derryX Rant: Garage Doors of Doom

When we got the keys to our house, we had two functioning garage doors. During the transition from apartment to house, I’d load up the car,┬ádrive over, pull into the garage, and unload.

I did one stupid thing that led to a sequence of events that took forever to resolve.

The Saturday before we fully moved, we bought household essentials at Target. I pulled into the garage, and opened my trunk. With the trunk open, I hit the button to close the garage door. As the door lowered, the emergency bypass hit the top of my car and disengaged. Then the door wouldn’t move with the automatic motor.

Being a gara-dummy, I got on top of my car and started poking around on the track above my car. I accidentally put too much pressure on the limit switch (the switch that ensures the the motor stops before the door hits the motor).


It snapped. Plus the door wouldn’t move. In a panic, I googled “garage door repair Schenectady” and called the first number I found, Empire Overhead Doors. Someone picked up, and I explained the situation. He stopped by a few hours after the call.

He didn’t have a replacement limit switch on him, but he assessed the whole garage door situation at my house. He indicated that the base of all of the tracks were eroded and should be replaced. Another issue he found was that my garage door didn’t have a lock or any way to secure the door physically. He temporarily worked around this by lowering the door, securing the motor in the “Closed” position, and unplugging the motor, so that we didn’t accidentally hit the button and lift the door, which would have crashed into the motor. He gave me a very reasonable estimate to do all of the work, and we scheduled a time for him to come back.

When he came back, he had serious difficulty lifting my door. What I didn’t know was that Cassie talked with her dad, who had been working on the house, and indicated concern that the door wasn’t secure. He sealed the door shut with two large nails. The garage guy pulled with enough force, and we heard a nail drop and made nothing of it, since we didn’t know; at that point, the door moved freely. He replaced the tracks, and reordered the limit switch.

About a week later, he replaced the limit switch, I paid him, and the door seemed to be working.

For about 5 weeks, I didn’t use the garage because it became a resting ground for unpacked boxes. Once I finally cleared out the garage, I started using the garage. Sometimes, when I’d open the garage, I’d notice a bit of resistance as the door started moving. One day, the door stopped lifting altogether.

I tried calling Empire again to take a look, but nobody would pick up.

Then I tried fiddling with things. The first thing I noticed was that there was a bent nail rotating in the wall above the door; that was the second nail my father-in-law placed. My observation was that the motor had no problem lowering the door, but it couldn’t lift it.

The problem was well beyond my expertise, so I made an appointment with Murphy Overhead Doors for a Monday afternoon. The window they gave me was 12-4pm, so I took the afternoon off. They didn’t show, and, upon calling at 4:15pm, I learned that they thought the appointment was for Tuesday. Mind you, when the appointment was made, they were the ones who said Monday, and I merely agreed.

After that, I didn’t know what to do. Surprisingly, all of the other numbers I called didn’t pick up and didn’t return my messages. Finally, I got through to Capital Overhead Doors. We made an appointment for a Saturday afternoon, and he came by and fixed the issue, which was a stripped screw drive part. He was in and out in 10 minutes.

Knowing what I know now, all of this could have been avoided if I had just known about the emergency bypass. But, then who knows what kind of issues we would have had with the doors if the tracks hadn’t been replaced.


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