Angie's List: Lifting the door on garage door upsells
Most people give little thought to their garage door, until they're late for work and the door won't go up. After a frantic call to the repairman, the problem is fixed, but then the contractor tries to sell you additional products or services.
The springs are the workhorse of your garage door. It's not uncommon for one to break, but replacing a spring can be dangerous work, so don't do it yourself.
"If a spring is broken or a cable is broken, that's something that they shouldn't mess with because both of them is under tension and you can get hurt," said garage door expert, Darrell Munchel.
Springs have a designated life-cycle rating - such as 10,000, 25,000 or 50,000. Angie's List says if a company tries to sell you a lifetime spring, ask what that means.
"When it comes to lifetime guarantees on garage door parts, you need to know what you're paying for. Find out exactly what the lifetime warranty covers. For example a warranty on a spring might only be the lifetime of the garage and not the spring itself. Most experts say you should pass on the lifetime warranty upsell," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.
Most garage doors have 10 rollers, but experts say only the broken ones typically need to be replaced.
"You can't really say that if one roller goes bad, they're all bad," said Munchel.
To avoid an unnecessary charge, ask to see the damage if a technician suggests replacing all rollers without inspecting them.
"Just be aware if somebody tells you that something's wrong that they explain or show you why it's going wrong," said Munchel.
If you need a new door, a company might suggest an insulated one.
"Insulated doors cost about $400 more than an uninsulated garage door. Whether you should make that investment is really dependent on your garage and your usage of it. If you spend a lot of time working in your garage, it might be a really good investment," said Hicks.
An insulated door may also make sense if you have an attached garage because it could help lower your heating and cooling costs.
Angie's List says some companies sell maintenance programs that include an annual visit and door tune-up. They typically cost about $80 per year. These programs can be valuable; just don't forget to make your annual appointment.