DASMA Releases Updated Checklist for Inspections

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2006
Author: Joe Hetzel
Page 70


DASMA Releases Updated Checklist for Inspections
Force-Setting Test is Removed; Procedures Streamlined

In June 2006, DASMA updated its 2003 checklist for home inspectors and consumers to use when performing a routine inspection of a sectional garage door and electric opener. The checklist, now posted as TDS 167 at the DASMA Web site, contains several changes based on feedback.

To get the details, we talked to Pat Hunter, chair of the DASMA Commercial & Residential Garage Door Technical Committee, and Barbara Kelkhoff, chair of the Door Operator Committee. These two committees took responsibility for developing the document.

What’s new in this revised checklist?

Hunter: We’ve made it clearer and easier to follow. We’ve also removed the reference to the force-setting test of holding the bottom of the door while it closes.

Why was that test method deleted?

Hunter: Three reasons: (1) The test is not part of UL 325. (2) Some felt that the test was too subjective. (3) We’ve heard isolated reports that the test has resulted in injuries, such as back strains. These reports are rare, but it’s best to stay on the safe side.

The new checklist continues to recommend the 2x4 reversal test. Did you consider adding the use of a roll of paper towels?

Kelkhoff: Paper towel tests are inconsistent and are not a reliable indicator of a correctly maintained system. We continue to follow the UL 325 recommendation to use a 2x4 laid flat. Our committee continues to study alternatives.

What is the importance of the checklist?

Kelkhoff: This checklist can be used when buying a house or when the homeowner wants to review the door operator system. It provides an executive summary of major factors that should not be overlooked in an inspection. Of course, as with any appliance, the owner’s manual will have more details.

Hunter: The checklist is also a helpful way that our industry can promote better and safer use of our products. It’s smart to develop a cooperative relationship with home inspectors and give them industry-approved direction.

How might a dealer best communicate the importance of the use of this checklist?

Hunter: Dealers should offer unbiased assistance to home inspectors and real estate agents in their areas. This is a helpful service, and it’s good business. People in these professions are often asked to recommend local trades.

Kelkhoff: The dealer is our industry’s best asset in communicating the importance of an ongoing review.

Why was it important that the checklist be based on provisions in published standards (e.g., UL 325)?

Hunter: Published standards ensure conformity and safety. Standards are developed from a consensus so that one person or manufacturer does not prejudice the information for their benefit.

Kelkhoff: Safety is everyone’s responsibility—manufacturers, installers, regulatory bodies, inspectors, and homeowners.

If a garage door system fails any of the checklist items, what should a homeowner or home inspector do?

Hunter: The checklist clearly states, “Do not repair or adjust the door yourself. All repairs and adjustments must be done only by a trained door systems technician using proper tools and instructions.”

The door operator system remains the largest moving object in the house. The most complex and dangerous part of a door is the counterbalance tension. This can’t be readily seen, as it is transferred through the door components. Knowing how and where these forces are transmitted is essential when attempting any type of repair.

Routine maintenance such as cleaning and visually inspecting the door is the responsibility of every homeowner. Tackling repairs is best left to those who do it daily. They will have the proper tools and parts to do it safely and correctly.