The garage door is an aspect of the home we often take for granted. You may only use it a few times per day, such as on the way to and from work, which is why the general maintenance and safety often go overlooked. And while it’s understandable, this is certainly not a good practice, after all, this is the largest moving part in your home! Therefore, misuse can pose serious threats to the safety of your home, automobile, and worst of all, your family.
10 steps to ensure safe use of your garage door
1. Keep Children away when opening and closing
Garage doors are massive, moving objects and can cause serious harm, even death if a malfunction occurs. While many of today’s garage doors come with safety features to avoid doors closing onto objects and people, it is always better to be safe than sorry – see checklist item #6.
2. Keep remotes away from children
It’s a best practice to teach children early and often not to play with garage door remotes or anything else involving the door and opener. Wall mounted remotes should be placed at least 5 feet above the ground and away from a child’s reach.
3. Know when your remote is malfunctioning
Most people hit the remote or wall button repeatedly if the door doesn’t open on the first try – this is not advised. If the door doesn’t open on the first attempt, there is something wrong! First, try releasing the door and lifting it manually. If you can’t open it, call a professional to fix your door. If the door opens smoothly, the fault lies in the opener and it would be good to get us out to service the opener, as it is not functioning properly. Improperly functioning openers can cause damage to the garage door or people trying to use them, and hurt the opener’s internal mechanisms.
4. Garage door springs are not DIY
If your garage door springs are broken or need replacement, don’t attempt to make this adjustment yourself. In addition, don’t attempt to operate a garage door suspected of malfunctioning springs. Garage door springs involve a large amount of tension and can cause serious injury if mishandled. This operation is best left to a trained professional.
5. Make sure your garage door is properly balanced
Test for proper balance by manually raising the door to waste height – it should balance without rising or falling. Installing a garage door opener on an improperly balanced door may cause serious injury.
6. Make sure your garage door’s safety precautions are functioning
Modern garage doors have two major safety measures that are crucial to avoid accidental injuries, as well as damage to the door itself when objects are in its path. These features are the reversing mechanism and the safety sensors.
The reversing mechanism will cause the door to bounce back when it comes in contact with an object before the ground. Place a 2 x 4 on the ground and make sure the door bounces back when it contacts the board.
The safety sensors are two lasers that send a beam from one side of the door to the other, if this beam is interrupted, such as a dog running through its path, the door will automatically reverse.
If either of these features are not functioning properly, it is very important to have them fixed immediately by a trained professional.
7. Don’t run under a moving garage door
It’s easy to become too comfortable with your garage door’s movement and many make it a game to try and run underneath the door, hopping over the safety laser, before the door can close. We strongly recommend against any activity of this sort, it is best to stay away from the garage door as it closes. Garage doors are often extremely heavy, a malfunction when under the door can cause serious injury and even death.
8. Know how to use the manual release
The manual release lever is your last line of defense when a garage door goes haywire. Know where the lever is and how to use it. This will separate the door from its chains, stoping motion and giving you control over the garage door.
9. Check maintenance to make sure everything is functioning properly
As mentioned, people often overlook the maintenance of the garage door and garage door opener. There are a few basic steps that should be checked, some only need to be done a few times per year, and some are done annually. A properly maintained garage door mechanism will function as intended, preventing potentially dangerous, avoidable malfunctions.
10. Watch your garage door from open to close
It is important to watch the door, making sure it is fully closed before leaving your home. Considering the above guidelines, there are occasional malfunctions that can happen with your garage door when least expected, therefore, we recommend to always ensure the door is fully open or closed. This step is also very important for the security of your home, burglars often look for an open garage for easy access to your home and valuables.