We take garage doors for granted when they work properly and that’s ok. But it’s important to remember that garage doors are heavy and have a number of components that can be dangerous, especially when kids or pets are in the area. It’s a good idea to know what the dangers are so we can avoid any unfortunate accidents. We compiled a list of garage door safety tips for homeowners to protect themselves, loved ones, friends and pets.
Garage Door Safety Systems
By law, garage doors are required to have certain safety features and homeowners are obligated to make sure they work properly. A malfunctioning garage door can be a legal liability when accidents happen so it’s important to understand the safety features of your garage door system and how they work. In addition, make it a habit to test them several times a year so you don’t get any unwanted surprises.
The optical sensor shoots a beam of infrared light from one side of your door to the other to detect an obstruction. If the way is clear and the other side detects the light, the garage door can close. If something is blocking the light like an object, child or pet, the door will not close and flash a warning to let you know.
To test, place a solid object in the path of the beam and try closing the door. It should not close and should flash the light or present some indication that there is a problem. If the door does close, something is wrong and the door should be serviced as soon as possible.
Your door is also equipped with a resistance sensor designed to detect a problem anywhere along the travel of the door. If anything interferes with the proper travel of the door, the door should reverse. This is a critical safety feature because it is designed to prevent crushing something or someone under the door.
Test this feature by putting a 2×4 or similar object on the floor where the door closes. Make sure it is not blocking the optical sensor. When the door closes, it should reverse when it is blocked by the object. If it doesn’t, consult your garage door opener owners manual to make adjustments or call in the pros. This is an important safety and must work properly!
Child & Pet Safety
Children and pets are often oblivious to the dangers that a garage door presents. Therefore, it’s important for homeowners to be keenly aware of kids and pets when operating the door. Here are some recommendations:
- Explain the garage door system and the dangers that come with it to your kids. Point out the dangers of getting trapped underneath. In addition, explain how the door can trap their little fingers between panels.
- Don’t allow children to use the remote or access any wall switches. It may be simple for them to use, but if their friends or pets are in the vicinity they may not be as careful as they should be.
- Teach them not to share the garage door code with anyone. Treat it like a password for online accounts.
- If you have pets, be especially careful. Make sure your pets are in the car or house and out of the area before operating the door.
A power outage can present an inconvenience at best or a lethal situation at worst. If you have no power, operating your garage door becomes a manual process. If you’re in a hurry, like in the case of a wildfire, you better know how to get the door open fast.
Garage door opener systems have a red emergency release hanging down from the garage door opener track. Pulling the handle releases the door from the opener shuttle allowing it to move along the track freely. Make sure the door is closed before pulling the release or have someone help to support the door to prevent damage. If the door falls hard, it’s may be out of balance and require service.
Take the time and consult your owners manual to learn how the emergency release works. If you have physical limitations that make operating the door manually difficult, consider installing a battery backup system so your door can operate during a power outage.
Garage Door Opener Security
Garage door openers are convenient but can also be security risks. Here are some tips to maintain opener security:
- Keep your passcodes a secret. Newer door openers will allow you to create guest and one-time passcodes so you don’t need to change yours when providing access to delivery services and so on.
- Change your code on a regular basis for additional security.
- Unplug your opener when you go away on vacation to eliminate the possibility of anyone getting into the garage.
Garage Door Dangers
Garage doors are complex systems with dangers homeowners should be aware of:
- Garage doors are heavy! Always be careful, especially when the door is in manual mode.
- The area between garage door panels of most door types can crush a finger easily. Always be aware of where your fingers are when opening or closing the door.
- Don’t leave your garage door open any longer than necessary. Thieves roam neighborhoods looking for open garage doors and a quick grab.
We work with doors and openers all the time so safety is always on our minds. On the other hand, homeowners can take their garage door for granted and sometimes forget about the dangers. Stay vigilant with your garage door to protect yourself and others. If you need any service, you can contact us 24/7.