A properly installed garage door should give you many years of trouble free service without concern of injury or damage to property. Garage doors are largest & heaviest moving objects on a home & they do have the potential for serious injury. Garage door safety is mostly a simple matter of being alert & aware & taking steps to avoid potential problems.
Garage Door Safety & Children
My first piece of advice is to NEVER let children use a garage door as a common entrance & exit door to your home, especially when a garage door is older than 10 years old. At about 10-15 years of normal use a garage door spring is at the end of it’s 10,000 cycle life.
If a garage door is open when a garage door spring breaks & someone is underneath there WILL be a serious injury. In my 20+ years in this business I have replaced countless broken garage door springs. Most of the time a spring will break when the door is down & under the most tension, but that is not always the case.
I’m not saying you should never let them go in & out of a garage door. Just why makes a practice out of it when knowing one day the spring will brake & it may happen when the door is open.
Garage Door Opener Wall Buttons
The button that turn on the garage door opener should be above 5′ or out of reach of a small child. This is building code in some areas. If wiring to the remote button is difficult to rerun the major brands have wireless wall remotes that can be installed provided the garage door opener isn’t to old. I was reading about a child that got crushed under a door. She likely closed the door & tried to run out. Fortunately this shouldn’t happen with modern systems because of the safety sensors at the bottom of the door.
Kids Will Be Kids (of course we would never of done these things when we were kids)
- Holding on to the door & riding it up the top while it opens (properly set pressure sensitivity will defeated this).
- Racing to get out before the door closes.
- Placing your sisters bike below a closing door.
- Getting fingers pinched in-between two panels while the door is closing.
- Using the cable for a bow & arrow.
Garage Door Safety Check List
- Do a garage door opener reversal test. A simple way to do this on the closing side is to place a block on the ground in the path & see if it stops & reverses. This is a safety feature that stops the door when an object like a car or person is in the path of the door closing. It will also stop it on the way up, if for example it comes off the track. New models adjust automatically during installation set-up. Older models have up & down dials. Have an assistant press the opener button & try to stop the door with your hands. If you can’t stop it turn the dial down. Do the same going the opposite direction.
- Check proper torsion spring tension/counter balance. With the garage door opener disconnected (pull the red disconnect rope). The door should raise & close easily. When all the way open check for any slack in the cable. If there is slack in the cable it may come off the drum. Beware, if the cable comes off the drum because the pressure sensitivity wasn’t set properly you will probably damage your door. This is very important-call me & I will add tension to the spring for a minimum service call. While I’m there I will do an inspection & do any minor alignments for no extra charge.
- Are there frayed cables, loose bolts & loose bottom brackets?
- Look for improper alignment. With the door closed are the tracks parallel with the door? With it all the way open are the tracks above parallel
also? Are there any unusual gaps in-between the door & tracks?
- Is there any binding when the door goes up & down?
- Check for excessive wear in the rollers. Especially the bottom roller. The bottom roller is under the most stress & if this comes off the bottom panel will come off the track.
- Keep items like brooms out of the way of the track that will obstruct a garage door. I have seen this derail garage doors several times.
Garage Door Security & Theft Protection
- Leaving the remote control to your garage door operator in your automobile can be an invitation to a thief to enter your home. Just like leaving the key to your home in plain view.
- A very basic simple tip: remembering to keep your garage door closed can help you protect your home and property. If you must have your garage door open, lock the pass door between the home and the garage.
- Have your garage door monitored by a security system just as you would any other door or window in your home, and/or install a garage door monitoring system to help you remember to close your garage door. LiftMaster garage door openers have a app for their doors so you can tell the status of your garage door & you can open or close it across town also.
- By adding a motion-sensing exterior light outside your garage, unwanted guests are less likely to attempt entry into your garage at night.
- If you wish, frosting your garage door windows (if applicable) will obscure visibility into your garage.
Squeaks & rattles are normal but binding & sticking isn’t. The page on Garage Door Maintenance will give you more information on taking care of your garage door & things to look out for.
If you have any questions, as always, feel free to call me or post a question below. I will answer all question, even those of you repairing your door yourself.