Garage Door Safety

Regular home maintenance includes inspecting and maintaining your garage door and opener.

To avoid injury and maintain functionality, the garage door and safety components should be checked monthly. A quick check will identify potential issues that can be resolved before the door gets further damaged or someone gets hurt.

  1. Number one, of course, is safety. The opener has two devices that will stop the door as it closes, and open back up. One test should be conducted with a 2×4 lying flat on the ground, and allowing the door to close on the 2×4.  If the door does not reverse, it should be adjusted or replaced to prevent a child or animal from getting trapped beneath it. Be careful; Testing this safety feature may result in damage to the door. Be ready to pull the disconnect cord at the first sign of buckling or motor strain sounds. For a short video clip showing how this is done, click the following link: To test the light beam, simply block the light beam with your foot. The door should reverse. The beam and sensor should be within 6″ of the floor.
  2. Check the spring. Pull on the release cord and try to open the door by lifting it. The spring should be adjusted to counter the weight of the door. You should be able to open the door using normal human strength, and the door should stay open. Do not attempt to adjust the spring by yourself because the risk of injury is too high.
  3. Look at all of the hinges, cables, nuts and bolts for loose fittings or rust. Check to see that the opener chain is not too loose. Minor repairs and adjustments here are DYI projects if you want to try this on your own.
  4. Is there another way to get into the garage besides the big door, such as a service door or door from the garage into the house? Some detached garages lack service doors. If the power goes out or the opener is broken, a garage door emergency release cable should be installed. They are very easy to install, and cost about $20 at any home center.
  5. Check the weather-stripping at the bottom of the door for gaps that can let snow and vermin in. The original product is usually short or simply worn out. An adult mouse can get through a gap as small as a dime. Plan on spending between $170 to $490 to have it replaced.