Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Garage Spring Cleaning

When the season changes from winter to spring, it’s time to do a little spring cleaning and organize your garage so it’s ready for the warm months. Get those winter decorations up and out of the way once and for all. Put away the snowboarding and winter sports gear, and get the summer fun equipment front and center. Finally, it’s time to clear the remaining leaves and debris out of the garage once the winter storms are over.

Tips to Clean and Organize Your Garage This Spring

The following tips will help you clean out your garage and get it organized for spring and summer.

1. Pull everything out. The best way to clean a garage is to make sure it’s empty. Not only does this make it easier to clean, it allows you to create a mental inventory of what you need and what you don’t need from this point forward.

2. Get rid of stuff. If you haven’t organized your garage in a while, this is a perfect opportunity to go through everything and decide what stays and what goes. Typically, professional organizers recommend getting rid of anything that hasn’t been used in a year or two. If you haven’t used something in two whole years, it’s wasting valuable space. Decide whether it makes more sense to donate, sell or trash it. Read our tips for making space in a cluttered garage for ideas on how to organize what’s left.

3. Give it a good cleaning. With everything out and off the garage floor, you’re ready to clean. Sweep the garage from back to front. Use a shop vac if you have one to get every last bit of dust and debris from the corners and edges. While you’re at is, run the vac or a clean broom along garage door tracks to keep them clean and to prevent jamming. Use your broom to sweep the cobwebs from corners and the upper-reaches. Take the time to wash the windows as well. You’ll be amazed at the difference if you haven’t don’t this in a while. You may even want to hose your garage out and use a push broom to get the floor ultra-clean. Let it dry out completely before putting everything back.

4. Check for evidence of leaks or mold. Now that everything is cleared out of the way, and the surfaces are clean, you may notice signs of a leak from the roof, around the windows, or areas the wall that appear damp, moldy or stained. Inspect the area above and around your water heater if it’s stored in the garage. Any signs of a water leak should be addressed immediately, by a plumber or contractor, to prevent further damage.

5. Clear fall and winter stuff out of the way. Make use of rafter space and ceiling or wall-mounting systems to get fall and winter gear off the floor and out of your way. Ideally, your garage floor will only contain the items you use use on a regular basis for the next few months or so. Anything else is taking up space, which creates unnecessary clutter. Just think – enough stuff cleared out of the way and you may even have the space to create a man cave in a corner or section of the garage.

6. Maintenance your garage door. In most cases, everything required to maintain your garage door can be done by you. This includes things like visually inspecting the door and its tracks, cleaning the tracks (as mentioned in #3), lubricating hinges, springs and bearings with a non-silicone lubricant and listening/watching the garage door for signs of imbalance or inconsistent movement. Read, The 1,2,3s of Maintaining Your Automatic Garage Door, for more detailed instructions on DIY garage door maintenance.

Need a little help with an automatic garage door issue? Contact R&S Garage Doors and schedule a consultation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When It's Time to Hire a Professional to Fix your Garage Door

You know the old expression, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…” That is certainly the case with DIY repairs, especially when you’re dealing with expensive items that have voidable warranties. Your garage door falls into that category.

DIY Gone Awry? Maybe It’s Time to Hire a Professional Garage Door Installer

It’s a pretty awesome time to be a DIYer. Between blogs and YouTube videos, you can learn how to do or fix just about anything. The problem is that watching and learning isn’t always enough, especially if the repair doesn’t go quite as you thought it would.

One thing to keep in mind: your garage door came with a warranty. If it’s still under warranty, you may risk voiding it if you take on more than you can chew before enlisting the help of a professional. Even if your garage door is out of its warranty period, you don’t want to the expense of an unnecessary replacement as the result of DIY gone awry.

Read, The 1, 2, 3s of Maintaining Your Automatic Garage Door to read a comprehensive list of DIY maintenance tips you can tackle on your own. If you run into trouble, or your gut tells you you’re in over your head, never hesitate to contact a licensed garage door installer to come in and assess the situation.

The following are signs that your automatic garage door issues are in need of professional help.

· Visible damage to the door or track. If there is visible damage to the garage door and/or its track, there isn’t much you’ll be able to do. In most cases, this will require a full replacement of parts.

· There are broken wires or cords. Not only will they need to be replaced, trying to fix them on your own can result in serious injury via electrocution. Additionally, broken wires can result in a garage door that opens and/or closes suddenly and without warning, which is another safety hazard. If you know how to cut the power to the automatic garage door via your circuit breaker, it’s a good idea to do so. Keep people and pets out of the garage and away from the door, and call a professional immediately.

· Inconsistent door movement. First, cut the power to the garage door or pull the emergency release cord to return the door to its lowered position. Then, visually inspect the door track and laser boxes (located at either side of the base of the garage door tracks). If there is visible debris or obstructions along either track and/or make sure the lasers are aligned. Re-connect the door and see if that does the trick. If not, don’t spend any more time. An erratic door is a safety hazard and should be looked at by the pros.

· It’s making crazy sounds. Again, debris on the track or a lack of lubrication could be the culprit so you can read our, “1, 2, 3s…” blog mentioned above to see if that does the trick. In most cases, though, a loud, grinding, whining and/or screechy noise is a sign that the door needs to be professionally repaired or replaced.

· Sagging sections. Are the sections of your garage door sagging? It could be that the door needs to be balanced. Do a quick “balance test” by pulling the release cord and manually moving the door to the half-way spot. If it stays put, you’re fine for now but should call someone to take a look at the sagging part(s). If it starts sliding up or down, the door needs to be balanced.

· It’s off the track. This indicates a damaged door or a damaged track. In either case, it’s dangerous to mess with a door that’s partway off its track. This is job for the professionals.

Looking for a Bay Area garage door repair company? Contact R&S and we’ll be happy to come take a look. We are available for emergency garage door repairs, 24-7, every single day. Give us a call at (925) 671-7606.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Loading Dock Maintenance

Your loading dock takes a beating day in and day out. Not only does it provide safe accommodation for heavy equipment and trucks, it’s also suspect to the very occasional bangs, bumps and calamities that are bound to happen when a large truck is backed into a narrow space.

Routine maintenance of loading dock parts and equipment is a foundation for keeping the loading bays in your warehouse or manufacturing plant functional, safe and efficient.

Loading Dock Equipment Maintenance 101

The following tips will assist you and your personnel in creating a routine maintenance plan so the equipment has a chance to perform as designed every day of the week. 

1. Keep an organized binder or single-reference-point. If you haven’t done so already, keep a binder with originals or copies of the manufacturer’s instructions and references for every part comprising your loading dock. Many companies keep great records, but they are all filed away into different file folders, at different desks, or are digitally archived under miscellaneous headings. By keeping a single binder in the warehouse office, it will be easy to access those references when you need them. The maintenance records should be housed here as well and old records should be archived and kept for at least 10-years.

2. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Next, you’ll want to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to what parts need what maintenance, at what intervals. Not only do manufacturer’s know best, they are sticklers for details when it comes to warranty claims. By doing what they say to do, when they say to do it, and providing time-sensitive records, any potential warranty claims will be taken care of more efficiently, and with a minimum of hassle.

3. Create a calendar. Now, organize the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions by date and make a note in the calendar. Now your maintenance team will have a schedule to follow, be it weekly, monthly, bi-annually and so on. Use a calendar alert system so key personnel know what needs to happen when. They can consult the binder or maintenance guide for further details.

4. Clean, clean, clean. Cleanliness is key. The addition of spills or debris can result in slip-and-fall hazards or equipment failure that is detrimental to a worker’s health and safety. Always clean and/or remove any noticeable debris, spills or other objects that are out of place. Depending on the activity level of the loading dock in question, this may require hourly attention.

5. Visual inspections. Visual inspections sound simple, but they are an integral part of any loading dock maintenance program. Look for signs of wear-and-tear that may compromise the way a particular part will work. Are dock bumpers maintaining their shape or are the notably worn on one side of the other? Take a close look at the chains, hinges and springs in your mechanical and hydraulic levelers. Examine the tracks and seals around the loading dock doors and make sure the doors are operating safely.

6. Test safety system. From lighting systems to alarms, and trailer-restraint systems – the facility’s safety mechanisms should be tested regularly. Any signs of failure or questionable operation should be addressed immediately.

7. Change light bulbs before they go out. Lighting is a critical component in your loading dock’s safety plan. If a light bulb goes out, you have a potential safety issue on your hands. Know the average lifetime of each light in the loading dock, bay and immediate warehouse vicinity and set up a lightbulb change system. The goal is to replace a bulb before it goes out. Have plenty of replacements on hand so you can replace any bulb that burns out before anticipated.

8. Refresh signs, taped and/or painted lines. It’s easy to ignore fading signage or chipped or missing lines. However, new employees, delivery persons and others are not as familiar with the terrain as your crew, and these lines are integral to safe entrance and egress in and around the loading dock area. Make sure the signs and lines are refreshed regularly so they are bright and obvious in appearance.

Always maintain clear, organized and detailed records of routine maintenance tasks so they can be checked at a moment’s notice. Keeping loading dock maintenance records up-to-date will ensure that even the smallest maintenance items are taken care of in a timely manner, and before they can lead to bigger and more serious issues.