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Monday, October 15, 2018

Going Old-School with the Garage Door

My upper arms could use a work-out anyway. Our house was built in the late-1970s and has the original electric garage door opener. One problem, the handheld remotes are both broken. We bought a soldering gun several years ago, and I have been soldering a key wire into place, repeatedly. It breaks off, I solder it back on, etc. That worked for years. Not so, this past spring. It broke off and even after soldering it back on, the remote doesn't work. It looks like the contact pad is plain worn out.

For several months, I used the interior switch for the door openers, opening the garage door from inside the garage, backing the car out, getting out of the car, closing the garage door from the inside of the garage, going out a back door of the garage, around the house, and to the driveway. That works, but it was far from convenient.

The remotes are no longer available for our very old model, and now is not the time to buy a new garage door opener and have it installed. So, what to do. My daughter had some time this summer to do some jobs for me. So, she and I picked out some heavy-duty handles from Home Depot's website (for about $7.50 each), she went to the store, then came home and installed handles on both doors. Afterward, she unhooked the brace which attaches the electric opener to the door. We now open and close the garage door just as my parents did when I was a girl, with our muscles. It's actually a good stretch for me everyday. And I think it was a valuable lesson for my daughter to work with me on a workable solution to our problem that would not cost us a bunch of money, and didn't require any expertise to achieve.

So, is this any less inconvenient than using the interior switch inside the garage? I would have to say that the old-school way is slightly better. Obviously, having a working electric garage door would be preferable. But for now, we have a solution with which we're satisfied.


  1. We do get used to technology, don't we? I also grew up using my muscles to open and close the garage door. I think you have a great solution to your problem!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I know I get used to tech stuff all too easily. This week, it's problems with my computer, and I feel at odds not having it work right.
      I hope your week is off to a great start!

  2. A teaching moment. Money saved, who knows there may be a better technology in the near future, so procrastination may have bought time and money (replacing the garage door opener ASAP). Whenever I put off spending money, that's what I tell myself. I'm sure some may not agree. But in a minimalist world we don't need to have everything done just right and right away.

    Have a nice Monday!

    1. Hi YHF,
      I think about that, too, that not doing something right away may result in a better solution at a later time. And this is working for us right now, so that is good.
      Have a great day, YHF!

  3. This is something that I would do and it would make my oldest daughter crazy. She would replace everything. Where did I go wrong?:)

    1. Hi Out My window,
      I think that is the mind-set of our culture, to replace whatever is broken right away. Our society seems to have trouble dealing with the imperfect, and not just in things.
      Thanks for your comments. have a great day!

  4. I remember those days. We had a heavy wooden garage door, and we opened and closed it by hand all the time. I guess the only reason I wouldn't want to go that route these days is that there's no way to lock the door, is there?

    1. Hi Cat,
      There is a solution to locking the door, or so, we've found. We don't do it all of the time, but it is there for when we want to. We use a spare allen wrench, on the inside of the garage door, threaded through a couple of holes, one on the door, and one on the side rail for the door (attached to the frame of the garage opening). This has to be done from the inside of the garage.
      Our doors are pretty heavy, but at least we have two individual doors, instead of one large door.
      I hope your week is going well, Cat!

  5. I wondered too, if there was a way to lock the door. Our garage was built on to our house in the early 90's. It looks like the garage door opener system is probably from the early 90's as well. My husband and I have wondered when that will need replacing. We haven't priced it, but I'm guessing it's costly. Very good idea Lili! I would do that, but I'm not sure I could get my husband on board.


    1. Hi Angie,
      you can lock it, as I told Cat. The solution we found for a lock was extremely simple, and there are likely other types of locks that would work, maybe something that is installed. My camera isn't downloading photos to my computer this week. When I get that worked out, I'll upload a photo of how we "lock" our garage door.
      Have a great day, Angie!

  6. I remember pulling and tugging at my grandparent's garage door! My hubs and I have a different problem with our garage door. We can't find the keys to the "man" door (side door to go in n out of), we've had a rash of break ins lately so we are keeping it locked, only problem is we need to keep a garage door opener in the house to get INTO the garage. We'll be in a pickle if the power goes out and we need to open the (electric) garage doors! It's been 4 weeks and I still haven't located the keys, probably about the time I purchase and install new door knobs with locks and KEYS, we'll find the keys.


    1. Hi Shelby,
      Oh that reminds me of something we did, years ago. Our attic storage has a keyed lock on the door (keyed both sides of the lock). A while back, we misplaced the key. I put it "someplace safe." Only I couldn't remember where that "safe" place was. We went months without access to the attic storage. One day, while cleaning, I did find the key, but it was strange, because I could not recall placing the key in the spot where I found it.
      There is a way to release an electric garage door opener in a power outage. Search online for instructions how to do that (before your power goes out). You can also undo the bolt which holds the bracket that connects the door and the opener.
      Have a great day, Shelby!

  7. This brings back memories of my childhood. Mom and Dad have a single stall garage and whenever we would go somewhere it was the kids' job to pull the garage door down and then when we returned it was someone's job to get out of the car and pull it open. I hated it when it was my turn. A cold, slippery, wet job that none of us wanted to do. Mom and Dad did NOT ever do it.

    One day when I was married we had a two stall garage opener but it didn't work well because it was meant for a single stall garage. We got a better unit and gave mom and dad the smaller unit. They loved it and when that finally died, they went ahead and got a better quality one installed. They surprisingly did not go back to the manual opening and closing method!

    These days we now have a front single door and we also have a rear single stall door, kind of like a drive-through garage! It's old and I don't know how long it will last. I know for sure that it will be replaced if it dies.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Yeah, it was often the kids' job to hop out of the care to open or close the garage door, once we were big enough.
      Oh, that sounds like an interesting set-up for your garage doors. I wonder why the original owners built it like that?
      I hope that your week is off to a good start, Alice!


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