Friday, March 25, 2016

Maintaining Your Home's Automatic Security Gate System

Your home’s security gate provides protection, but it’s also the main entrance to your property and residence. Routine maintenance will ensure the gate works reliably while also looking it’s very best. Also, there’s a good chance your gate’s warranty benefits are based on the premise that the gate will be maintained on a regular basis. Failure to observe recommended maintenance could compromise the warranty.

SAFTEY NOTE: It’s always best to err on the side of caution so please cut the power to your gate before performing any maintenance to avoid injury or gate malfunctions.

Tips For Maintaining Your Home Security Gate

1. Take a Lesson From the Installer. When the security gate installation is complete, meet up with your installer and have them give you a short tutorial on basic gate maintenance. They can show you the gate maintenance basics and will also train you in some simple trouble shooting matters so you don’t have to rely on professional repairs for more minor problems.

2. Read the Manual. Once the gate was installed, the installer should have left a copy of the gate’s operation manual with you. It will have a section on basic maintenance that is specific to your gate. While we can provide a list of generalities here, you are best off reviewing the maintenance steps recommended for your particular gate. Failure to do so could affect your gate’s warranty.

3. Pay Extra For a Solid Warranty. Speaking of warranties, it’s worthwhile to research the warranty options available to you when purchasing a new gate or looking into a replacement. It can be worth it to pay a little more for a gate with a more solid maintenance warranty. While you’re still responsible for routine maintenance tasks, larger repairs or malfunctions will be covered and that can pay for itself in the long-run.

4. Keep Them Clean. To look their best, clean the automatic gate every month or so to prevent the accumulation of dust and debris that will dull the gate’s appearance. Most gates are coated with heavy-duty, corrosion-preventative finishes, but the more dirt and grime that accumulates, the more moisture can settle onto the finish. This will slowly break down the coating, which leads to rust and corrosion. Have the gate re-coated if you notice any signs of peeled, flaking or missing paint.

5. Lubricate the Hinges. Hinges bear the brunt of the workout in terms of daily wear-and-tear so they need a little attention from time to time. Well-oiled metal parts work more smoothly and efficiently, but that lubrication also acts like a water repellent, which minimizes the hinges/joints vulnerability to rusting. Different hinges may require different types of lubrication so – again – referring to your manufacturer’s recommendations is always the best bet. In most cases, you’ll need a standard grease gun and a tube of heavy grease. Look for “zirk fittings,” or the grease fittings – and insert the end of the grease gun there. Pump grease into the fitting until it begins to ooze out. You can do the same thing at any hinge-pin locations. 

6. Grease the chains. If your driveway gate is a slide model, relying on a chain, use axle grease to lubricate the chain at least once a year, perhaps twice if it looks like it needs it. If the chain is sagging more than an inch or two, it probably needs to have its tension adjusted.

7. Beware of pests. Homeowner’s mistakenly believe their automatic security gates are pest-proof since they’re made of metal. However, snail and slug tracks can wreak havoc on a gate’s circuit boards because their dense slime trails harbor moisture and then act like electrical conductors. Similarly, dense spider webs and cobwebs soak up moisture. This moisture will wick up the web fibers and make contact with gate materials and components, leading to unnecessary rust and corrosion. 

Not interested in doing all of the security gate maintenance yourself? No problem. Give us a call here at R&S Door and we’ll be happy to do it for you. We can set you up with a gate maintenance service contract, which ensures your gate receives the TLC required for an optimal lifespan. (925) 671-7606.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to Avoid Loading Dock Injuries

Your loading dock is an integral part of your business, regulating the flow of shipments and deliveries. It’s also one of the busiest building hubs. Without proper maintenance, education and training – employees are at risk for injuries ranging from lower-back, shoulder and neck injuries, to slip and fall accidents, and some of the more serious injuries that can as the result of fork lift scenarios gone wrong.

Avoid Loading Dock Injuries With These 7 Tips

The following tips can help to make sure your loading dock is as safe as it is efficient.

1. Observe regular safety meetings. Safety meetings are typically greeted with a roll of the eyes and a groan. The last thing a busy company needs is another meeting, right? In fact, those Friday morning safety meetings – or whatever day/time works best for your company – are integral to the health and well-being of your employees – and the company’s bottom line. Not only does it offer a chance for employees to refresh their memory in regards to your company’s safety guidelines and protocols, it helps to foster a company safety culture, which goes a long way in preventing injuries. When education, training, and weekly safety meetings are routine, workplace injuries are reduced.

2. Keep the paint fresh. The edges of your loading dock should be painted with bright, visible, reflective colors. Sometimes, the business-as-usual mentality can result in faded or missing paint that goes un-noticed because everyone is used to the lay of the land. Make it a point to have the edges of your loading dock repainted on a regular basis so it always looks as bright as new.

3. Post signage. While loading dock personnel have an innate respect and understanding for safety regulations, guests, pedestrians and passersby may not realize how dangerous the area is. Post signage letting passersby know that large, heavy equipment, trucks and trailers are in use. Use verbiage indicating that large trucks and heavy equipment may improperly neglect to yield for them. Again, brightly-painted boundaries and edges will indicate the “safe areas.” Safety lighting is also important for cloudy days and/or the late-night and early-morning hours.

4. Review forklift safety. Forklift falls off a loading dock are one of the most dangerous, possible loading dock accidents – and can result in a workplace fatality. Only OSHA-trained and authorized employees should be allowed to operate powered hand trucks, hand jacks or forklifts. Keep the area safe for forklifts and employees by mitigating wet, icy or slippery conditions that can cause a forklift to continue moving when the brakes or locks are activated, being aware of tail swing, maintaining a safe distance from the edge of loading dock (See #2) and maintaining clean, clear work surfaces.

5. Keep the area clean and clear. Even the smallest amount of debris, grease or oil, moisture or ice can lead to serious injuries. Maintain a clean and clear area in and around loading docks. Spread absorbent materials on spills that cannot be avoided until they are cleared. If chemicals or toxins have been spilled, use caution tape, cones and relevant signage to clearly secure the area and isolate it until it can be remedied. Always move slowly and cautiously over and around slippery areas that cannot be avoided.

6. Protect the people. Protect the individuals and personnel who need to move through and around the loading dock area by using padding or guards on sharp corners. Safeguard open dock edges by using dock barricades. Review warehouse ergonomics and make sure that conveyor heights are adjusted properly, that heavier products are stored at knee- to chest-high levels and that employees are provided with proper safety equipment so they can complete required tasks with the lowest level of risk. Keep an eye on pallets and inspect them regularly, moving products on compromised pallets to safe pallets.

7. Conduct routine inspections. Create a routine inspection procedure to prioritize safety at all times. Some of these inspections will occur daily or multiple times per day. Others may only be required weekly, by-monthly or quarterly, depending on a product’s or equipment’s manufacturer’s instructions.

Worker comfort and safety should always be the top priority of any warehouse, industrial building or manufacturing plant. These 7 tips will help. For more information, contact your local OSHA safety representative.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Benefits of a Well-sealed Garage

Spring is almost here and that means the return of warmer, dryer weather. But, you know what they say: March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, so we haven’t seen the last of blustery winter weather yet. 

Garage door seals are instrumental in protecting your garage from moisture infiltration as well as cold drafts that affect the interior of your home. Once warm weather hits, you’ll also appreciate a well-sealed garage door because it will help to keep the garage a more habitable place.

5 Benefits of a Well-Sealed Garage Door

Garage door sealing is cheap and easy. It’s a simple DIY chore that should only take you an hour or two at most – depending on how far you live from your local hardware store. Remember that a well-sealed door requires high-quality materials and correct installation. If you aren’t up to the task, never hesitate to contact a garage door installation company who will gladly get the job done for you.

The following are some of the benefits of keeping your garage door seals (also called weather stripping) in good shape.

1. Reduced utility bills. As mentioned above, a leaky garage is more susceptible to outdoor temperature fluctuations. A super-cold or super-hot garage space will slowly affect the interior temperature of your home. While insulated walls do their best, there’s no way to permanently stop the laws of thermodynamics. Thus, living spaces attached to the garage – including the floors above – can experience temperature fluctuations if your garage door seals are shot. This will result on more wear-and-tear on your HVAC unit and increased energy costs.

2. Reduce garage door malfunctions. The more the mechanical components are exposed to moisture and debris, the more likely they are to malfunction. The garage door track can get clogged up by larger dust and dirt particles, leaf materials and so on. Water can cause electrical components to short out. Even something as simple as a small pile of leaf and twigs can prevent the door from shutting all the way or will throw the lasers off, causing your automatic door to open back up. If you’ve already driven away, this can leave your garage – and your home – more susceptible to thieves and vandals. By sealing the door, you minimize the amount of water and debris that can come in or affect door function.

3. Reduce service calls and repair bills. Some garage door malfunctions can be corrected or repaired by the homeowner, others are best left in the hands of the professionals. Excess wear-and-tear as the result of heavy debris accumulation, rust and/or corrosion will lead to increased customer service calls and higher repair and replacement costs.

4. Improve interior comfort. While the idea of a swanky garage man cave is appealing, it’s simply not a realistic goal for most homeowners who need their garage space for a variety of purposes. That isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy hobbies or a little game time in a garage corner though, right? Sealing the garage door will make it more comfortable to enjoy your garage year-round for yourself, family and friends.

5. Protect items stored in the garage. It goes without saying that if water, moisture, dust and debris can get into your garage, they can also affect the contents stored within. Your shovels and rakes may not mind so much but your car, toys and other electronic or mechanical equipment sure will. The last thing you want to do is replace a bunch of tools or expensive toys damaged as the result of old or deteriorated garage door weather stripping.

High-quality garage door seals should last for several years so a little work now will pay off for a long time to come.

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Make your Garage Green

Are you looking to build a LEED certified home? Or do you simply want to renovate your own garage to make it a little more eco-friendly? There are several things you can do to make your garage “green” and they range from features that improve the interior air quality of your home, to choosing high-quality, durable residential garage products that keep you from repairing and replacing the garage door and hardware, reducing demands for energy-consuming product manufacturing.

Also, green upgrades have a positive return of investment because they make your home more attractive to future homebuyers.

7 Things You Can Do to Make Your Garage More Green

Here are seven things you can do to make your garage more green.

1. Make it detached. If you are building a new home, consider detaching the garage. In the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide, “avoiding detached garage if possible” is one of the top recommendations for building a green home. This is because even with a well-sealed access door, it’s almost impossible to keep car fumes and other toxic chemical fumes (depending on what you store in there) from permeating the home. This leads to compromised interior air quality, which can cause respiratory problems and low-grade symptoms that many homeowners are oblivious to unless the toxicity is so severe that the CO detector goes off.

2. Insulate the garage. In an effort to save money, and because garages were never considered “livable,” most contractors avoid insulating the garage. The problem with this is two-fold. First, if your garage is attached, an uninsulated garage can keep the temperatures lower or higher in the rooms adjacent to the garage, depending on the time of year. Second, if you work or hang out in your garage often, odds are you use some type of portable heating or cooling system, which increases your home’s energy consumption. An insulated garage mitigates these issues and you can even include an HVAC system vent - or set your garage on its own zone - that can be adjusted for when the garage is in use.

3. Select an insulated garage door. The cost difference between uninsulated and insulated garage doors is negligible, but the benefits are multi-fold. An insulated door will maintain a more consistent temperature inside the garage – better for occupants and your attached home’s interior.

4. Up the daylighting ante. Use solar tubes, a skylight and ample windows, especially if your garage serves as a shop, hobby or hangout spot. This will decrease the amount of energy used to illuminate the space during daylight hours.

5. Invest in durable products. Compare lifetime costs, in addition to first-time costs, when selecting a new garage door. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, odds are this will require more maintenance, repairs, repainting and replacement over the years. All of those things use more energy and resources. Choosing a higher-quality, durable garage door means you can enjoy a single garage door for a lifetime, and that’s a very eco-friendly step to take.

6. Use weather stripping and sealing products. To prevent drafts, which cause temperature fluctuations and the accumulation of dirt and debris inside the garage, make sure your garage door has adequate weather stripping and sealing products in place. Inspect them annually and repair or replace them when they are notably damaged or worn.

7. Choose eco-friendly products. Some garage doors are considered more green than others. If you are purchasing a wood garage door, make sure the wood used by the manufacturer is FSC certified, meaning it was harvested sustainably. You can also specify paint and finish products that are low-VOC, so they don’t release as many volatile compounds into the environment or your interior living spaces.

Contact R&S to discuss green options and upgrades for your residential or commercial garage door. We’re always happy to go over your options and can provide a free estimate for your consideration.