Garage Door Care and Maintenance

Garage doors require care and maintenance to perform in the safest and most effective manner.  Inspecting and testing your garage door system takes only a few minutes and should be performed monthly.  Just make garage door care and maintenance part of your chore routine!

So, how hard can it be? Luckily, it’s not too complicated!

Before we get started, it’s important to issue a warning.  At the risk of stating the obvious, please keep in mind that your garage door is typically the largest moving object in your home and many of its parts are under very high tension.  The purpose of inspecting and testing your garage door system is to alert you to any potential issues.   

River City Door_Blog 004_Pic 1 River City Door_Blog 004_Pic 2

The installation and maintenance of your garage door systems should be conducted by a trained, garage door systems professional.  The improper installation or maintenance of a garage door can create hazardous conditions that can cause serious injury or even death.   If you believe that your garage door, electric opener or related hardware needs repair, call a trained garage door systems service technician.

Here’s a summary of some of the most important parts of a basic inspection of your residential garage door that is connected to an electric garage door opener.

Manual Release Handle

Check to see if there is a red manual release handle hanging from your garage door opener.  It should be easily accessible and hang no more than six feet above your garage floor.  This is important so that you can disengage the garage opener if you need to open or close your garage door manually.

Door Panels

It’s important to check the condition of your panels.  To do this you must first make sure the garage door is fully closed.  Then, from inside your garage, check for any signs of cracking, buckling, separation of materials or general fatigue of your panels.  If you see any of these signs, your garage door could present a hazardous condition to you and the contents of your garage.  At this point, stop your inspection and call a trained garage door technician to finish inspecting your garage door and related hardware.

Warning Labels

While looking for warning labels on your garage door system may seem like a least important task during your inspection, the presence of these labels will inform you of the most dangerous parts of your garage door.  They should be present at all times.  You can check for these labels while standing inside your garage with the door closed.  Your door system should have a warning label attached:

  • On or next to the garage door spring assembly
  • The back of one of the door panels
  • The wall  in the area of your wall control button
  • Two warning labels attached to the garage door in the area of the bottom corner brackets.  Some newer doors do not require these two labels, so don’t be alarmed if they are not there – they are tamper resistant!

Spring and Hardware Inspection

Check to see if all of your hardware is securely attached.  It’s also very important to visually inspect your springs for damage.  You can do this from inside your garage when the garage door is in the closed position. 

Before you do this, here is an extreme warning:

According to DASMA (Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International), “Garage door springs, cables, brackets, and other hardware attached to the springs are under very high tension and, if handled improperly, can cause serious injury. Only a qualified professional should adjust them.  The torsion springs (the springs above the door) should only be adjusted by a professional. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself.  A restraining cable or other device should be installed on the extension spring (the spring along the side of the door) to help contain the spring if it breaks.”

Door Operation

Make sure there are handles or grip points on both the inside and outside of your garage door.  From inside the garage with your garage door closed, pull the manual release to disconnect your door from the opener.  Without straining yourself, manually lift and the garage door by grasping the door in an area that your fingers cannot be injured.  If the door is too hard to lift, then this is usually an indication that your door is out of balance or there are other issues and that maintenance is required.  The idea is that your garage door should move freely and be raised to the fully open position without difficulty.  It should also be closed without difficulty.  At this point, you can visually see if the roller is staying within their track.  If any rollers fall out of the track, the door system should be repaired by a trained door systems technician.  If there are no issues after conducting this check, reconnect the door to the opener.

Wall Station Push-Button

Your garage door should have at least on working wall-mounted push-button to operate your garage door opener.  Your push-button should stand at least five feet above your garage floor and be high enough out of the reach of small children.  Press the push-button to make sure it successfully operates the garage door.

Photo Eyes and Non-Contact Door Reversal Test

Federal laws states that residential garage door openers made after 1992 must be equipped with photo eyes that meet UL 325 standards.  Photo eyes should be mounted to the left and right sides at the bottom of the door opening.  They should be no more than six inches above the garage door floor.  Photo eyes are a safety-reverse feature that causes the garage door to stop closing if any object has been detected within the photo-eye beam.  Make sure your photo eyes are clear of any debris including cobwebs and dust and are clean so they can operate properly.

To check that your photo eyes are operating correctly, do the following:  Stand inside the garage (but safely away from the path of the door), push your remote control or wall button close the garage door.  As your garage door is closing, wave an object in the path of the photoelectric eye beam.  Make sure the object you are waving is not something of value to you and at substantial distance from the garage door.  If the garage door reverses, then your photo eyes are working correctly.  If not, the garage door will close on your object.  You will need to open the door to release the object used.   

For fast, professional, dependable garage door care and maintenance call River City Door at 513-662-3667 or 812-637-6500 or contact us online. River City Door proudly serves Greater Cincinnati, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky communities.

Garage Door Springs 101

Garage door springs are a critical part of the operation of your garage door. Garage door springs are used to counterbalance the full weight of the garage door so that it can be lifted and closed easily and safely. A manually operated garage door that is properly balanced will not drift up or down. It will:

  • Rest squarely on the floor in the closed position without drifting up
  • Hang half-way up without drifting up or down
  • Remain in the fully open position without drifting down

If your garage door is properly balance, it should take equal force to open and close the garage door.

What are the different types of garage door springs?

There are two types of springs used on residential garage doors today: Extension Springs and Torsion Springs.

Extension Springs

Extension Spring Double Looped End

Extension Springs are a pair of stretched springs that run parallel to the tracks on both sides of the garage door. Extension springs lift the garage door using a counterbalance system of pulleys and cables. When the garage door is lifted, the springs contract as tension is released.

Torsion Springs

Extension Springs

Torsion Springs are the most popular form of springs used today for residential garage doors. They are typically located just above the top section of the garage door inside of your garage. Depending on the weight and size of your garage door, a torsion spring system consists of either one or two torsion springs. Unlike extension springs, torsion springs are wound and do not expand or contract when the door is moved.

How long does an extension spring or torsion spring last?

Extension springs and torsion springs have a life cycle. The majority of garage doors come from the manufacturer with springs that are rated at 10,000 cycles. So, you may be asking yourself, what is a cycle? One cycle refers to each time you open and close your garage door. If you open and close your garage door many times a day, the life of your extension spring will be shorter than if you open and close your garage door once or twice a week. With average use, a homeowner can expect their springs to last anywhere between 5 and 7 years.

Which is better – Extension Springs or Torsion Springs?

While both types of springs do a great job in lifting your residential garage door, we believe torsion springs can be a better choice. Torsion springs tend to balance the weight of your garage door better than extension springs. This means smoother and safer operation of your garage door.

Fortunately, our partner and garage door manufacturer has developed a short but sweet video regarding garage door spring systems. We think it’s worth a look. Watch the Amarr spring video to learn more.

Are you thinking about installing your own garage door springs? Read this first and then decide.

If you’re reading this blog, then you are probably pretty serious about understanding your garage door better and maybe even thinking about installing your own garage door spring system. There are plenty of how-to videos and articles on the web that talk about how to install your own garage door springs. That being said, we highly recommend that you contact a trained garage door professional to install your new springs for the following reasons:

  • Installing a garage door spring is very dangerous. Garage door springs operate under extreme tension. In an uncontrolled release of this tension, the energy is sufficient enough to maim or even kill the installer. It can also damage the garage door and contents of your garage. Professional garage door service technicians install garage door springs on a daily basis. They are knowledgeable about which springs to install and are experts in installing springs correctly, quickly and most importantly, safely.
  • Convenience. If you’ve never installed a garage door spring before, it can be quite an undertaking. You will need to research how to do the installation, purchase the springs, remove the old springs and then install the new springs. A professional garage door repair company can install a new set of torsion or extension springs usually within one hour. This convenience is hard to beat, especially if your car is inside the garage and you need to get somewhere!
  • Cost. Specific tools are required to install garage door springs correctly. Without them, the installation process is even more dangerous. Be sure to factor that in if you are still thinking about doing it yourself. The good news is that professional garage door repair is reasonably priced. Typically, the costs associated with professional spring installation for residential garage doors are approx. $125 – $250 depending on type and number of springs needed. These costs usually include the price of the spring, labor and trip charge. Be sure to check your garage door repair company’s website for coupons and discounts. Some even offer senior citizen and military service discounts.

Do I have to replace my springs when a new garage door is installed?

The short answer is… Yes! The long answer explains why. Here it is: A new garage door will be a different weight than your old garage door – even though it’s probably the same size. To lift and balance the new garage door correctly, the right type of spring needs to be installed. If the right type of spring is not used, the new garage door can become a danger to yourself, your loved ones and the contents of your garage.

If you are a purchasing a new garage door from a professional garage door company, new springs and related hardware should be included in the installation.

For fast, professional, dependable garage door spring installation call River City Door at 513-662-3667 or 812-637-6500 or contact us online. River City Door proudly serves Greater Cincinnati, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky communities.


River City Door Mobile Garage Door Installation and Repair

Choosing the Right Garage Door Repair Company

With so many garage door repair companies to choose from, how do you decide which one is the best for you to hire? What are some of the factors you should consider before making a choice?

It’s understandable that you want to make a quick decision – especially if your car is stuck in the garage because your springs are broken. However, it really pays to do your homework when selecting a garage door repair company so that you receive fast, professional service at a reasonable price.

Here are a few tips to help guide you through the process, as well as some questions you can ask before you set up an appointment for service:


Nothing beats experience when it comes to repairing your garage door and related hardware.Experience.

Nothing beats experience when it comes to repairing your garage door and related hardware. You want to be sure that the company you hire has specific expertise in garage door repair and installation. Professional garage door repair requires different skills than installing an entry door or window. If not done properly, the consequences can be much more severe. A garage door and opener system that is not installed correctly can lead to serious personal injury and entrapment, as well as destruction of items in your garage.

With the vast number of garage door products and manufacturers, it is important that the company you hire is not only knowledgeable about the major garage door brands and products – but also knowledgeable with some of the lesser known ones, as well. And not just the new ones. So, find out how many years of experience the company has with repairing and installing garage doors and garage door openers. It is also good to find out how well-trained their service technicians are.


A company’s reputation is a good measurement of customer satisfaction and one of the key factors you should consider.Reputation.

A company’s reputation is a good measurement of customer satisfaction and one of the key factors you should consider. After all, it’s your home and you want to protect its value. The garage door is one of the most visible structures of your home and protects the contents of your garage. Find out what customers are saying about the experiences they have had with local garage door companies. Find out if they are members of their local chamber of commerce or other business organizations and associations.

Great garage door companies, like other successful businesses, are serious about providing outstanding customer service and quality products. Reputable garage door companies are serious about being members of their business community. Here are a few places you can find out if your garage door company fits these criteria:

  • Online Reviews. The internet has made it much easier to find out about a company’s reputation. Check out the company’s reviews on Google and Yelp, as well as reviews that are posted on the company’s website. If you are a member, Angie’s List is another great resource for customer feedback.
  • Better Business Bureau. Go to your local BBB website.  See which garage door company has the best ratings, the least number of complaints, and how well they’ve handled complaints in the past. Verify that the company you are researching is a member of the local BBB.
  • Chamber of Commerce. Go to your local chamber site to validate that the garage door company is a member and read the company’s reviews.


A good garage door company shows that they are serious about protecting their customers and themselves by carrying Liability Insurance.Liability Insurance.

A good garage door company shows that they are serious about protecting their customers and themselves by carrying Liability Insurance. Liability insurance protects you if any accidents occur at any point during the repair or installation process.

Unfortunately, there are some garage door companies that claim they have insurance, but operate without it. One of the ways you can check to make sure they have insurance is to request a copy of the company’s Certificate of Insurance. If they are not willing to provide you with one, we highly recommend that you hire another company.

While there may be other factors that are unique to your personal needs, we hope that these tips will help you find the right garage door company for you. Also, make sure to check out River City Door’s first blog, How To Choose The Right Garage Door and contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.


Amarr by Design Wood Carriage House Garage Door

How to Choose the Right Garage Door

So, you’re thinking about buying a new garage door. Great! A new garage door can increase the value of your home and create instant curb appeal. Not to mention creating a safer and more secure entry point to your garage and home. This is all good news, but how do you choose the right garage door for your home and your budget? Here are a few factors to consider before you buy:

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