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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Garage Door Trouble? My Amazing Experience with American Door Systems and Controls
My heart sank the other night when I pushed the garage door button to close it before locking up and turning out the lights. As the door closed, I heard a horrible crunching sound. I opened the kitchen door and looked out to see the garage door pressing down on the back of my car--I had left it slightly under the garage door because a couple bins of apples were in the way from our apple harvest. The opener that moves the garage door had continued pressing down so hard that the top panel of the door had been ripped open by a metal bracket that kept moving into the door. Another panel was warped. The beam that holds the garage door opener looked bent. I figured everything was ruined and needed to be replaced, and guessed that it would cost $2000 or so. I was mostly worried about the car, but it was unscratched, amazingly. Thank goodness for shocks.
With three sons in college and a fourth going back to BYU in January (he just returned from a two-year mission in Taiwan) and several people around us needing financial help, and with the largest tax rise in history about to take place in January (ouch! don't do it, Steve!), and with some other demands on our resources, I was worried about facing a huge bill for my stupidity in wrecking the garage door. (To be fair, the boys all have great scholarships and hardly cost us anything, but we do help a little.)
I called ADS (American Door Systems) as a somewhat random selection after Googling garage doors in Appleton, WI. Am I glad I did! Norman came over that day and explained a lot of things to me -- I love it when skilled people can teach and explain what's happening. He helped me understand why we've had problems with the door for years, and some of the errors that others had made in installing it and then repairing it. He also explained that he could take advantage of another repair job to get door panels for me at no cost. He also showed me how the trolley had been damaged, but not the beam, and told me the most cost effective route would be to order that part myself from Sears, but he could do it if needed.
A couple days later, I had the part and he had the panels, and so today he came by and installed it. He again explained a lot of things to me and helped me understand more about the door and its maintenance. He got everything looking and operating great. I was expecting all sorts of charges besides his time in the bill, but was amazed to see that he only charged me for his time. In fact, he only charged for part of his time, being a little too tight with his chronology. After all he did for me, he only asked for $65. I was flabbergasted and told him he was being unfairly generous. I wrote him a check for a lot more than than, but it was still under 10% of what I thought the cost would be, and far far less than I would have paid anywhere else, I 'm sure.
You probably won't be this lucky to have expensive replacement parts provided for free, but I'm willing to be you'll be delighted with the expertise and professionalism of Norman if you have him do your door. He's a real expert, dedicated to high quality and safety, and is just too kind for his own good. Please don't let him get away with undercharging you!
Now the garage door opener is set so that the door stops its descent after only a light force is encountered. Before it could have seriously hurt someone, or ripped the door to pieces before it stopped if something like a car was in the way.
When you do get a new door, make sure you get the higher quality springs that Norman always uses (springs that can last for roughly 20,000 cycles). They last much longer. And make sure each door has two springs to support it, not just one. Much safer when a spring finally fails.