Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garage door repair

One of the springs on the garage door opener broke on Friday morning. Linda opened the garage door and it flew off. At the end of the spring, the wire is bent 90 degrees to form a hook, and that broke off. You can see by examining the broken spot that the wire is cast iron or steel. This is at least the second time this has happened, on these doors, since these are replacement springs. The other door still has the original springs.

So I went to Home Depot to get a replacement spring. They only sell them in sets of two, so I got two. The box suggests that both springs be replaced at the same time. The problem is that there are 7 different "sizes" of springs, and how do I choose the "right" ones for my door? The springs seem to be categorized by the weight of the door. I have two doors -- roughly what, 8 feet by 8 feet? That's not an option, but it's close. The largest size is for 16 ft by 7 ft doors -- that would be like most of the neighbors that have one large door for two cars. But I have two doors, one for each car slot. The size below 16x7 is for 8x7 and 9x7. So I must have doors that are eight 8x7 or 9x7.

Then for the heaviest 8x7 or 9x7 doors, the package lists a 130 lb spring. But since I have wood doors, they may be somewhat heavier, and I expect it is better to error on bigger springs, rather than under-sized ones, so I bought the 140 lb springs.

It took about an hour to remove the old springs and put on the new ones. The new ones come with cables that can be threaded thru the springs so that, if (when) they break, the pieces are "contained", and don't fly all over the garage. I probably had those for the previous set of springs (the ones that just broke), but it seems that I decided to put the cables on the other door, the one with the original springs, from when the house was built. I probably figured that they were more likely to break than the new ones, and it would be better to then be protected with them. Now I have cables on both.

The new springs look to be better designed too. Instead of just the last half of the spring turned 90 degrees for a hook, the new ones tilt out the last two loops of the spring. This should mean less stress on a given point of attachment, and it means there is a complete loop (two!) to thread the cable thru. If it does break, even the little loop should stay put. I still haven't found the piece of the old hook that broke off. It's probably embedded in some wall or ceiling spot in the garage.

Digging more dirt.

In addition, on Saturday, 25 July, I mortared another line of stone onto the rock wall around "the Jungle" where it meets the Bamboo Grove, and then today (Sunday), Lauren and I moved dirt from the big dirt pile (that has accumulated from my various excavations) and put it into the newly dug out area by the Bamboo Grove. I mixed a lot of leaves in with it, to try to increase the organic content and make it better soil. We worked for about 3 hours, digging dirt, moving it, and spreading it out.