So go ahead, do what’s right for you and your car: make your garage user-friendly and a pleasure to use. Install an Automatic Garage Door and transform your life. No more will you have to put up with a bad conscience as you lie in bed thinking about the beating your car is getting outside, no more will you have to worry about being attacked as you fumble with your garage keys in front of the blinding lights of your car. All this and the undoubted envy that your neighbors will experience as they see you indulge in what to them no doubt will appear an exorbitant luxury – an Automatic Garage Door.
History of Garage Doors
Part of effectively fixing and maintaining and observing safety with regard to Automatic garage doors is knowing how they developed. The history of the garage door is interesting in its own right and can help you get the most out of your own garage door.
Before cars, people used horses, often with carriages attached, as a means of personal transportation. The forerunners of the garages of today were the carriage houses of the past. These were buildings that were often separate from the house in which someone resided and which horses were housed along with the carriages they pulled. These were often fairly large buildings. They usually opened with swinging barn door type entrances.
The Advent of Automobiles
Automobiles came into mass production, spearheaded by Henry Ford, around 1914. As more and more people began to buy and own these amazingly handy new machines, there began to be a need to house them in places that were protected from weather, thieves, and other hazards. The logic step was simply to use the carriages houses people already had. However this was a problem – carriages houses were dirty and smelled of horse manure. Also, horses could kick or scratch and automobile as they were heading out of the barn. Truly another solution was needed.
Early garages tended to be large structures that could house several cars at once. These were either privately owned by the automobile owner or run by businesses that stored many people’s automobiles for a fee, similar to our modern-day parking garages. Many people availed themselves of these types of garages, but as the number of cars grew, these large garages were not sufficient to house all of them, and people needed a more individualized, close-to-home solution.
Thus garages began to be built as adjuncts to many houses. They could be made small or large depending on the needs and financial resources of the owners. Most were like large sheds, while a few were more elaborate.
Early Garage Doors
Garage doors, in the beginning, were just like shed or barn doors. Just like carriage houses (themselves descendants of barns) they had wooden swinging double doors that usually opened outward. When they were closed they were latched or locked with padlocked type locks.
There were a number of problems with these doors. They were hard to open in heavy snow, they tended to wear out quickly and come off their hinges, and they were just a plain a hassle to deal with in many ways.
A number of advances in door mechanics, taking place in the 1910s to 1920s paved the way for the basic design of the garage door as we know it today. First of all, Automatic sliding doors, which slid in tracks, were invented. Early attempts to improve on the swinging doors of garages were often designs in which garage doors slid sideways along tracks. However, this design was not optimal for smaller garages because there had to be enough wall space to the right and the left of the door opening for the doors to slide along and out of the way.
Another helpful development was the sectional folding door. The door was divided into hinged sections so that it could fold around corners. These doors could thus be shuttled out of the way around the side of the garage, rather than have to extend out straight. To some degree, this took care of the problem with sliding doors on small garages.
Things really began to get cooking with the ingenuity of a man named C.G. Johnson. He invented in 1921 doors that could fold up flush with the ceiling of a garage rather than the sides, similar to our garage doors today. In 1926 Johnson also invented electric garage door openers so that these doors could open automatically. It may seem hard to believe, but automatic overhead garage doors were around in the same basic form as they are today by the mid to late 1920s.
The automatic Garage door of this type remained in use and mostly saw only stylistic changes until the 1970s when a major change on the level of materials took place. Garage doors began to be made out of galvanized steel. These were often insulated by putting polystyrene foam in between two pieces of galvanized steel.
Handheld remote control devices had already been invented and employed with Automatic garage door as early as the 1940s. As these came into wider use they became more of a standard. However, their expansion came another problem: safety. It was easy for children to get hold of these devices and play with garage doors, opening and closing them or inventing games concerning running under garage doors, and so forth. There began to be a statistically alarming number of child injuries and deaths as a result of this. To remedy this, legislation was passed in the early 90s requiring all garage doors to be equipped with both optical sensors and pressure-sensitive sensors that made sure doors reversed when they met with an obstacle. Although there was a fine-tuning period with the technology, today garage doors generally have very effective safety systems. Garage doors are thus quite safe and accidents are rare these days.
The history of the garage door has thus been more of a fine-tuning and elaboration process since the late 20s. It has been a long strange trip – the quest for space economization, for convenience, and for safety all combined to power the entire invention, design, and marketing process. Today garage doors are convenient and safe entryways, but it took a fair amount of tinkering to arrive at this. So take a look at your garage door and see it in a new light now – and try to appreciate all that has gone into its development.
Garage Door Prevent Accidents
Automatic garage door are a handy convenience, but it is important to use them in a safe manner. The following are some tips for insuring garage door safety for you and your family. In a sense, this is a garage door repair issue, because often garage door accidents result in damage to the door as well as to cars and people. So you want to prevent accidents any way you can.
Make Sure of Safety Features and Adjustments
One of the most important safety controls on a garage door is its ability to reverse and come back up when it hits something that is blocking its path. First of all, you need to make sure that the garage door does this. You can test this very simply (as noted in another post on this site) by putting some kind of object such as a 2X4 or concrete block in the way of the garage door, closing it, and seeing if it reverses and reopens when it hits the obstruction.
If it does not, you have several options. One is to check the force and travel adjustments on the garage door. These are generally screwed or knob type adjustments. You can usually adjust both the total length that the door travels and the force with which the door ascends and descends. Try adjusting these controls and retesting whether or not the door reverses, as well as how quickly and responsively it does so. This is obviously very important, as you wouldn’t yourself, your children, or anyone else to be pinned down by the door as it closes.
If you can’t get the door to reverse quickly and responsively when it hits an obstruction, your other option is to call a service professional. You may also wish to do this if you feel that you’re not particularly handy and simply want to have someone else make sure the garage door functions safely.
Discuss Garage Safety with Children
Garage door safety is important for children to understand. Whatever their age, they need to know that the garage door can close by itself and that playing around with the garage keypad remote is a bad idea. Opening and closing the door repeatedly and trying to run under it is an obvious sort of game. But these and similar games can be dangerous and should be discouraged by parents.
Depending on the particular situation you may want to hide the remote, lock the garage entry door, or any number of things to keep children from playing in the garage. If you do allow them to play in this area, make sure at least that they understand safe garage and garage door related behavior – basically to only open the garage door when they need to go in and out and not to play reckless sorts of games with the automatic garage door.
Make Sure People Know When it’s Locked
Sometimes with manually locking garage doors, damage occurs when somebody tries to pull it open by hand not realizing it is locked. Often this bends the lock or damages the handle. So if you have one of these types of doors, make sure people understand well when it is locked and when it isn’t. This simple step will save you some annoying repair or replacement work.
People ramming into garage doors on the way in and out is a major cause of garage door accidents. In a distracted state, you can forget that the garage door is closed or is in the process of opening. If you’re impatient and preoccupied, you might grab a remote with dead batteries and run right into a closed-door or in a hurry to exit or enter hit the garage door when it is in the process of opening. These mistakes can be prevented by simply being more alert and looking around carefully before entering or exiting the garage.
Check and Maintain Garage Door
You want to periodically give the garage door a once over to make sure that it is in good working order. Check the frame of the door for loose or bent parts. A good routine thing to check for is loose bolts and screws. If you find any loose ones tighten them. This is a good basic way to make sure of the structural integrity of the door itself and all its parts. Inspect the garage door opener box as well periodically to get a sense of its condition. Pay attention to electrical burning smells, stripped gears, and the like. If anything looks overly worn you can consider either replacing them yourself or calling a technician. Springs and rollers should also be checked periodically for rust and integrity and replaced if necessary.
These simple steps will help to prevent garage door accidents. The garage is not an area to take for granted as regards safety. You need to make sure that this area is as safe as other parts of your house.
Things to Consider While Shopping for Garage Doors
The automatic garage door is a significant investment in a property. Due care must be taken in choosing the right kind of garage door that can bestow a lasting convenience, security, style, and weather protection to properties. There are a few important things property owners must take into account while shopping for garage doors so that the product they choose serves it’s intended purposefully besides giving the best value for the buy.
Garage doors can differ in myriad ways. Some of these features include size, style, extra fittings, and insulation. During these days, steel doors have grown in popularity owing to their affordable pricing. Wood and plastic doors are comparatively more expensive than steel ones. Talking of safety features, we can make a mention of the shaped edges featured by the joints of some models. This feature automatically pushes the fingers if they happen to get in between the sections. This is a highly useful safety feature where there are kids. While this is predominantly seen in plastic and steel doors, wooden doors do not have this feature. The shiplap connections between wooden doors can pinch down fingers or objects.
In 1993, the government announced a set of new standards for automatic garage door openers. These new standards require the garage doors to be fitted with sensors near the bottom letting the closing door retract its movement if any object is sensed under the way. This is facilitated by an electronic eye system.
While selecting automatic garage doors, you also need to pay attention to the spring and track systems. Garage doors typically feature two kinds of springs namely extension springs and torsion springs. You can install extension springs yourself. Most kinds of extension springs come in pairs. They stretch all along either side of the door parallel to the ceiling. You need to have a 10 in. of the headroom for installing them. For doors with low clearances, you can even get special hardware. With regard to tracks, there are two options including -dipped galvanized or powder-coated steel. The former type can be easily serviced. The latter is a bit more costly but features a finished appearance in addition to cutting down on garage door noise. With regard to wheels, nylon ones are both quieter and durable at the same time. Most property owners prefer to engage professionals to install their garage door which needs to be welcomed. They have the right kind of sophisticated tools to handle them and therefore, they can do a better job.
There is a long line of brands marketing their automatic garage door models. With regard to material, style, color, and insulation features, customers have a wide range of options in front of them. Low-cost is not the only criterion to consider while shopping for garage doors. The underline is that you should be able to enjoy a care-free experience after installing a garage door and for this, you need to make a thoroughly informed decision. Look for warranty and after-sale service so that you shop from a dependable and reliable company. Garage doors have several important functions to perform and therefore you need to choose the right one for your property.
A consistent trend in user perceptions for garage doors
User perceptions about Garage door vary. While the countryside folks, large estate owners and residents living in rich suburbs find them an absolute necessity, it is not the same case with working people living in apartments in large cities for whom garage doors may either come very low on the priority list or may not appear in the list at all.
Owners of large estates have multiple entrances and exit points and therefore to manage the inflow and outflow of vehicles and humans into and from the estate, garage doors are required. As the estates are large and the owners are well off and rich folks, garage doors need to be of high quality and style so that they are able to keep up with the image and reputation of the estate owners. Manufacturers, therefore, make sure that they understand this user perception and present only those types of garage doors to the estate owners that are of high quality and workmanship and fit with this user segment.
Manufacturers of garage doors are mostly in agreement with this type of market segmentation. The same goes for dealers of ready-to-use garage doors. Having worked in the garage door industry for decades both manufacturers and dealers are extremely knowledgeable about the dynamics of the industry and the market forces that influence the demand and supply of garage doors. The extent of their knowledge can be gauged from the fact that just by looking at the photograph of a garage door they can quickly rattle out all the details of the garage doors mainly:
- Whether the garage door is wooden or made out of metal.
- If the garage door is made of wood, then whether it is Oak, Redwood, Pine, Fir or Birch
- If the garage door is in metal, whether it is Steel, Aluminum, galvanized Iron or any other metal
- What type of coating or engraving is done on the garage door?
- In which year was the garage door manufactured?
- Who is the likely manufacturer of the garage door?
- What is the approximate price of the garage door?
The durability of garage doors is another perception that runs large with users. Irrespective of the fact whether garage doors are made of wood or metal, one fact that is clear is that they have to be durable. As the life of a garage door is more than 30-40 years, manufacturers need to ensure that the garage doors are heavy and strong. While this might not be an important criterion for apartment owners, it is certainly one of the topmost criteria for estate owners.
Branded garage doors are another user perception that influences market demand. For apartment owners, this becomes important as they need to ensure that what they have in their house is better than their neighbor’s. The more popular and well known a brand is, the higher are the chances of its usage and demand. That is why dealers of garage doors tend to stock more and more varieties of branded garage doors.
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