How To Test And Adjust The Cycling Strength Of Your Garage Door Opener

You use your garage door on a daily basis. Every time you pull your car out of your garage to begin your morning commute, you activate your automatic opener and cycle your door. However, if your automatic opener isn't properly adjusted, then it will cause your door's counterbalance system (the series of drums, cables, and springs above your door) to sustain unnecessary wear. To ensure that your door assembly lasts as long as possible, test and adjust your automatic opener by following these steps.

Problems Caused By Poor Cycle Settings

One of the biggest problems caused by a poorly-adjusted opener is overtravel. Overtravel occurs when your door is pulled past the point at which it's designed to stop. If your door is overtraveling, then your torsion springs will lose elasticity each time you cycle your door.

Your door's top rollers will typically be pulled out of your guide track if your opener is causing overtravel. However, this problem doesn't occur with every door assembly.

Your bottom panel and weatherstrip will sustain serious damage if your opener's downforce isn't adjusted properly. If your opener's downforce is too powerful, then it will send your door crashing to the ground during each closing cycle.

However, this isn't the only problem caused by excessive downforce. If your motion sensors aren't aligned properly, then excessive downforce will also cause severe injury or damage to people or objects in the path of your door.

Testing Your Lift Power

To test your lift power, grab your opener's remote or have a partner ready to cycle your door into the open position. Begin the opening cycle while standing directly behind the interior side of your door. Place your hands on a stationary part of your door's frame and apply about 5-10 pounds of downward pressure once your door is a few feet off the ground.

If your door continues to open normally, then your lift power needs to be reduced. Place a ladder beneath your opener and locate the knob, screw, or slider that corresponds to your lift power (typically labeled with an upward arrow). Slightly reduce the lift power of your opener and test it again. Continue repeating this process until your door stops cycling once you apply downwards pressure.

Repeatedly testing your door and reducing your lift power in small intervals will allow you to find the most optimal lift power setting for your opener.

However, if you add insulation to your door, or if you make any modifications to your door that increases its weight, then you'll also need to increase your lift power. Increasing the total weight of your door without increasing your lift power will slow your door's cycle speed and cause your opener's gears and motor to sustain unnecessary wear.

Testing Your Downforce

Start testing your downforce with your door in the open position. Place an object that's about 1-1/2" thick (such as a 2x4 plank or a barbell weight) at the location where your door makes contact with the ground. If your door doesn't reverse the closing process upon making contact with the object, then your downforce needs to be reduced by adjusting the corresponding control mechanism on your opener.

Similarly to your lift power, reduce your downforce in small intervals. Once your door reverses the cycling process and begins opening when it makes contact with your object, your downforce is set properly.

Additionally, if you modify your door and increase its weight, then you must also re-test and decrease the downforce of your opener until it's set to match the increased weight of your door.

By testing and adjusting the cycling strength of your opener, you can create perfect synergy between your opener and counterbalance system. However, if you encounter any problems while testing or adjusting your opener, then stop and contact your local garage door technician to finish the adjustments for you. Otherwise, you're likely to cause accidental damage to your opener or door assembly.

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