Your garage door uses a system of pulleys, gears, springs and tracks to automatically open and close the door. When these systems operate in unison, they tend to operate flawlessly and without much trouble. However, as pulleys become worn, lubrication wears thin and springs lose their tension, the garage door system may experience a slowdown in its operational speed. But before you can begin to diagnose the problem, first you need to define the word “slow”.
Residential garage doors are not high speed doors and aren’t meant to open and close at a fast rate, in contrast to commercial garage doors. The average speed of a residential garage door is around seven inches per second—in other words, every seven inches the garage door moves up or down equals one second of operation time. That translates into roughly 12-15 seconds of operation time to open or close the garage door. You can time your garage door and if it takes longer than 15 seconds to open or close, you may need to have your garage door serviced to help get it back up to speed.
In some cases, garage openers have a speed setting switch located inside of the housing on the opening mechanism. This adjustment speed switch is often factory preset to the lowest opening speed. Your owner’s manual should tell you how to adjust the speed or if you’re unsure, call a garage door mechanic to help you make the adjustments.
More often than not, if a garage door is running slowly, it’s because of the track, roller brackets and hinges need lubrication. A few drops of penetrating oil on these moving parts can make all of the difference when it comes to opening and closing speed. If you’re still unsatisfied with the speed of your garage door, you can increase the opening speed by installing a special opener.
According to Jim Norman of Overhead Door Company of Central Jersey, “There are garage doors that will open up 50 percent faster than a conventional garage door opener, however, most of them take longer to close. When a door is moved quickly, it has to be slowed to a gradual stop and as the door travels upwards, there is plenty of room for that. As the door closes, it has to travel slowly to allow the sensors to activate in time to stop the door from accidentally closing on something or someone”.
There are industrial style garage doors that can move faster which will traverse the opening of a residential garage door in about two seconds. However, the cost of these types of garage doors are 10-15 times the cost of a residential garage door. Industrial style aesthetics also aren’t pleasing enough architecturally to be used in a residential setting.
If your garage door is opening and closing too slowly, it’s best to call in the services of a garage door mechanic to inspect each part of the garage door system in order to troubleshoot its slow speed. The majority of “slow moving door syndrome” is caused by a simple lack of maintenance and can be repaired quite simply by a qualified garage door repair person.