieves can’t look in and see when your car is gone.
    • Secure your emergency release handle. This is easy to do, just by connecting a zip tie to a loop in the emergency latch. You could also just remove the emergency pull, being aware that in the case of an emergency it will take a few minutes more to release the garage door.
    • Maintain your door. Pay attention to all the mechanical parts of your garage door, and make sure nothing is corroded. Check the frame, lock, hinges, and any replaceable items on the door from the garage to the house, and the exterior side door, if applicable.
    • Take additional security precautions. Install a garage door alarm and motion sensor lights. If there’s a side door to the outside, use the kind of doorstop that screws into the ground and keeps the door from being compromised.
    • Install a new door if necessary. Choose a sturdy garage door, made of metal or solid wood and strong enough to stand up to anyone trying to break in. Especially on older homes, garage doors are often low-quality, and not as sturdy as the ones on newer homes.

    If you need garage door repair or maintenance, new security features for your garage door, or are ready for a new garage door, contact A1A Overhead Doors Company today. Family owned and operated, A1A Overhead Door serves the entire metro Jacksonville area. In fact, we even go up to fifty miles into the outer countries. We are licensed and insured to cover both the client’s property and ours, and we’re proud to work with our clientele and math or beat any competitor’s written estimate. For more information, you can call 904.579.1123 or contact us through our website.

  • How to Freshen Up a Stinky Garage

    The garage is home to your cars, workbench, sporting equipment, gardening supplies – and a number of unpleasant smells. If the stink makes it unbearable to spend more than a few minutes at a time in the garage, you may find it impossible to pursue hobbies like carpentry, gardening and car restoration. Freshen up your stinky garage so you don’t have to plug your nose every time you step out there.

    What Makes a Garage Stink?

    Before you attempt to deodorize the garage, you must identify which malodorous offenders are to blame. Here are some of the most common culprits:

    • Garbage cans and recycling bins
    • Cardboard and paper products
    • Fumes from cleaning products, motor oil, garden chemicals and paint cans
    • Oil spills
    • Chronic mold and mildew
    • Sink and floor drains
    • Pet bedding, litter boxes and kennels

    Clean and Deodorize the Garage

    Once you recognize what’s causing your stinky garage, it’s time to combat it. Here are some cleaning and deodorizing tips to try:

    Clean your garbage cans and recycling bins: Start by hosing them down. Then, mix up a gallon of hot water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Dip a sponge into the soapy solution and scrub the cans inside and out. Rinse them with water from a garden hose and let them dry completely.

    To help your garbage cans stay fresher longer, line the bottom of each one with several sheets of newspaper and a sprinkle of baking soda to absorb odors. Replace the newspaper and baking soda every week on trash day.

    Rethink storage: If you keep items in cardboard boxes on the garage floor, take a moment to examine them closely. You’re likely to find soggy, moldy spots that contribute to your stinky garage. Clearly, it’s time to throw them out.

    To prevent soaking up moisture and encouraging mold growth in the future, replace cardboard boxes with durable plastic containers. Label these carefully and stack them on shelves or overhead storage to free up space in your garage.

    Discard old products: Empty all shelves and garage cabinets of cans, containers, spray bottles and other items. Assess the age and condition of each one and throw out any that are past their prime. Be sure to dispose of old motor oil, paint, chemicals and other products at a designated hazardous waste disposal facility.

    Clean up oil spills: Old motor oil on the floor contributes to the stink in your garage. Instead of toiling over spills, try covering them with kitty litter. This product has the ability to soak up liquids and eliminate odors, allowing you to clean the floor with hardly any effort. After one to two days, sweep up the kitty litter to reveal the oil-free floor beneath.

    Clean the garage with bleach: If you detect a musty odor in your garage, chronic mold and mildew could be to blame. Combine one cup of chlorine bleach with a gallon of water in a large bucket. Use this solution to mop the floors and walls of the garage.

    For your safety, leave the garage door open while cleaning with bleach to ensure adequate ventilation. Rinse the floors and walls with clean water and allows it to air dry for at least 24 hours before closing the garage door.

    Address smelly floor drains: If the drain on your garage floor has a trap, the water inside may have dried up after months of non-use. This can become a source of sewer smells in the garage. Because floor drains are likely to remain unused for a long time, you can keep foul odors at bay by pouring 3/4 cup of mineral oil down the drain and into the trap. This evaporates slower than water and prevents sewer stench from seeping into the garage for longer.

    If the smell remains despite your efforts, this could mean the drain doesn’t have a trap. To block odors rising from the sewer without sealing the drain completely, lay down a piece of heavy plastic over the drain, and tape down three of the four sides. This way, you block most of the odor, but standing water can still enter the drain.

    Clean pet supplies regularly: Perhaps you put Fido’s kennel or Fluffy’s litter box in the garage to prevent them from stinking up your home. The only problem is now they’re stinking up the garage! The simple fix is to give these pet supplies the same care you would if they were within the living space. Clean litter boxes daily, launder pet bedding weekly and hose out kennels twice a month.

    Keep Future Smells at Bay

    Now that your garage smells relatively fresh and clean, you want to keep it that way. Here are some ideas for maintaining a fresh-smelling garage:

    • Soak up future odors by setting out containers of undiluted white vinegar, baking soda, clean kitty litter or activated charcoal. These odor absorbers help manage smells in the garage. Replace them once a month to ensure they remain effective.
    • Secure garbage can lids. If possible, leave your trash by the side of the house instead of inside the garage.
    • Install a ceiling- or wall-mounted exhaust fan or ventilation system. This helps regulate temperature and moisture levels to discourage mold and mildew. It also draws stale, fumy air outside to keep your garage smelling fresh.
    • Move hazardous chemicals and half-empty paint cans to an unattached shed, if possible. These products smell because they release volatile organic compounds into the air, which can be harmful to your health.
    • Check items on shelves and in cabinets regularly for problems that could cause bad odors, such as leaking bottles or spoiled food.

    Enjoy Your Fresh-Smelling Garage!

    Now that the offending odors are long gone, you may have new thoughts about how to make the most of your garage. Whether you want to start working on your car again, or you have alternative uses in mind for your garage, you need a quality garage door to secure the space.

    An insulated garage door helps with moisture and temperature regulation if you plan to heat or cool the area. Lightweight aluminum, sturdy steel, low-maintenance vinyl, and timeless wood are all possible garage door materials. Different styles – such as modern flat panel, traditional raised panel or timeless carriage doors – help you match your home’s aesthetic design.

    For garage door installation and repair in Jacksonville, please contact A1A Overhead Door Company at (904) 579-1123.

  • Home Security and Your Garage: Don’t Neglect Garage Door Security

    Home Security and Your Garage: Don’t Neglect Garage Door Security

    The next time you drive through your neighborhood, take a moment to slow down and look and see how many of your neighbors leave their garage doors open. It is fairly common for people to leave their garage doors open all day long while they are away at work or out running errands.

    Crime and home break-ins may not be thought to be a problem in your community. However, when home robberies do occur, chances are, the robbers cased your neighborhood to identify homes where the garage doors were left open. Those houses are normally the ones broken into.

    man with crowbar

    How People Can Break Into Your Garage

    Aside from simply walking into the home through the garage because the garage door was left open, other ways people can break into your home have to do with a lack of proper garage door security . A short time ago, videos circulated online showing how easy it is for thieves to slip a wire coat hanger through the top of the garage door and pull down on the door’s emergency release.

    Another way thieves can break into the home is when you leave your garage door remote control in plain view inside your vehicle. All a robber has to do is follow you around to find out where you live, and then, once they know the house is empty, break into your car and steal the garage door opener.

    garage door remote control

    Yet another way someone could break into your home is if your garage door is not well-maintained. If it is damaged, where part of the panels have large gaps in between, or there are cracks or openings, it can make it easier for a robber to get into the home.

    If there are other issues, like the automatic opener stopped working, so you leave the door unlocked when you pull it down and head off to work, the thief could simply walk up and pull on the door to see if it opens. If it does, then they break into the home.

    empty garage with new garage door

    Low-quality doors can also be an issue in older homes in Florida. These doors are easier to hack and get opened. There are now hurricane garage door installation building codes , so new doors are more secure and provide better protection from storms and to keep out burglars.

    Additionally, some home invaders gain access to the home through the windows in your garage door or garage. While the extra light is nice, it does provide an easy access point for robbers to get into the garage and, potentially, your home.

    How to Prevent Break-ins Through Your Garage

    Preventing break-ins through your garage and garage door begins by performing a risk assessment. Take the time to answer the following questions:

    • Do I have a bad habit of leaving the garage door open or forgetting to close it?
    • Do I leave my garage door opener in plain sight inside my vehicle?
    • Do I have an automatic garage door and the emergency release is not secured?
    • Are there windows in my garage door or garage?
    • Is my garage door in need of repair or replacement?
    • Is my garage door more than five or ten years old?

    If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you will want to make several improvements and changes in your habits. Otherwise, you could come home from work one day and find all of your electronics and valuables are gone. Improving the security of your garage and garage door should include doing the following:

    1. Always keep the garage door closed. It can be easy to drive off assuming your garage door is closing because you pressed the button. However, it if is windy or rainy out and something blew in front of the bottom door sensors, this might have stopped it. Make it a habit to back out of the garage and wait for the door to fully close before driving off. opening garage door with remote
    1. Add a garage door open detection device. There are different devices you can have installed that will send an alert to your smartphone through an app whenever the garage door is opened or was left open. Using the app, you can remotely close the door.
    2. Always keep your garage door opener out of sight. Get rid of that big bulky opener and upgrade to a smaller one you can keep on your key ring. Better yet, upgrade to smart technologies and use an app on your smartphone as your automatic door opener instead.
    3. Cover up windows to make it hard to see inside the garage . You don’t have to get rid of any windows you have in your garage—just make sure they are secure. You can use different reflective films or blinds to cover them.

    You may also want to add window security bars on the exterior for added protection. For glass windows in your garage door, you can have the panel removed and replaced with a solid one, or swap out clear glass for frosted glass.

    1. Have regular maintenance performed on your garage door. Annual maintenance from a qualified garage door technician can identify potential problems and security risks to keep your home more secure.
    2. Upgrade to a better-quality garage door. Select a thicker door and one that has hurricane protection features if you decide to have a new garage door installed. two men installing garage door
    1. Secure the automatic garage door emergency release mechanism. There is a simple and easy way to do this using a plastic zip tie. Pass the zip tie through the metal opening in the release mechanism and fasten it tightly. If you pull down gently on the emergency release, the door should not become disengaged.

    This will prevent thieves from using the coat hanger hack to break into your garage. A coat hanger is not strong enough to break the zip tie. In the event you need to release the door, if you pull down with sufficient force, it will snap the plastic zip tie.

    1. Always lock the door in between the garage and your home. Another bad habit many people have is to leave to door in between the garage and the home unlocked. Get into the habit of always locking it when you leave the home.
    2. Add a deadbolt to the door in between the garage and your home. If the door in between your garage and home does not have a deadbolt, have one installed. This will make the door more secure from break-ins.
    3. Install a security system with video cameras. You can install a home security system with video cameras outside the garage door and the other doors to your home. You should also consider having window sensors and glass-break sensors installed. Both of these sensors will set off the alarm if a window is opened or broken. security camera
    1. Install lighting around the garage and home that have motion sensors. Make sure the area around the garage and home is well-lit during the evening and nighttime hours. Doing so will make it more difficult for robbers to break into your garage and your home.
    2. Lock your garage door if you will be away from home for an extended period of time. It might seem like a pain to engage the locking mechanism on the door, but doing so makes it harder for someone to break into the home through the garage.

    By completing a security risk assessment for your garage door, garage, and home, you can take steps to make your home more secure while reducing the risks of a potential break-in.

    To schedule garage door repair and maintenance, new garage door installation , adding new security features to your garage door, or assistance in performing a security assessment on your garage door, please feel free to contact A1A Overhead Doors Company at (904) 821-8463 today! We provide quality garage door services in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas in Florida.

  • How to Hurricane-Proof Your Garage Door in the Offseason

    Even though the “official” hurricane season does not start until June 1 st this year, and runs through November 30 th , it does not mean there cannot be named storms outside of this period. According to the Weather Channel, there has been one named storm in March and two in April.

    In addition, around two percent of all named storms and hurricanes have occurred outside of the traditional June to November period from data provided by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. 1 For the 2018 hurricane season, predictions are still underway by many of the major agencies.

    hurricane tropical storm

    The only one to release their predictions so far was TSR (Tropical Storm Risk), a United-Kingdom-based consortium of insurance risk managers and climate researchers. According to a news article from the Palm Beach Daily News, TSR has predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2018, with fifteen named storms and seven hurricanes. 2 Out of those seven hurricanes, TSR predicts three will be intense hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Maria last year.

    Floridians are all too familiar with tropical and hurricane storm activity. If you remember back to 1992 when Andrew impacted the state and caused severe damages, especially in South Florida, the state updated building codes. Part of this update was requiring new garage doors or garage door repair replacements to have added tropical storm and hurricane prevention standards.

    These standards called for an increased structural integrity of the doors by reinforcing them in various areas so they can withstand higher wind speeds. Hurricane-proof garage doors have specific features that set them apart from other standard garage doors, including:

    • Individual door panels are thicker in various parts.
    • Garage door tracks are heavier and of a thicker gauge.
    • Doors feature either post or built-in door reinforcement.

    However, homes built prior to the new garage door requirements, or those that have not replaced their existing doors, still have older doors that may not be reinforced to stand up to the high winds common tropical storms and hurricanes.

    brick house with grey garage door

    Potential Damages from Unreinforced Garage Doors

    If your home has an older garage door that is not reinforced and which does not comply with the current building codes, you do need to be aware of the risks to your home. During a strong tropical storm or hurricane, the winds can cause an excess amount of pressure to build up in the garage.

    Eventually, this pressure builds up and is so powerful it can cause the entire garage door to blow off of the garage. In some homes the pressure has been so strong, as we saw with Irma this last year, that it blew off the roof over the garage and knocked down support walls. Aside from this potential damage, once the garage door has blown out, the rest of the home becomes vulnerable to water and wind damages.

    Are Reinforced Garage Doors Required to Get Homeowner’s Insurance?

    Whether your home requires a reinforced garage door or not does depends on your insurance provider. In the past, providers would still offer coverage on Florida homes with one catch: If you did not have a reinforced garage door, then your insurance rates were much higher.

    The increase in rates is often enough to justify the costs to invest in a new reinforced garage door. Plus, some insurance providers will offer a discount on coverage rates for homes with reinforced doors.

    In addition, after Irma tore through the state, some insurance providers are now requiring homes to have reinforced garage doors. If the homeowner decides not to upgrade, then their insurance can be canceled. If you have any questions about your coverage and requirements, we recommend contacting your insurance agent.

    worker fixing garage door

    How Do Reinforced Garage Doors Work?

    There are two general styles of reinforced garage doors. The first one uses built-in reinforcements that are part of the door. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the homeowner simply locks the garage door. The reinforcement requires no additional setup since it is already part of the door. The homeowner can continue to open and close the garage door, if necessary, simply by unlocking it.

    The other type of reinforced garage door uses post reinforcements you set up before the storm. The posts are placed in specific locations behind the main door and lock into place. Once installed, the door cannot be opened or closed. After the storm passes, the homeowner has to take down the post reinforcements before using the garage door.

    What Are the Required Minimum Wind Ratings on Reinforced Garage Doors?

    The minimum wind ratings on reinforced garage doors do vary. It is important to verify the building codes in your area, like contacting our garage door repair, replacement, and installation company . In most areas of Florida, the building code requires doors to have a minimum wind rating of 130 mph. In other places, the minimum wind rating can be 150 mph or more.

    Having a higher wind rating on your garage door can be beneficial. To give you an idea of wind speeds for tropical storms and hurricanes, the National Hurricane Center uses the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as follows: 3

    • Tropical Storms: Maximum wind speeds can reach up to 73 mph.
    • Category 1 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are at least 74 mph, with maximum wind speeds of 95 mph.
    • Category 2 Hurricanes: Wind speeds range from a minimum of 96 mph to a maximum of 110 mph.
    • Category 3 Hurricanes: Wind speeds will be between 111 mph and 129 mph.
    • Category 4 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are sustained at a minimum of 130 mph and a maximum of 156 mph.
    • Category 5 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are 157 mph or higher.

    trees in a hurricane

    To help give you an idea of how powerful these wind speeds are, let’s review some facts about Irma, provided by the Weather Channel: 4

    • Hurricane Irma had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and higher and maintained these wind speeds for a 37-hour period.
    • When Irma came ashore in the Florida Keys, it had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
    • Irma still had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph when it reached Marco Island.
    • In Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, wind gusts of up to 109 mph were recorded.
    • In Naples, wind gusts of up to 142 mph were recorded as the hurricane headed north.
    • In Orlando, wind gusts ranged between 70 to 80 mph for several hours as Irma continued to track north up the west coast of Florida.
    • In Jacksonville, winds frequently gusted between 80 and 90 mph as Irma’s outer bands moved over the city.

    As you can see, even though Irma greatly impacted southern and western Florida, the effects of the storm were felt across the entire state, even here in Jacksonville.

    Can Reinforced Garage Doors Get Damaged?

    There is always a possibility that reinforced garage doors could get damaged by a major storm. The door could get dents, dings, and other damages. If the storm is powerful enough, it could cause debris to be driven through the door.

    The thing to remember is that the primary purpose of reinforced garage doors is to mitigate and reduce the amount of potential damage to your home during a tropical storm or hurricane. As long as you have hurricane insurance coverage on your home, your insurance company will help cover any garage door repair expenses, as well as other homes repairs, minus your deductible.

    Garage doors installation Worker

    Why Upgrade to a Reinforced Garage Door in the Offseason?

    The biggest mistake homeowners can make is waiting until there is a storm heading toward Florida. Everyone will be taking steps to protect their homes, and the demand for storm shutters, reinforced garage doors, and other such materials are in high demand.

    As a result, shortages are quite common, and many homes end up going unprotected. As you can see, it is in your best interests to take steps now to protect your home against tropical storms and hurricanes. Not to mention, you could qualify for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance!

    With 2018 expected to be an above-average hurricane season, don’t you want to make sure your garage and home are protected? You never know where the next major storm to impact Florida will make landfall, as we all saw with Irma.

    To learn more about hurricane garage door reinforcement and upgrading the garage door on your home, please feel free to contact A1A Overhead Doors Company at (904) 821-8463 today! We serve Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.

    Sources

    1. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-03-06-march-1908-atlantic-hurricane
    2. www.palmbeachdailynews.com/weather/early-forecast-above-average-hurricane-season-2018/BMA9RIMiEzii8XgGJSYvtO/
    3. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php
    4. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-tropical-storm-irma-recap-2017

  • Common Garage Door Repairs and When to Call In the Professionals

    The garage door is a complex piece of hardware some of us use every day. We open it in the morning to back our car out and close it as we head off to work. Then we return home in the evening and open and close it again. If we have a family, our spouse will also use the garage door to get their vehicle out to go to work, run errands, or take the kids to school.

    Not to mention, your kids will open and close the door to get their bikes and toys out. Plus, you will be opening and closing the door on the weekends when you do yard work or other things around the home. With so much use, it is a wonder garage doors last as long as they do.

    house with new garage doors

    Yet periodically, they do need some general maintenance and care to keep them working correctly. If you ignore performing maintenance, then your garage door could break. If that happens, then you need to decide if the garage door repairs are something you can handle or if you need to call in a professional technician for help.

    Before we get into the various repairs, let’s first look at garage door maintenance tips.

    • Inspect the Door: You want to look for dents, dings, cracks, and other areas where the door is not sealing. Check at the bottom to make sure you cannot see light from the outside, as well as along the sides.
    • Inspect the Door Hardware: Look at the hinges, springs, lift arm, and other hardware used to open and close the door for any signs of rusting or damaged parts and components.
    • Inspect Door Tracks: The door tracks should not be bent or misaligned. The wheels on the door hardware should roll when you open and close the door.
    • Check Door Supports: Check to make sure no anchor screws have come out of the overhead door supports or tracks.
    • Replace Automatic Opener Batteries: Once a year, replace the batteries in your remote garage door openers.
    • Lubricate door hardware with an appropriate product: Your garage door technician can let you know what product to use to keep hardware lubricated and working correctly.
    • Wash the door: You can use a gentle detergent, like a car wash soap and a soft cloth to wash the door. DO NOT use a power washer, as this can take paint off the door. A garden hose with an attached nozzle is all the pressure you need to rinse the door off.

    Maintenance should be performed at least twice a year, as well as after any major storms. If you discover any problems, you need to get these fixed as soon as possible.

    brown garage door

    Repairs: DIY vs. Professional

    Now that we’ve covered what maintenance you should be doing, let’s look at when things go wrong.

    • Broken Springs: Springs are under constant pressure. When one breaks, you will know, it as it makes a huge banging sound. Garage door springs should be replaced by a professional to ensure they are installed correctly. Not to mention, this repair is one that requires taking the right safety precautions.
    • Broken Hardware: If it is just a single hinge, then you may be able to do the repair yourself. On the other hand, if you have to replace multiple hinges or other hardware, you will want to get help from a professional.

    man fixing broken garage

    • Broken/Cracked Door Panels: Even though the door panels look like they are not heavy, they do weigh a lot. This type of repair requires at least two people that know how to safely replace the panels. It is not an easy DIY repair.
    • Broken Wheels: If the wheels are locked and no longer turn, they need to be replaced. You have to be careful when replacing wheels to not bend the door track or cause other damages. It is for these reasons you should rely on an expert.
    • Missing or Damage Weather Stripping: Replacing weather stripping is a DIY repair you can do on your own. It is not hard to install new stripping on the sides or under the door. However, for stripping in between door panels, you should call your local garage repair technician for help.
    • Dents and Dings: You may be able to use a plunger to get out some dents and dings on your own. If they are deeper, then it may be time to replace the damaged panels or upgrade to a new door.
    • Broken Automatic Opener: Automatic openers have many different moving parts and components, as well as electrical wiring. Due to electrical hazards, it is best to have a garage door technician do the work.

    As with other complex hardware, it is essential to know when things are just beyond your skills. There can be certain risks and hazards of attempting certain garage door repairs on your own that could lead to additional door damages and personal injuries. In addition, it may be more beneficial and cost-effective to have a new door installed rather than repair your existing one.

    fixing broken garage door track

    Benefits of Getting a New Garage Door Installed

    If your garage door and the opener are getting to the point where repairs are becoming a common occurrence, it is time for a new door. Even if your door is still working fine, but is more than five years old, you could gain some added benefits by upgrading to a new overhead garage door .

    • Better Insulation: You can improve the energy efficiency of your home and garage with an insulated garage door. The insulation helps keep the garage cooler in summer and warmer in winter, which also can help lower your energy bills.
    • Stronger Doors: Here in Florida, you need a strong door to stand up to tropical storms and other severe weather. Modern doors are much stronger today and meet or exceed current hurricane building codes.
    • Appearance: Getting a new door is an easy way to change the exterior appearance of your home. If the door is faded, dented, dinged, or simply looks bad, then get a new one. Not only will your home be more appealing, the new door could increase the value of your home.

    house with big brown garage doors

    • Safety/Security: New doors and garage door openers have improved safety and security features—for instance, reverse door sensors to stop the door from closing when something or someone is under it. There are also security keypads you can get installed to open the door from outside when you do not have the remote control opener, as well as “pin-based” and smartphone app openers.
    • Better Insurance Rates: Some insurance companies offer a discount on your house insurance for installing a new garage door with improved insulation and added safety and security features.
    • Quieter Openers: Modern door openers are much quieter when combined with the right garage door hardware components.
    • Battery Backup Features: In the event of a power outage, you no longer have to try to figure out how to disengage the automatic control arm from the door with a battery backup upgrade. You will be still able to open and close the door for a short period of time.

    Several of these benefits could result in the new door paying for itself over a period of time, such as reduced energy bills or lower insurance premiums.

    For all types of garage door repairs , or to find out your options for upgrading to a new garage door, please feel free to contact A1A Overhead Door Company at (904) 821-8463 today! We service the entire Jacksonville metro area as well as up to 50 miles into the outer counties.

  • Common Broken Garage Door Problems and Repairs

    The garage door on your home is not something you might think much about so long as it is working. The only time you truly notice the door and all its parts and components is when something goes wrong. This is when you call a garage door repair technician to have them come fix your door .

    It is not uncommon for many people to be unfamiliar with garage door terminology. Before we discuss some of the more common garage door problems you can experience, let’s do a review of garage door basics. This will help you have a better understanding of what can go wrong.

    grey garage door

    Garage Door Basics

    There are several working parts and components which make up the entire garage door system. These can be broken down into three specific categories: the door itself, hardware components, and weather-stripping.

    Doors

    There is some general information you need to know in regards to the door itself, which can affect how it functions.

    • Garage doors can open either vertically (up and down) or horizontally (left and right).
    • Garage doors can be insulated or uninsulated.
    • Insulated doors are ideal for the warmer Florida climates, as well as in colder northern climates.
    • Insulated doors have an R-value, which tells you how effective they are at insulating your garage.
    • Doors with higher R-values have more insulation to keep out the hot and cold.
    • Certain types of doors are better at standing up to tropical storms and hurricanes.
    • Garage doors can be made from aluminum, vinyl, wood, steel, fiberglass, and PVC materials.
    • Some styles of doors will feature windows as part of their design.
    • The most common types of door used on homes in Florida are vertically opening, sectional doors.

    Hardware Components

    When it comes to the garage door’s hardware, this is where things can start to become a bit confusing for most people. If you look on the backside of the door, you will see a variety of components. These work together in perfect harmony to open and close the door when everything is working correctly.

    white garage door

    • Lifting Cables: Your door could have lifting cables, which are attached to the door’s springs and aid in opening and closing it.
    • Springs: Springs are an essential part of the counterweight system used in garage doors. This system is what makes it possible to open and close the door with one hand. Springs are typically one huge coil at the top of the door. Some designs also have secondary springs located over the door tracks. Secondary springs are more common on heavier styles of doors.
    • Hinges: The hinges are located in between each sectional piece of the door. They help to keep the door in place and allow each section to bend as the door is opened or closed. You can tell the quality of the door by looking at the hinges. Better-quality doors use double hinges, which better support the weight of each door section.
    • Door Rollers: On the side of garage doors are small rollers or wheels. As the door is opened and closed, the wheels should turn freely inside the door tracks. If you want a quieter opening door, consider upgrading from galvanized steel to nylon door rollers.

    men installing garage door

    • Door Tracks: The tracks are those metal pieces attached to the sides of the doors to allow it to open and close easily. In most homes, the tracks are suspended and secured to the garage’s ceiling.
    • Garage Door Opener: The opener is a motorized device attached to the garage door to automate opening and closing. The opener has its own specific parts and components, including a lifting arm, manual disconnect, and chains.

    Many of the door’s components will be made from galvanized steel since it resists corrosion better than regular steel. The key thing you need to remember with steel is its gauge rating. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel will be. For example, 12-gauge steel is thicker than 16-gauge steel. If you want superior quality, you will want to use components with a lower gauge rating.

    Weather-Stripping

    An important feature your door should have is weather-stripping. The stripping is what keeps rain and water from getting into the garage. It also blocks out wind when it is sealed correctly. On the bottom of the door, there should be some sort of rubberized weather-stripping to stop water from running under the door and into the garage.

    You should also notice weather-stripping around the exterior of the garage door’s framing. Depending on the quality of the door and who installed it originally, there could be weather-stripping on the exterior and interior sides of the door. In addition, higher-quality sectional garage doors normally include weather-stripping in between each section.

    garage door track

    Common Garage Door Repairs

    Now that you have a better understanding of garage door basics, let’s talk about some of the more common problems and repairs.

    1. Broken Springs: The springs on your garage door are designed to open and close the door a set number of times. Eventually, they will break, and you will know it if you are at home. When a garage door spring breaks, it makes a loud noise, almost like a firework going off in your garage.

    At this point, attempting to open or close the door can be very dangerous. There can still be tension left in the spring, and it could knock the door off its tracks, as well as cause personal injuries if it snaps off.

    If the spring breaks on your garage door, do not try to open it. Instead, call and schedule garage door repair service immediately . You should also stay out of your garage until after the door has been fixed.

    1. Broken Cables: Cables can break on their own from normal wear and tear or from the stresses placed on them when springs break. If a cable is broken, one side of the door may appear to be “sagging” compared to the other. That side of the door may also seem heavier.

    You may also notice the door is slightly angled and lower on one side as it opens. If all the cables are broken, the door may not stay in place when it is opened. Instead, it will fall down as soon as you lift it up, which can be a serious safety risk.

    1. Sticking Rollers: The rollers on the sides of the door should spin and turn. If they are stuck and sliding, this can cause the door to come off its tracks. Stuck rollers can also make opening and closing the door noisier.

    If the door has come off its tracks in either the open or closed position, leave it in place. Attempting to close or open the door could result in the cables and springs also breaking. If the door is just being noisy, you need to have the rollers replaced and the tracks cleaned. Often, stuck rollers are due to insufficient lubrication and excess humidity.

    automatic garage door open

    1. Door Closes and Reopens: This type of problem occurs when the automatic garage door opener needs to be adjusted. Openers have door limit settings which control the open and close functions. Periodically, from normal usage, these can require slight adjustments and resynching.

    Essentially, the limit settings let the door know how far it should move to be fully closed or opened. If these are off, when it touches the ground the sensors on the opener translate this as hitting an object, not the ground, so the door reopens.

    Another cause for this type of problem is if something is in front of the door sensors. Toward the bottom of the door, about four to six inches off the ground will be sensors on each side of the door or on the interior wall of the garage. These sensors detect if something is in the way and will cause the door to reopen.

    1. The Opener Runs but the Door Doesn’t Move: Check to make sure the automatic door disconnect cord has not been pulled by attempting to open and close the door manually. If you can, then you will need to reattach the door to the automatic opener’s lift arm. Another common cause of this problem is if you have locked your garage door. Check to make sure the door is not locked.

    worker fixing stuck garage door

    1. Door Opens But Won’t Close: This problem is often related to the sensors. If the lenses get dirty, or there is something directly in front of them, they will prevent the door from closing. Clean the lenses and verify nothing is in the way of the sensors. If the door still won’t close, then it is time to call a garage door repair technician.
    2. The Door Sticks or Stops: A sticking door can be quite common from changes in humidity levels to a lack of proper lubrication on moving parts and components. It could also be caused if the door is no longer level and needs to be realigned.
    3. The Remote Opener Doesn’t Work: If the garage door opener remote is not working, see if you can open the door using the switch inside the garage. If the door opens, then it could indicate the batteries in the remote need to be replaced. After replacing the batteries, if the remote still doesn’t work, it may need to be resynched with the opener or replaced.

    If the door doesn’t open and you have power, verify the opener is plugged in and the breaker has not blown. Once verifying these things, if the door isn’t working, it could mean an electrical problem or that the opener needs to be replaced.

    As you can see, there can be all sorts of reasons for a broken garage door . If your garage door is not working correctly, please feel free to contact the A1A Overhead Door Company at (904) 821-8463 today! Our technicians are skilled at new garage door installations, garage door repairs, spring replacement, installing and repairing garage door openers, and more.