Condo Blues: My Garage Door Opener Might Be the Death of Me




Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Garage Door Opener Might Be the Death of Me

My garage door opener is a fickle minx. When I press the wall button or the remote, I’m not sure what I’m going to get. Most of the time the garage door opener opens and closes the door, as it should. But take that for granted (as I did the night of our burglary) and the door will go down and pop back up. My favorite trick is after checking the batteries in the remote, a press of the button makes the light blink and the door stays open. The taunting blinking light always happens during a rainstorm or when I am in a hurry.

I spend a good chunk of time checking the garage door sensors for obstructions (rare), readjusting the garage door opener controls with the change of the seasons, and keeping the remotes fed with fresh batteries.


A slight turn with a screwdriver is all it takes to make the adjustment

Our burglary was the last straw. I didn’t watch the door to make sure it closed completely. The door popped back up and stayed open all night. That’s how the robbers got into the house while we slept.

Husband and I discussed our options:



Option A: Replace the Garage Door Opener As much as I advocate fixing things first instead of replacing them, in this case we’re so fed up I’m about to make an exception. I considered the Craftsman Assurelink Garage Opener because it speaks to my inner geek. If I am ever in a situation where the door pops up and open after I walk into the house like with my current garage door opener, I can use my phone to close the garage door from inside the house. Or from the front porch. Husband can close the door from work. Or from New Jersey even. Cool.


However, looking my current setup, uninstalling the current garage door opener and installing the super cool there’s an app for that garage door opener looks like a bigger job than I want to take on right now. Add in Husband and I have Blackberries, which means accessing the door control through a Web portal instead of the iPhone/Android app, and the $330 price tag (for the version with the battery backup when the power goes out), and we decided to look for a less expensive option that may work with our current garage door opener.

Option B: Add a Garage Door Closer to our Current Garage Door Opener.  Inspired by The Gadgeteer adding a garage door closer to his garage door as a backup,  I poked around Amazon and bought the Xceltronix Garage Door Autocloser. I with the Xceltronix because it had the best customer reviews and it promised an easy install. At 60 smackers I thought my garage door problems would be over.


Or so I thought.

I didn’t check if the outlet in the garage rafters the builder installed for the garage door opener was a double before I placed my order. It isn’t. No problem I think and pop down to Lowes for a 125 volt double outlet to swap it out. Easy!

Not so easy. The current outlet wiring will not support a double outlet. It requires new wiring and possibly a new circuit breaker box- something I’m not quite up to doing on my own. By the time I called in a pro, I’m in the price territory of a new garage door opener. Bah!

Option C: Deal With the Current Set Up. I hate to roll over and cry Uncle on this one. This quick project is taking more time, energy, and potential cashola than I originally thought. Husband and I decided that as much of a pain as it can be to baby sit the current garage door when it goes up and down (and not), we’re going to continue with that course of action for now. For added security, I installed a more ferocious lock on the back door and told Blitzkrieg he has permission to eat any robbers he finds in the house.

The moral of the story? That sometimes DIY doesn’t go as planned. Also, don’t start buying a bunch of stuff for a project assuming everything is as it should be and without checking it out first. If I would have stepped into the garage and looked at the garage door opener before ordering the closer, I would have saved my self several trips up and down a ladder (not a biggie), two trips to Lowes, and $60 bucks on a closer I can’t return. Lesson learned.

What did you do this weekend?

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8 comments :

  1. Your garage doors sound like mine! But mine are also wood, and they are starting to fall apart too. I need 3 grand to replace the doors and tracks. I think the openers themselves are fine. We wait to see if ours closes. Ours also isn't hooked to the house.

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  2. DIY never goes as planned over here. I give you credit for having three options. My option would have been Option A: Call for repair!

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  3. Groovygreenlinin- Call for repair isn't an option because technically nothing is broken on the current garage door opener. We had a pro oil the chain and do a little tune up a year ago or so. He said there's nothing to fix on it. Ugh.

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  4. Sell the condo and move to a small holding out in the country! No? How about locking the garage door when you close it?

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  5. How about going without an electric door opener and instead open and close it by hand?
    There are lots of garages in the area I live in, but none have electric openers, all work manually. And if properly adjusted (never met one that wasn't), they're pretty easy to open and close, no matter how small or strong you are. Only children can't do it, but then you don't want children in there anyway ;-). Just close it, lock it with an old fashioned key, and you're good to go. And you'd be saving electricity and batteries!

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  6. Good idea Sonja. I'm too short to reach the manual door garage door pull. I have to get out a step stool when I need to use it!

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  7. Do you mean the pull thingie to pull the door close again?
    In our garage it was a little ball thingie that hang on a rope. When I was still too small to reach it, but old enough to close and open the garage on my own, my dad simply exchanged the rope for a longer one so that I could pull on it too.

    Needing a step stool every time is very unpractical, that's true.

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  8. Sonja - Not just the pull thingie but also the door itself. I'm 4'11". There are middle school kids taller than me :)

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