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Why Your Sliding Doors Require Routine Maintenance (And How to Care for Them)

What if the difference between a confrontation with an intruder and a safe, restful night of sleep was something as simple as cleaning debris from your sliding door? Or if the difference between losing your dog in traffic and getting out of the door in time to catch her was simply reinstalling your sliding doors properly? 

If your sliding  door is left without maintenance, it is liable to  get caught on a faulty track or built up debris  without you even realizing it. That could mean someone mistakenly leaving it open  just enough to catch a burglar’s attention, or getting it stuck closed to prevent you from getting out in time for any event you wouldn’t want to miss—whether that’s catching an escaped pet or witnessing a shooting star. 

It’s easy to overlook the little things as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy worker bee lives. That’s why we want to make sure you keep your home safe by letting you in on some basic precautionary steps you can take immediately.

How Your Sliding Doors Could Get Damaged 

The truth is, it doesn’t take much for your sliding doors to get stuck or damaged. One of the primary causes leading to damage is simply prolonged use. The longer and more often you use them, the more wear and tear they accumulate. It’s also a common problem for dust and dirt particles to get caught inside the track, making it difficult to open or close the door. This really takes a toll on the rollers and has a high probability of leading to a need for professional repair. 

The important thing is that you address any minor issue as soon as you can, because the longer you leave a problem with your doors unresolved, the more likely it is to graduate to a much more serious situation. Using the doors while there is damage can also exacerbate the problem, so it’s best to keep use to a minimum until you can tend to them.

Installation & Inspection

Thankfully, while it doesn’t take much to run into a problem with your sliding doors, it also doesn’t take much to maintain them to avoid any problems altogether. One of the first things you should do that can help prevent any cause for concern is perform regular inspections

If you notice the door struggling to operate properly or any misalignment on the track, you know you’ll need to act. Should you run into this kind of situation and repair it quickly, the problem might still persist. In this particular instance, it is likely the result of having been installed incorrectly to begin with, so  you may want to try the installation process again. Make sure when you are inspecting your doors to use them gently so you don’t cause any unnecessary harm to the tracks or glass.

Regular Cleaning

For most people, a regular cleaning will do the trick to keep doors in good condition. Depending on where you live and how often you use them, you may need to clean them more or less frequently. If you live near the ocean, for example, the salt and humidity can lead to damages on your doors’ exterior,  so best practice would be to clean them once a week. For most people, aim for once a month at least. 

To clean the doors, just wipe the frame inside and out which will help  protect them against weather damage. Be sure to avoid any harsh chemicals as they can harm the finish on your frame. Just start with a regular dusting followed by warm water and a little soap.

A lot of wear can come from bits of fallen food, dirt and mud brought in from shoes, or even just pet hair landing on the track. There’s also rust, grime, and debris that gets blown in from the outdoors. You’ll want to clean your track and rollers monthly for proper maintenance. 

First vacuum out any of the junk that’s lodged in the track, then use a screwdriver, wire brush, hanger, butter knife, or whatever you have handy that will  fit inside the divots to scrape out anything the vacuum didn’t pick up. Be sure to pay special attention to the wheels as anything that gets caught inside might be easy to miss. Afterwards, use the warm water and soap solution from earlier to clean off the leftover dirt and an old toothbrush will make for a good finisher.

Lubricate the Tracks 

Finally, make sure door opens and closes smoothly by lubricating the tracks. You’ll prevent running into a sticky situation where your doors are tough to open or close fully and you can sleep sound at night knowing those sliding doors are keeping you safe. Lubrication will allow the wheels to  run easily across the track, but make sure you focus on the bottom wheels as they will require more attention than the top since most of the weight is resting on them.

If you have it handy, a silicone lubricant is your best bet. Just apply using a clean cloth or rag. Since not everyone has access to silicone lubricant, a  mix of baking soda and white vinegar will be just as effective. You can put it in a squirt bottle to make it easier to use. Be careful not to use too much or the floor around it might cause someone to slip. It’s important to wipe away any extra lubricant that leaks away from the tracks and keep use toa minimum. Once you’ve applied the lubricant, it’s time to use the door—open and close it a few times to get that lubricant in every crack and crevice so you can be certain it’s going to slide with ease.

You may also want to lubricate the door locks and handles from time to time. A light spray of WD40 should suffice. Keep in mind, the lubrication process should come after cleaning and never before or it will do more harm than good. If you have aluminum tracks, lubrication is not necessary and can create other issues that are much more severe, so we would avoid using it at all costs. Aluminum tracks don’t rust, so a light cleaning is plenty.

Additional Maintenance

If you’ve gone through the above process and your door still isn’t cooperating with you, you’ll need to hire a professional. When replacing your sliding doors, it’s worthwhile to have your locks checked as well. 

Not only can Pop-A-Lock rekey and replace your locks, we’ll even do a security audit to make sure your home is safe– from your locks to sliding doors to the lighting outside your home. Afterall, your safety is our number one priority! For all your locksmithing needs, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help.

Safe Travels: How To Secure Your Luggage

Now that travel is ramping up again, you may be planning a trip sometime in 2022. If you are, you’ll want to make sure you know everything about keeping your luggage safe. The fear of losing luggage can be daunting, but we’ve provided some tips to help you along the way. With the following suggestions, you’ll be able to keep valuable items safe and make sure your luggage makes it to your destination in one piece.

Pack Lightly

Less is more, especially when weighing the risk of losing items. Avoid bringing highly valuable or sentimental items. Take staple clothing items that you can wear interchangeably. For most travel purposes, you’ll only need a couple of pairs of shoes. You can find travel sizes of your necessities or get TSA-sized containers to put them in. You’ll also want to learn some suitcase organization tips. If you throw everything into the suitcase without care, you won’t have any idea if your luggage has been tampered with! Add only what you need, and do so in an organized fashion.

Get Creative With Valuables

If you decide to bring any valuables with you, get creative with how you store them. You can hide jewelry in socks, or mix it in with your toiletries. If you need to bring cash with you, tuck it into a book where it will be well concealed. Some have even opted to use empty deodorant containers as vessels for valuables. However, the most reliable place to keep valuables when traveling is in your carry-on. This way, you can keep an eye on them at all times. 

Follow TSA Guidelines

If you’ve traveled before, you’ve surely visited the TSA website to check which items are permitted. You may store liquids in bottles that are 3.4 oz or smaller inside a sealed quart-sized bag within your carry-on. Larger liquid containers can go inside your checked baggage, but it’s recommended to pack lighter with travel-sized containers. 

TSA also defines which locks to use when securing your luggage. TSA-approved locks can be opened with a universal master key. If you don’t comply with these guidelines, they’ll have to cut your lock open. When using the correct lock, the only people getting into your luggage are you and the TSA employees.  

Make Your Luggage Stand Out

If your luggage looks like every other suitcase at baggage claim, you run a much greater risk of losing it. The last thing you want is someone else walking off with your luggage because it’s identical to theirs. To help your luggage stand out, you can tie a colored ribbon around the handle or add stickers from your favorite vacations. In addition, you should always have luggage tags filled out on each bag or suitcase you use to travel. If your suitcase or bag does get misplaced, having a luggage tag is the most efficient way for someone to get it back to you.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Common sense tells us we should keep our luggage in sight at all times. The reality of this is, it’s easier said than done. If you travel with a carry-on, have it in your hands or your lap while you wait for the plane. If you take the tram to get across the airport, stay aware of what’s happening around you. Avoid looking down on your phone. Be careful in crowded spaces and hold tight to your items when you bump into people. This is an easy way for thieves to grab your bags without you noticing.

Track Your Luggage

As crazy as it may sound, you can buy a tracker to place in your suitcase and track it with your phone. It’s like you’re a secret agent all of a sudden! Be sure to read reviews on trackers, as some may work better than others. If your luggage ends up lost or stolen, a suitcase tracker will save you a lot of time and stress. Plus, you get to have a little fun in the process.

Purchase Travel Insurance

When in doubt, travel insurance is always a great option. Not only will travel insurance protect you from any health issues or injuries while you’re out of town, but it’ll also reimburse you for missing luggage, unlike most airlines. However, as with all insurance policies and documents, be sure to read the fine print. Every insurance company varies in its maximum coverage amount. If you’re traveling with valuables, you’ll want to be sure the insurance will cover those as well. Some travel insurance policies also result in a deductible when your luggage is misplaced. In most cases, it’s still worth it to purchase insurance.

Traveling can be stressful, but that shouldn’t take away from the fun. Packing lightly, tagging your luggage, and investing in travel insurance are only a few of the ways to keep your luggage secure. Pop-A-Lock is here to help you worry less and explore more in 2022 with these simple tips.