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Garage Door Safety Maintenance

Home Maintenance Tip: Garage Door Safety

Posted on March 11, 2016

Pulling up in the driveway and pushing the remote control to open the garage door is a convenience that most of us expect. Yet, we don’t often think about the safety and maintenance involved with our garage doors. In 2007, there were over 13,000 injuries resulting from garage doors. From 1982 through 2001, garage doors entrapped and killed 66 children under age 15.

Garage doors are typically heavy and operate with spring-tension. Garage door openers operate through a wall-mounted button in the garage or through a remote transmitter. Because of regular use, garage door components and their openers may wear out or become defective over time. Follow these steps to maintain the operation and safety of your garage door:

Perform a visual inspection annually. Look over the various components of your garage door from the interior of your garage. Observe springs, cables, pulleys, rollers and all hardware for signs of wear and tear. Observe the location where garage components are attached into the structure of the garage.

Perform the reversing mechanism test semi-annually. The automatic reversal system is a feature of all residential garage door openers. Put a 2” X 4” board on the ground in the middle of the garage door opening. Press the button to lower the garage door. If operating correctly, the garage door should immediately reverse when striking the 2” X 4” board. If an excessive amount of resistance is required for the door to reverse, then it needs to be repaired immediately.

Perform the photo eye test semi-annually. There are electronic eyes mounted about six inches off the floor of the garage on each side of the door transmitting a beam. Close the garage door. While the door is closing, wave a long object such as a broomstick in front of the photo eyes to break the beam. The garage door should reverse direction and open. If it does not reverse, close the garage door. Clean the photo eyes with a dry cloth and adjust the position of the photo eyes so that they are aligned. Repeat the test.

Perform the balance test semi-annually. Disconnect the automatic garage door opener and lift the door manually. The door should move in a smooth manner without much resistance and remain in place whether fully or partially open. If it does not, then the door may be out of balance.

Apply lubrication on an annual basis. Use lubricant on the garage door tracks, hinges and rollers.

Think like a child. Children and pets are at particular risk for injuries caused by garage doors. Children may think garage door openers are a toy or try to make a game out of running out of the garage before the door closes. It’s best to mount the garage door opener button high on the wall out of children’s reach. Also, keep the remote controls away from children.

Protect your family. If garage door safety features do not work, immediately unplug the garage door opener. Contact a garage door trained technician to make repairs.


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