Day 3

On the third day after I moved in, the garage door opener quit working.  I just spent the day with friends wiping down the kitchen and learning how to use my new lawn mower.

Right after they left, I closed the garage door with the wall button.  Then I realized I needed to get something from the store, so I hit the wall button again to open the door.  All I got was an electrical click and a big nope from the opener.

I looked at the unit and realized that it was probably older than me.  And I’m kind of old.  It was a small miracle the darn thing worked during the home inspection and for the 6 times I used it afterwards.

After checking for some troubleshooting tips online, this is what I ended up doing:

1) Check that power is going to the opener unit.

The electrical click-click was a cue that power was still going to the box.  And the lights turned on when I hit the wall button.  The electrical noise even happened when I hit the remote units.  To double check, I flipped the breaker on and off.  This was more for me to be able to say I tried everything before moving on…

2) Check troubleshooting for that specific opener model.

Google is a wonderful thing.  Apparently my unit had some sort of overheat safety feature where I could just wait a while and maybe it would work again.  So I left it alone for 30 minutes and tried everything again.  Still no.  Waited an hour – still no.

3) Check if the door is working properly.


I pulled that red cord to detach the garage door from the unit chain.  I’ve always wanted to do this.  On some websites, they recommend doing this first.  Yeah, don’t.  Once I figured out the door worked just fine, guess who couldn’t reattach the door to the chain?  Not that I needed to.  The unit still didn’t work.

Part ‘A’ had to clip onto the track, but I couldn’t get ‘B’ to slide far enough over without four hands to wrangle everything.  Getting the door back on the track was not a one person job.

4) Check if the opener’s mechanical assembly is working.

I unplugged the unit and tried following YouTube repair videos on newer models.  Since my unit was forged in the land before time, I had a hard time following.  I also didn’t have the right tools to take the thing apart.  But at this point I was pretty sure it was a mechanical issue.  Proceeded to step 5.

5) Researched ballpark costs for repairing versus replacing the unit.

Garage door openers can vary in price.  There are some chain units on sale for about $300, and the belt drive models can cost about $600.  Then I thought about what it would take to install not only the unit, but the electrical wires to the door switch, and what tools I really didn’t have.  Proceeded to step 6.

6) Give up and phone a repair company.

After a further two days lifting the garage door by hand, one of the door wheels fell off.  The original wood door (circa 1973) was sagging and had gaps at each end, and the bearings in the door wheels were done.  I refused to store my car in the garage for fear I wouldn’t be able to get the door open ever again.  The birds started crapping on my car overnight.  I was so done.

7) Cave and buy a new door and opener for a combo deal price.

When the repair guy came out the next day, I had him quote me a price for both a new insulated door, new gaskets, new rails new opener, wall switch, remotes and outdoor code panel.  The quote was $2000 installed, and they took away the old door and garbage.  Buying a new garage door was on my to-do list, but for year 2.  Oh well.  I had to move some items budgeted for this year to next year instead.