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Thread: Garage Door Tip

  1. #1
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    Default Garage Door Tip

    The old guys know, but any of you new guys in the HI biz should always check the garage doors well prior to hitting those garage door switches. They forget this one in the HI schools.

    Some are what I call "booby-trapped". You hit the switch, the door opener activates and then the door and the opener are damaged.

    Save yourself the headache and look prior to opening.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Rick,

    I was always of the other thought, I hit the button and if something ... ANYTHING ... caused the door, track, opener, etc., to be damaged, then it "failed under testing" and *it was not my fault* - it is easy to defend against, although I never even had to, as *the seller/occupant should not have put that there without first deactivating the button*.

    Plain and simple - Forest Gump's Mother said it well "Stupid is as stupid does." and I've never been asked to pay for someone else's stupidity.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Jerry,

    I agree with you a 100% about the liability issue. Its just the time we have to spend on trying to justify its not our fault. I'd rather save the time if I could.

    rick


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    All the foreclosures either have had the closer stolen, unplugged and or a lock put on the door as in slide lock. Yes, I have been guilty of hitting that button with the door locked. Luckily I did not just walk away. I was able to hit it again to stop it or it reversed by itself.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Its just the time we have to spend on trying to justify its not our fault.

    Rick,

    "If that seller had not placed that pliers there, there would not be any damage."

    What's that take, about 5 seconds?

    Wimp.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Now thats funny stuff.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    I always test the door in the manual mode first, just to avoid this type of accident. I did one house that was about 30 years old and I remember thinking how nice the garage doors looked (they were newly installed). I hit the button on one of them to raise it and immediately I heard a god awful noise and noticed bending sheet metal. I ran over and pulled the plug out of the ceiling. Fortunately they didnt try to get me to pay for it as the owner admitted it was his fault. I learned a valuable lesson that day and as such never hit the button until I am positive the door isnt locked.


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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    I always test the door in the manual mode first, just to avoid this type of accident. I did one house that was about 30 years old and I remember thinking how nice the garage doors looked (they were newly installed). I hit the button on one of them to raise it and immediately I heard a god awful noise and noticed bending sheet metal. I ran over and pulled the plug out of the ceiling. Fortunately they didnt try to get me to pay for it as the owner admitted it was his fault. I learned a valuable lesson that day and as such never hit the button until I am positive the door isnt locked.

    There you go. Moral of my story.


  9. #9
    Brent Simmerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    From one of the new guys, thanks for the lesson Mr. Hurst


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    I always test the door in the manual mode first, just to avoid this type of accident. I did one house that was about 30 years old and I remember thinking how nice the garage doors looked (they were newly installed). I hit the button on one of them to raise it and immediately I heard a god awful noise and noticed bending sheet metal. I ran over and pulled the plug out of the ceiling. Fortunately they didnt try to get me to pay for it as the owner admitted it was his fault. I learned a valuable lesson that day and as such never hit the button until I am positive the door isnt locked.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    There you go. Moral of my story.
    I tested a garage door with the button once and the door opened and fell off the tracks ... owner started to blame me and it was at that precise moment in time when I came up with my now well used by many "Failed under testing", followed by "You need to call a garage door person as it was either installed improperly or maintained improperly."

    If there is a button, * I AM NOT * going to raise it manually first, I have had too many fall off their tracks (that one above just happened to be the first one). *I AM GOING TO PRESS THE OPERATOR'S BUTTON* and test it, and if it works, great, and if it fails, bends, falls, etc., so be it "Failed under testing."

    THAT is the moral of my story.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    For the newer inspectors and some of the more experianced inspectors as well:

    The home home inspector has a standard of care that they should be aware of when performing any inspection (Standard of Care is what the majority would do or is the norm in the profession). Such a standard of care would be to check the door for obstructions and defects before the door is opened. Just pushing the opener button without checking is not "best practice" or should it be.

    Claiming that a door failed under testing when damage could have been avoided by the inspector looking for objects, locks missing rollers, etc., is not the best way to operate a business.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Have to agree with Jerry. If the door fails, as in falls off the track,( which, incidentally happened to me once ), I would much rather not be the one standing under it.
    Just go with the " failed under test" most of us use.


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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    I've had a number of discussions with lawyers about the "failed under testing" defense, and the consensus of opinion is that at least under Illinois law if you push the button, you are the immediate cause of the failure and liable for the damage - this may not appear fair, or reasonable, but that's just how it is.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Here in Illinois as the state SOP requires that:

    "When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the interior is inspected, the home inspector shall inspect ... garage doors and garage door operators".

    So if I fail to discover and report significant defects, I'm pretty much on the hook for repair or replacement unless I have a plausible explanation for the failure.

    My approach is to start with a careful visual examination of the door and its opening mechanism, if I find any significant defect I document it with a photograph, disclaim the door, and recommend appropriate service. Significant defects to me in this case include doors with any evidence of damage or feature of construction or installation that leads me to suspect that they may be fragile and subject damage if operated with a power opener.

    I will then carefully attempt to operate the door manually, lifting it only an inch or two - IMO this is not very likely to dislodge a door from its track, but will discover a locked, jammed, or badly unbalanced door. Again, if I find anything that makes me uneasy, I documented it best I can and recommend appropriate service.

    At this point if there's nothing underneath the door I'll operate it using the wall-mounted control for a full cycle - I've got my finger on the button the whole time, and I'm watching and listening for evidence of anything unusual.

    Deciding whether to operate the door if there's a vehicle or other possessions of significant value underneath it is a tougher call - all I can say is that its subjective depending on the general condition of the door and mechanism, and that I usually end up operating the door.

    At that point - standing outside the door - I'll test the photocell and auto-reverse functions (and I'm not getting into that controversy).

    That's just the way I do it - YMMV - it's designed to reduce the risk of injury to anyone at the inspection to an absolute minimum, and to achieve a reasonable balance between the possibility my breaking something and an inspection that's useful to the client and compliant with state SOP - I figure I can afford to pay for a door, and my GL will cover the Lexus, and so far neither of us had to pony up for the cost of a mistake.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    For the newer inspectors and some of the more experianced inspectors as well:

    The home home inspector has a standard of care that they should be aware of when performing any inspection (Standard of Care is what the majority would do or is the norm in the profession). Such a standard of care would be to check the door for obstructions and defects before the door is opened. Just pushing the opener button without checking is not "best practice" or should it be.

    Claiming that a door failed under testing when damage could have been avoided by the inspector looking for objects, locks missing rollers, etc., is not the best way to operate a business.
    This standard of care also applies when testing ovens and dishwashers. Do you just turn these items on without looking inside for items that shouldn't be there?


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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    BUT! what about when the door is locked with the bolt lock which is standard equipment with the garage door. I've done it. The track turns into a pretzel. My fault. I did not look to see that the bolt locks were disengaged. Fortunately it fell back into place and no damage done, but I always look at the bolts before operating the switch. Well almost always


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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by David O'Keefe View Post
    This standard of care also applies when testing ovens and dishwashers. Do you just turn these items on without looking inside for items that shouldn't be there?
    After melting about 200+ plus dollars worth of Tupperware in a ladies oven once, Yes I always look before turning on the oven.


  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    After melting about 200+ plus dollars worth of Tupperware in a ladies oven once, Yes I always look before turning on the oven.

    Yep

    Turned the microwave on and there was one of those mini burgers in the micro wrapped in paper towels. You want to talk about a disgusting stench with the burger being nuked to destroyed completely and the paper towel burning ?

    Yes I always look in ovens, micro waves, dishwashers and anything else I may have to operate.

    I turned a shower on once just reaching in around the curtain and I did not look inside first. After checking the rest of the bathroom I whipped open the curtain and all the dirt was washed out of a few potted plants they had sitting there and the plants were smothered and dead with the 130 degree water. Yep, I look in all tubs and showers first as well.

    I am sure we have all done the unmentionables at one time or another.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    For the newer inspectors and some of the more experianced inspectors as well:

    The home home inspector has a standard of care that they should be aware of when performing any inspection (Standard of Care is what the majority would do or is the norm in the profession). Such a standard of care would be to check the door for obstructions and defects before the door is opened. Just pushing the opener button without checking is not "best practice" or should it be.

    Claiming that a door failed under testing when damage could have been avoided by the inspector looking for objects, locks missing rollers, etc., is not the best way to operate a business.

    Scott (and some of the others who posted after)

    You have completely missed the most logical and obvious concept:

    No one said not to CHECK the doors for obstruction, I said NOT to MANUALLY OPEN the door.

    There is nothing wrong with either standing at the operator button and looking for obstructions, or, if you feel you eyesight and comprehension is not that good, then walk over to the doors, then DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR MANUALLY - PRESS THE OPERATOR BUTTON, that is, after all, one thing which is being tested, the garage door operator, and that CANNOT BE TESTED BY MANUALLY OPERATING THE DOOR.

    I have seen garage doors locked from where I was standing by the button, that is a no brainer.

    However, when you see there are not obstructions, PRESS THE OPERATOR BUTTON, that is also a no brainer ... how else are you going to test the automatic garage door operator if you do not do that?? Please advise me so I can learn your technique or magic, whichever it is.

    Now that you have shown that the AUTOMATIC OPERATOR works or does not work, and that the door DOES NOT FALL DOWN ON YOU, you can go over and disconnect the emergency release lever and raise the door to its balance point ... but if the operator IS NOT WORKING PROPERLY, that becomes part of the service which is needed, and testing it at this time only means you will need retest it after the door is serviced as it might be changed during service.

    You guys need to open that box up you are standing in and peek out through the top once in a while, there is another whole world out there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Checklist ymmv

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Scott (and some of the others who posted after)

    No one said not to CHECK the doors for obstruction, I said NOT to MANUALLY OPEN the door.

    There is nothing wrong with either standing at the operator button and looking for obstructions, or, if you feel you eyesight and comprehension is not that good, then walk over to the doors, then DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR MANUALLY - PRESS THE OPERATOR BUTTON, that is, after all, one thing which is being tested, the garage door operator, and that CANNOT BE TESTED BY MANUALLY OPERATING THE DOOR.

    I have seen garage doors locked from where I was standing by the button, that is a no brainer.

    However, when you see there are not obstructions, PRESS THE OPERATOR BUTTON, that is also a no brainer ... how else are you going to test the automatic garage door operator if you do not do that?? Please advise me so I can learn your technique or magic, whichever it is.

    Now that you have shown that the AUTOMATIC OPERATOR works or does not work, and that the door DOES NOT FALL DOWN ON YOU, you can go over and disconnect the emergency release lever and raise the door to its balance point ... but if the operator IS NOT WORKING PROPERLY, that becomes part of the service which is needed, and testing it at this time only means you will need retest it after the door is serviced as it might be changed during service.

    You guys need to open that box up you are standing in and peek out through the top once in a while, there is another whole world out there.
    I guess it was the tone of this post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rick,

    I was always of the other thought, I hit the button and if something ... ANYTHING ... caused the door, track, opener, etc., to be damaged, then it "failed under testing" and *it was not my fault* - it is easy to defend against, although I never even had to, as *the seller/occupant should not have put that there without first deactivating the button*.

    Plain and simple - Forest Gump's Mother said it well "Stupid is as stupid does." and I've never been asked to pay for someone else's stupidity.
    A person who might have viewed this post might get the impression that you do not check the door for obstruction or problems.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    A person who might have viewed this post might get the impression that you do not check the door for obstruction or problems.
    Scott,

    Nope, "checking" as in standing at the door operator button and looking, or maybe even walking to the door is a whole lot different than "manually opening" the door.

    *I* want to be sure that the door is safe for me (or anyone else) to be under it first - I have seen too many doors fall, mostly on new construction shortly after they are installed, but years later too.

    Look for obstructions, press the button, if the door falls or fails in anyway shape or form, it "failed under testing".

    When the door is open and you see the top sagging and split because the stiffener was not installed, take a photo, that is a problem right there.

    But when the door hits the top and falls onto the floor, the door failed under testing.

    Sometimes it is because the top limit switch fails, sometimes it is because the ends of the tracks are not supported properly and the tracks spread apart as the door rises, the tracks spreading apart will actually pull the wheels out of the door, and down comes the door.

    Only after the door shows me it is not falling with the opener will I pull the emergency release and open the door to check for balance - and if the door needs service I did not even check that, but added to to my list 'also check door for proper counter balance spring load'.

    THE TONE of my post was that you do not have to mamby-pamby treat the door with kid gloves, it is *SUPPOSED TO WORK BY THE OPERATOR* and that is what I am checking, and if it falls or fails in any way, shape or form, *I* do not want to be under it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    Look for obstructions, press the button, if the door falls or fails in anyway shape or form, it "failed under testing".

    When the door is open and you see the top sagging and split because the stiffener was not installed, take a photo, that is a problem right there.

    But when the door hits the top and falls onto the floor, the door failed under testing.

    Sometimes it is because the top limit switch fails, sometimes it is because the ends of the tracks are not supported properly and the tracks spread apart as the door rises, the tracks spreading apart will actually pull the wheels out of the door, and down comes the door.

    Only after the door shows me it is not falling with the opener will I pull the emergency release and open the door to check for balance - and if the door needs service I did not even check that, but added to to my list 'also check door for proper counter balance spring load'.

    THE TONE of my post was that you do not have to mamby-pamby treat the door with kid gloves, it is *SUPPOSED TO WORK BY THE OPERATOR* and that is what I am checking, and if it falls or fails in any way, shape or form, *I* do not want to be under it.
    Thank you Jerry. I am a confessed novice at testing weak garage doors. The strong ones, no problem.
    There is a cheap model out there with wafer-thin glass windows that I watch for, before I look for the opener button, even. That door, kid gloves and a helmet.

    If the owners answer the door, I say "I'll be outside for a while, could you open the garage up for me?"


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Scott,

    Nope, "checking" as in standing at the door operator button and looking, or maybe even walking to the door is a whole lot different than "manually opening" the door.

    *I* want to be sure that the door is safe for me (or anyone else) to be under it first - I have seen too many doors fall, mostly on new construction shortly after they are installed, but years later too.

    Look for obstructions, press the button, if the door falls or fails in anyway shape or form, it "failed under testing".

    When the door is open and you see the top sagging and split because the stiffener was not installed, take a photo, that is a problem right there.

    But when the door hits the top and falls onto the floor, the door failed under testing.

    Sometimes it is because the top limit switch fails, sometimes it is because the ends of the tracks are not supported properly and the tracks spread apart as the door rises, the tracks spreading apart will actually pull the wheels out of the door, and down comes the door.

    Only after the door shows me it is not falling with the opener will I pull the emergency release and open the door to check for balance - and if the door needs service I did not even check that, but added to to my list 'also check door for proper counter balance spring load'.

    THE TONE of my post was that you do not have to mamby-pamby treat the door with kid gloves, it is *SUPPOSED TO WORK BY THE OPERATOR* and that is what I am checking, and if it falls or fails in any way, shape or form, *I* do not want to be under it.
    I agree with all of that. As you might recall I have a history with doors failing and falling as well. One of the reasons I do not test the pressure reversing feature on openers, but this is for another thread.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    As you might recall I have a history with doors failing and falling as well. One of the reasons I do not test the pressure reversing feature on openers, but this is for another thread.

    Conversely, that is PRECISELY WHY I DO test the auto-reversing on the 2x4 - if it is going to fail and fall for that reason, *I* would like to be the one it fails and falls for.

    Most of my garage door failures were back before digital cameras (or at least before I switched to one, not sure which), one was a track failure, and, as we are prone to do, I learned something from that failure.

    There was a new Lexus parked in the garage and no one home to move it (there was someone home, just did not have a key for it), so I operated the garage door anyway, it was one of those multiple piece tracks with bolts through connecting links to hold the track sections together, as the door opened, one of the bolts sheared off, allowing/causing the track to fall into a big 'V' shape, fortunately the other bolt did not shear so the track stopped just barely above the top of that brand new Lexus.

    Note to self at that time: NO MORE testing garage doors with a vehicle under them. (If I would not afford a Lexus for myself, I certainly did not want to buy them a new one. I would not want even IF I owned one myself - have no need to buy one for them. ).

    Test the auto reverse on the 2x4? Yep. Door fails or falls? NOT *MY* PROBLEM.

    Test it with a car parked under it? Nope, NO WAY.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Does most Inspectors open the garage door manually and set for 1 or 2 feet to see if spring are properly adjusted ,so when the owner want to let fido run in and out of the partially open garage door , fido does not end up with a concussion . Survey


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Hopefully not too late on this or missed this in anothe reply.

    I check garage doors for being in operating condition before pressing the button.

    Checklist.

    1) is the spring in tack. (a gap indicates spring is broken)
    2) are the cables connected to the spring rod and bottom of the doors connected.
    3) are there any locks or obstructions in the tracks
    4) is the door manually locked.
    5) Looks like it can be operated.... press the button.
    6) then do the rest from here

    My point is that we look to make sure systems can be operated before we operate them.

    For example. First place I go on the interior is to the electrical panel.

    I walked into a condo and there is a newer kitchen with a brand new oven. I mentioned to the clients and other attendees not to operate anything until I okay it as I'm going to the utility area to check the electrical, water and gas suppy for any anomolies.

    I found that the conductor to the oven and the breaker were damaged by heat and turning on the oven at that time may have caused a fire. In this case my process worked to keep everyone safe.

    Just my 2 cents.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    If that is the case, then ANYTHING we happen to operate and a subsequent failure occurs, then we are liable for leaky faucets, rotten sheathing (if one happens to step 'through'), water damaged ceilings (if a supply line happens to leak only when water is flowing), etc., etc., etc. because everything was 'fine' before we operated 'it'. With the above reference, put in your own 'failures' and ask yourself if you could have done a proper inspection if you hadn't operated 'it'. I will continue to do my job. It is my obligation to my client(s) to let them know what they are up against if the follow through with the transaction. If the garage door falls during operation, then that is an expense they should budget for . . . replace or repair. Not my fault. Just my discovery. That is why I get paid a FRACTION of hat it would cost to not know these hidden defects. Hardly my responsibility.

    [QUOTE=Michael Thomas;81341]I've had a number of discussions with lawyers about the "failed under testing" defense, and the consensus of opinion is that at least under Illinois law if you push the button, you are the immediate cause of the failure and liable for the damage - this may not appear fair, or reasonable, but that's just how it is.

    -------------------------------------------------


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel nantell View Post
    Does most Inspectors open the garage door manually and set for 1 or 2 feet to see if spring are properly adjusted ,so when the owner want to let fido run in and out of the partially open garage door , fido does not end up with a concussion . Survey

    Daniel,

    Hopefully not, because that is not "properly adjusted". Open the door so that half of the door is on the horizontal track and half on the vertical track, the springs should hold the door there at that position.

    With the tension set to hold the door open at that balance point, the opener is no raising or lowering the weight of the door, only the difference in the weight of the door and the counter-balance spring pre-load.

    The springs are not intended to hold almost the entire weight of the door as would be at the 1 or 2 foot high position. If they want it at that height, they can open it that far and then stop it, letting the gear ratios/chain drive/screw drive/etc hold the operator at that point, which will hold the door at that point.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    FWIW I had the client's agent pust the button after I checked to see the aytomatic overhead garage door wasn't locked, blocked or obviously defunct.
    Made the agent look important in front of the client and if anything bad happened................... oh well?
    One more piece of advice for new inspectors: Never put your ladder up in the driveway in front of a swing-out overhead garage door. Also, watch out for overhead service conductors serving the main electrical disconnect service panel. (I know, that's 2)

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Look familar to you?

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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Also, make sure you check the torsion springs (if used). It's common to see them snapped in half. The door will still go up and down (maybe), but the opener will be working overtime. Look for rusted springs, as they may be ready to pop. Be sure to recommend, as routine maintenance, spraying of springs with WD40 (or other lubricant) every 6 months. This will add years to the life of the springs.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    How many actually check for spring protection in those older model "swing-out" overhead garage vehicle doors?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Look familar to you?
    Yep, I spent an afternoon replacing glass in one of those. The owner helped me, nice guy. We stiffened it up with a piece of channel iron from Homer Depot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Never put your ladder up in the driveway in front of a swing-out overhead garage door. Also, watch out for overhead service conductors serving the main electrical disconnect service panel. (I know, that's 2)
    Sounds like it was quite a spark show, wooden door hopefully.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Found at today's inspection: "Official" Sears garage door testing block:

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    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Did you ask if you could keep it or buy it from the seller?

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    Did you ask if you could keep it or buy it from the seller?
    No one to ask, really - vacant bank-owned property.

    Could have taken it with me with no once the wiser, not my style, however.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  37. #37
    Terry Griffin's Avatar
    Terry Griffin Guest

    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    I've been in the business for 15 years and have inspected garage doors both ways. Wrong and right. Fortunately I haven't damaged a garage door or had one fall off the track. Had a pulldown ladder in a new home come tumbling down once. Painfully my right thigh broke its fall. LoL
    I think Scott's reply is probably the best when inspecting garage doors.


  38. #38
    Don Burbach's Avatar
    Don Burbach Guest

    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Invariably, I see an eager Realtor or buyer rush into a dark garage and go push the button to open the door. I am often successful in heading them off, but so many dangers lurk.

    If a see a door on a vacant house that is damaged I write it up , and often suggest to the Realtor that the opener be unplugged if it isn't already.

    I too have watched in horror as the door folded, and in one case while testing a door years ago, watched as the glass broken in the top panel.

    I agree with Scott and others that examine doors first, then operate. I do not manually operate the door. I determine if the operation is likely OK, then go for it. I never test doors that have been mended, especially with those that have screws torn out of the opener bracket area. No need to kick as sleeping dog, just write it up!


  39. #39
    gene schafer's Avatar
    gene schafer Guest

    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    That is a great point we should never assume that there should be no problem. Even as we grow older in the home inspection field we should never be so complacent and assume.
    I remember very well what assume actually means.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Daniel,

    Hopefully not, because that is not "properly adjusted". Open the door so that half of the door is on the horizontal track and half on the vertical track, the springs should hold the door there at that position.

    With the tension set to hold the door open at that balance point, the opener is no raising or lowering the weight of the door, only the difference in the weight of the door and the counter-balance spring pre-load.

    The springs are not intended to hold almost the entire weight of the door as would be at the 1 or 2 foot high position. If they want it at that height, they can open it that far and then stop it, letting the gear ratios/chain drive/screw drive/etc hold the operator at that point, which will hold the door at that point.

    Jerry, I disagree (if I am reading you correctly)
    At 1-2ft the first panel has crested the top of the track and the actual weight of the door is less than at the fully closed position.

    The springs that are matched to a door are rated well above the actual door weight. They do carry the door weight. They have to be capable of carrying a greater weight than what they are attempting to lift. The springs extension is what causes the spring to fatigue and fail. If the spring have no extension (tension) then they will never fail from use. The greater the amount of extension (tension) of the spring the quicker the metal will fatigue and eventually fail. Doors normally are set so that it does not require excessive effort to raise. But, they can also be adjusted so that it requires little to no effort to raise. A door installed for a 30 yr old male body builder can be heaver than a door adjusted for an 80 yr old Canasta player. And yes they can be adjusted so that they will balance at partial open. The tension level at that point is not much more than a light lifting adjustment. Remember, the door should not come crashing down as it is lowered. It should not require excessive effort to control as it is being closed. As far as the opener, they are not generally made to open a door without some type of spring/weight counter assistance (else premature motor failure). The size of the motor of the opener only will effect its longevity. Smaller works harder than a larger motor, though a door installed correctly doesn't require a tremendous force to lift.

    Finding the door locked (locking handle installed with door) I would look to see if there was a reason that it was locked if the operator was engaged. I would look even harder to see why pliers were used to block track and prevent opening the door especially if the operator was engaged. Taking pictures all the while. Not blindly trusting a homeowner with their installation and maintenance is how one keeps themselves out of potential conflict. Not discounting that there may be plot (sabotage) to create a failure when it is tested, for what ever misguided reasoning.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    At 1-2ft the first panel has crested the top of the track and the actual weight of the door is less than at the fully closed position.
    That is correct, and the higher the door goes, the less 'it weighs' for gravity pulling the door back down the track.

    The springs should be set to hold the door approximately at the half-way up position, half the weight of the door in gravity down the track and the other half the weight of the door resting on the horizontal track - the operator now only needs to move half the weight of the door.

    Adjust the springs too tight and the operator needs to exert a lot of force when pushing the door back down, and the door could come all the way up and off the back of the track (I've seen it happen).

    Adjust the springs too loose and ...
    As far as the opener, they are not generally made to open a door without some type of spring/weight counter assistance (else premature motor failure).
    I think we are on the same page.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Garage Door Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    The old guys know, but any of you new guys in the HI biz should always check the garage doors well prior to hitting those garage door switches. They forget this one in the HI schools.

    Some are what I call "booby-trapped". You hit the switch, the door opener activates and then the door and the opener are damaged.

    Save yourself the headache and look prior to opening.
    Rick,
    You are so correct in what HI Schools or state required class time do not teach you. Furthermore, just doing inspections still doesn't provide the knowledge since it is a trial and error method of learning. If there is a problem, you see the problem but really may not understand the cause. That is where real world hands on installation experience comes in. And then maybe not completely. I have had discussions with installers and factory installation reps about varied design and installation methods that only proved that they were not well versed in in the atypical installation. So many can not think outside the box an utilize the parts/materials at their disposal. Garage door testing is an area the scares many to the point that the scope of the test is minimized to the point of being worthless or not done at all, passing it off to some one else to test/evaluate. There may be something out there that would provide a quality training in garage doors, but I am skeptical. Real training would take at least 20 - 40 concentrated hours or more. It is more than just the instructions that are included with a door. Its about everything that is not included. I do not think that many have gone to the extent to speak with the actual design engineers and the people working the fabrication equipment on the factory floor.

    Most doors that your will see be of standard design and installation. With care and propper testing procedure you will not have a problem. Its the oddball situation that will bite you in the but because you didn't recognize some little odd thing about the installation that would que you to take special precautions in the testing so as to not cause damage or be damaged yourself.

    Good luck, learn as much as you can.


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