September 7, 2015 12:41 pm

A few years ago our garage door opener broke. What has me thinking about it now is that the new one wants a new back up battery and has been complaining about it. This has brought back memories of installing a garage door opener for the first time and the “incidents” which soon followed.

I think Sharon must see me as her own personal Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. It started when I replaced the hot water dispenser, then the garbage disposal. Next thing I know, I’m mounting a ceiling fan wondering if in the future, I’ll be responsible for a senseless decapitation. You’ve never seen a ceiling fan with so many mounting screws before. Strange thing though, it spins smoother than the “professionally installed” one in the bedroom. It’s the same model.

When the garage door begins to fail, I take a look at it but it is unrepairable. Sharon asks me if I think I can replace it and I answer that I think I can. I’ve managed to install the ceiling fan, so why not. We head to the hardware store to find a new one, and this is where my “Tool Man” brain kicks in. Looking at the different models, I notice that some are higher horsepower than others. I’m not sure if this is just so they can lift heavier doors, but I’m thinking that the more horsepower, the longer it should last. Sharon wants me to choose one, so I pick a Chamberlain. I can’t remember if it’s the ½ or ¾ horsepower, but it’s probably ¾ or more even. We get the one with the highest horsepower that the store has. As a bonus, it has battery back-up.

The installation goes fairly smoothly. There’s some assembly involved, but the mount from the old opener works with the new one. Pretty uneventful install. The remote built into the car does not work, but Sharon doesn’t care. Peace and harmony have been restored to the abode,  at least for about two weeks.

About two weeks later one of the garage springs snaps. The door is a “raised panel” model and uses two coiled springs to hold the weight of the door as it is pulled up and lowered. When Sharon returns from shopping and presses the button nothing happens. She presses the button again, and again. I really have to hand it to Chamberlain; eventually the darned thing pulls the door open, broken spring be damned.

The other cool feature the new opener comes with is auto-close. There is a button to hold the door open, but Sharon and I have not yet discovered this feature. I’m not sure if Sharon closed the door manually the first time or if it just automatically closed. What I do know is that every time the door slams shut lacking the proper spring tension, it triggers the door opener to raise the door again.

This is a Saturday. I remember this well as I’m still working at the bicycle shop. Saturdays are typically the busiest day of the week. This Saturday is no exception. When Sharon calls, she’s a little bit frazzled. About every five minutes, the door comes down with a crash and then raises again. She has managed to unplug the openers but the battery back-up is working great. I mean, it’s amazing how many times you can get that door open and closed on that thing, especially with the extra weight it has to pull. I manage to talk Sharon through disconnecting the door from the opener until I can get home.

It only takes a few internet searches leading to lists of serious injuries caused by mishandling garage springs to call in a professional. We have him replace both springs. Again, domestic tranquility reigns supreme… for about a week.

I’ve been regularly riding my bike to work. On some Saturdays, Sharon lets me drive her Honda to work. It’s on one of these Saturday’s that Sharon calls me at work about the garage again. The door keeps opening and closing again. It’s not slamming like it was from the springs, but it’s driving Sharon crazy. It’s like the thing is possessed. I start to wonder if maybe it was damaged somehow from the extra stress placed on it a week earlier.

Sharon unplugs the opener. Battery back-up working like a charm. She disconnects the door. Opener continues to move although at least the door stays down. Sharon sounds a wee bit frantic on the phone. Right about the time there is a break long enough for me to ask if I can run home quick and see what is wrong with the door, (Sure is lucky I have the car today so I can do this), Sharon calls back again. It’s okay. It’s stopped. Whatever demons have possessed the thing have moved on, maybe to plague someone’s toaster.

Several minutes later and there’s another call from Sharon. It’s begun again. Evil minions of Beelzebub, be gone thee from the mighty portal of our sanctuary! By the time I return home, Sharon has discovered the cause of this demonic possession. When I ride to work, I usually put the garage remote in my pocket. Sometimes I forget to take it out, but will usually retrieve it before leaving for work since I need it to open the door to leave, that is unless I drive Sharon’s car that already has a remote in it. This Saturday just happens to be laundry day.

Clicker Remote

Chamberlain makes an awesome garage door opener and the Clicker remote that was purchased separately works great too. The washer and dryer couldn’t be further from the garage. You would think that the surrounding metal from the appliances would block the signals. Why the remote didn’t short out from all that water is a mystery to me. The remote still functions after a complete run through both the washer and dryer.

I now use a keychain remote, which is smaller but never gets left in my pocket because for some reason, I always remember to remove my keys from my pocket when I get home.

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This post was written by Tom

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