When a garage door won’t close or open completely, it’s often because of a problem with sensor lights on the door tracks. Check them for dust and dirt first, and if cleaning them doesn’t work, call a professional.

Rosie on the House

Every year, thousands of Arizona residents email Rosie Romero’s website or call his radio show with questions about everything from how to prevent fires in their chimneys to what to do about the tree roots invading their sewer systems. One of his goals is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.

QUESTION: We have been having trouble getting our garage door to go completely up and down. It will go halfway down, and then it goes up again. The house was built in 1992, and we have an automatic garage door opener. What’s going on?

ANSWER: If you look at the bottom of the track on one side of your garage door, you’ll find it has a sensor with an infra-red light on it about four to six inches from the bottom of the track. That light lines up with a similar sensor light in a track on the other side. Those lights serve as a safety device to keep your door from crashing down on a person or object that may accidentally get into the door’s path.

When the lights get out of alignment, however, the safety device that stops the door from going up and down will be triggered. Possibly something small in the garage may have fallen in front of one of the lights. If not, you may need to adjust the position of the sensors slightly or clean dust or dirt off the sensor glass with a rag or cotton swab. If none of that works, you probably should call a garage door mechanic to check the wiring or replace the sensors.

Q: A couple of my neighbors recently bought some space-age kind of foil for about $1,500 and stapled it up in their attics as extra insulation. They spent about $1,500 on it, but they claim that they have cut their air conditioning bills by 15 to 20 percent. What is this stuff and can it work? I’d like to do something to cool off my garage which seems to get really hot.

A: What you’re talking about is radiant barrier insulation. It can work for a while, but only as long as you can keep it dust-free. Ask your neighbors how often they plan to go up in the attic to dust it off. And if you have an air conditioning bill of about $200 a month in summer, it will still take years for that insulation to pay for itself. If you want to cool off your garage periodically to work out there once in a while, it would be more cost-effective to buy one of those portable, roll-around evaporative coolers.

Q: I recently had my roof redone and now dust seems to be blowing into my house from the heating and air conditioning vents. I keep changing the filters on the air intakes, but that doesn’t seem to help very much. Is there some kind of a separation between my air ducts that is pulling in dust from the attic?

A: You’re right about possibly having a problem with your ductwork. You need to have the integrity of the ducts checked out to make sure they are intact and properly sealed. Excess dust seems to be entering into your system.

It’s hard to say whether the roofing job had anything to do with it. Although, if you have a roof-mounted heat pump on your home, the roofers would have had to raise that pump up to re-roof under it. In doing so, it is possible the ductwork inside the galvanized elbow has disconnected and the integrity of those ductwork connections would most definitely be a source of dust invasion.

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) and -FM (97.1) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 1-888-767-4348.