QUICK DECISION GUIDE TO EMERGENCY REPAIRS FOR GARAGE DOOR OPENERS
By Balanced Garage Doors
Your garage door opener is on the fritz. If you don't act fast, your opener will throw a wrench into every plan that requires you to take the car - AKA, ninety percent of your plans. Chances are, you're more than a little stressed about the situation.
We deal with malfunctioning garage door openers every day. In fact, Balanced Garage Doors specializes in emergency situations like this. That's why we've compiled this guide - to walk you through what to do, what to ask, and what factors to consider when making your repair and replacement decisions.
Ready to tackle this problem head-on?
PHASE 1: Contact a Garage Door Specialist
DIY garage door repairs almost always result in higher costs and lost time, versus hiring a professional to make your repair. So your best bet is to contact a garage door repair service.
We recommend doing a bit of research before calling or committing to a particular company. Some things to look for include:
- Positive Reviews. Most garage door companies have profiles on websites like Google, Angie's List, Home Advisor, and Yelp. In addition, there are many other search sources such as Yellow pages, Thumbtack, and an abundant number of other web-based directories promoting local services. Look for companies with a body of fairly recent positive reviews before committing to a particular garage door service provider. We frequently see garage doors with multiple stickers from different garage door repair companies, which tells us that this customer is more than likely a value shopper. Getting more value out of your emergency garage door repair is why we developed our Quick Decision Guide to Emergency Repairs For Garage Door Openers. If your first and only response to your emergency repair is to call the phone number on your aged and weathered garage door sticker, you might sell yourself short on price, product quality, warranties as well as new features engineered into the newer opener models that are not widely carried by every garage door service provider.
- Location Of Service Provider. Many customers prefer to support local businesses when possible. However, choosing a garage door service company based on the proximity of a Google map marker does not guarantee that you will find all of your available local options. Some of the well established and best local garage door companies do not have map markers. The quality of a garage repair company's reviews, along with their business profile found on the web, is the most important information you can find using the internet alone. For more detail, it will be necessary to call the service provider directly. Referrals are good too, but may not be widely available when you need one.
Check out the Google My Business profile of any companies you're considering. Their listing will show their Google Reviews, and may even pull in their Angie's List reviews as well (like ours, shown above.)
PHASE 2: WHEN YOU CALL
It’s in your best interest to call a few garage door service companies before making your decision. That way, you can compare specifics like scheduling, price points, and warranties. Below are the questions we recommend you ask when speaking with potential service providers:
Considering a particular company? Before committing, give them a call to get all the details.
1. Do You Offer Free Estimates To Assess My Garage Door Repair? Service fees used to be the norm in the garage door repair business. Not anymore. If the repair cost or options recommended are not to your liking, you don't want to be obligated to pay a service fee that can range from $65 to $95.
2. Do You Stock Parts For My Opener Brand? If you know your garage opener brand, check to see whether the service provider stocks relevant parts on their service trucks. Otherwise, the only option a service provider can offer you is a replacement.
3. Which Opener Brands Do You Sell? If you are in the market for a new opener, find out which brands they supply. It’s also a good idea to ask which opener model is their best seller, and why. In most cases, garage companies sell a selection of LiftMaster models plus one to two other brands.
4. Are You Offering Any Specials? Ask if they have any current specials for either a chain drive or belt drive opener or the particular model you are interested in. Ask if programming an opener is included in their installation fee.
5. What Type Of Warranties Do You Offer? Confirm the service provider offers an unconditional workmanship warranty of at least 90 days.
Preparing basic questions such as these will allow you to take control of the conversation. Ideally, you'll find a company that not only ticks these boxes but is also available on your emergency timeline. Once you've made your decision, go ahead and set up an appointment.
PHASE 3: Before THE INSPECTION
Assuming you're in the Atlanta or North Georgia area, we've tailored these instructions to customers of Balanced Garage Doors. But these steps are also applicable if you're elsewhere in the country, using a different garage door repair service.
While you're waiting on your technician to arrive, we recommend the following:
- Move Your Car. If possible, you should park your car outside the garage, so your technician has plenty of room to inspect your opener.
- Assess Your Budget. Your technician will identify possible solutions, each with a different price tag. The average garage door opener repair ranges from $125 to $250. If your opener is not repairable and needs to be replaced, new opener options start around $300. So, even for the least expensive replacement, you’re looking at considerably more dollars to replace versus repair. But, the marginal cost all depends on the specific repair and the model of opener you choose.
- Identify Your Home Wi-Fi Network Password. Make sure you know the password to your home Wi-Fi network and have it available when your technician arrives. Many professional installers charge an additional fee to program devices to an opener because it takes so long for the homeowner to find their home Wi-Fi network password in addition to the increasing number of devices that need programming. Having your home Wi-Fi password in hand puts you in a better negotiation position to avoid this additional charge.
PHASE 4: THE INSPECTION
If you choose Balanced Garage Doors, we'll schedule a minimum two-hour window to perform an inspection, offer recommendations, and either repair or replace your opener. This is fairly standard among garage door service companies. Also, it is our policy to notify customers that our service technician is en route 30 minutes prior to their estimated arrival time.
During the inspection, your technician will access your opener via a ladder. He or she will remove the exterior housing in order to visually inspect the system and perform various diagnostic tests.
During the inspection, your technician will assess each of these features of your garage door and opener.
After the inspection, your technician will present you with all the possible solutions. Notably, they should be able to tell you whether repairing your current opener is an option.
The question of whether a repair is possible hinges on whether an opener's parts have been discontinued. Your technician will be able to determine this via the visual inspection.
Typically, repairs are possible if the faulty part is a safety sensor, gear, or sprocket. A repair should also be feasible if your opener is malfunctioning because of discombobulated opener settings. Repairs may not be possible if the issue lies with the circuit board on an older model since circuit boards are typically model-specific, and discontinued after only a few years.
PHASE 5: REPLACE OR REPAIR? QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR TECHNICIAN.
After inspection, your technician will offer up various solutions. During this discussion, we recommend that you get answers to all of the following:
- Is Repair Possible? If No, Why Not? If your technician only suggests replacement, ask for an explanation.
- Will We Need To Order Replacement Parts? If your garage door service company needs to order repair parts, you'll be stuck with a broken opener for a few extra days.
- What Brands And Models Of Openers Are Currently Available On Your Service Truck? If you ultimately decide to replace your garage door opener, you'll want to consider installing a professional-grade model versus a DIY model found in local retail stores. DIY models can wear down more easily due to the higher number of plastic parts used to manufacturer them. Generally, professional brands open doors more quickly, have more HP, are more durable and have better warranties. Large national garage door repair companies market their private brand opener models. These models are not as rigorously reviewed as the widely distributed professional opener brands and may limit your garage service company options for adjustments and repairs in the future.
- What Features Do New Opener Models Offer? Not sure whether to repair or replace? Learning about the features of a new model may just tip the scales toward replacement.
- Do You Offer Free Programming Of Home Devices To A New Opener? Don't get surprised at the end of your garage opener installation with a programming charge. This charge can be justified based on the time it takes to connect multiple devices, cars, cameras, etc. It is best to clarify upfront that this service is part of the installation fee being charged.
- Do You Charge Separately For Spring Testing? Ask the technician if spring testing is included in the installation fee. Professional garage installers will test your springs to ensure they are properly sized for strength to work in equilibrium with your new garage opener. This is an extremely important calibration to ensure that a weak spring system does not impart stressful wear and tear on your new opener, which would shorten its natural life.
- How Long Is Your Workmanship Warranty? Never settle for anything less than a 90-day warranty, which is the industry standard. It is value-added to try to get the longest warranty possible. At Balanced Garage Doors, we will service openers that we install for an entire year at no charge, for example, sensors getting accidentally bumped out of alignment, programming issues that arise, etc.
PHASE 6: REPLACE OR REPAIR? QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF.
Your technician will be able to answer all your questions about the price and functionality of a particular solution. But in making your decision, you should also ask yourself the following:
- How Old Is Your Garage Door Opener? A good life span for a garage opener hovers around 15 years. If your opener is around that age, you're probably better off replacing it. If you are replacing an opener that is less than 10 years old, consider a different model or brand than the last one you purchased.
- How Long Will You Be At Your Residence? If you only plan to live at your home for another year or two, a long-term replacement is probably unnecessary. Simply repairing your current opener, if possible, should do the trick.
- Lifestyle and Security Considerations. A young couple with a new baby might opt to replace their noisy opener with a quiet belt drive opener. If you frequently come home after dark, a person might choose a model with enhanced LED lighting. If you travel and receive home deliveries every week, a person might choose a model with Amazon's in-garage delivery capabilities.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider in making your decision. But most technicians - particularly Balanced Garage Door technicians - are happy to discuss these considerations with you.
Once you've reached a decision, your technician should be able to make the repair or replacement either same-day or once new parts have arrived. Don't be afraid to continue asking questions along the way - a functional garage door impacts the value of your home, so it never hurts to be more involved.
Unless your repair requires ordering special parts, your technician should be able to make same-day replacement and repairs.
So, you've finished reading our guide. We hope that you've either completed the outlined steps and you're now enjoying a newly functional garage door opener (thinking, probably, thank goodness that's over!), or, you're empowered to get it fixed and make some informed purchasing decisions along the way.
Either way, it's probably clear that your garage door opener is an investment in your home and the efficiency of your daily life. We encourage you to carefully consider your options and their implications.
If you're an Atlanta or North Georgia area resident still reeling from the discovery of a broken garage door opener, don't panic, just give us a call at (770) 880-0376. We understand the stress of a broken garage door, and we'll do everything possible to get you back to your busy schedule ASAP.
Want to keep this info handy? Download the Quick Decision Guide PDF below.