Garage door safety is a serious business. You may never have thought much about your garage door posing a danger to anyone, but the reality is garage doors are large moving objects and can seriously injure or even kill people. With that in mind, below is what you need to know about checking these safety systems to ensure they are ready to protect you and your family.
Ensure Auto-Reversing Features Work as Intended
Garage doors and openers built since the early 1990s have been equipped with multiple safety features. Before this era, dozens of children and other individuals died or were seriously injured in garage doorlowering accidents. Specifically, two safety mechanisms automatically raise the door if they encounter or sense an obstacle.
One such mechanism detects the presence of nearby obstacles through the use of an electric eye. If an invisible light beam is interrupted by a passing object or person, the door will instantly stop lowering and begin to raise back into position. Another mechanism detects resistance while the door is lowering and commands the opener to stop and raise the door in the same way.
While these safety features are generally foolproof, they should still be tested once a year to check for normal operation. Testing is easy to do, and will only take a few minutes.
To test the electric eye sensor, begin by raising the garage door fully. Next, station one helper at the garage door opener button while you stand near the door entrance holding a broomstick. After both of you are in position, ask the helper to press the garage door opener button to lower the door. Wave the broomstick across the entrance to the door as it lowers, and if the system is functioning correctly, the door should stop and begin to raise.
To test the other safety system, raise the door fully and lay a scrap piece of 2-by-4 lumber across the door threshold. Next, lower the door by pressing the opener button, and the door should stop and reverse itself as soon as it hits the piece of wood.
If either safety system doesn't respond as it should, you will need to contact a garage door specialist to take a look and maybe make repairs or adjustments to your opener or door. Do not attempt to make any adjustments yourself, as the wrong adjustments could cause damage to the door or opener or increase the risk of injury to others.
Test the Emergency Release Latch
Another important safety device found on modern garage doors is the emergency release latch. This device consists of a rope and handle that attaches to a latching mechanism that joins the garage door opener and the door itself.
The emergency release latch is important because it enables you to quickly open a garage door even if the power is off or if the opener malfunctions. In the event of an emergency, you will want to be able to raise the door without any delay.
As with the previous devices, testing the latch is simple and straightforward. Begin by lowering the garage door to its fully closed position. Next, grasp the emergency release handle and pull sharply downward. If the latch is working correctly, it will pop loose and release the opener trolley from the door itself. Attempt to raise the door by hand to verify it has been detached from the opener.
If the door will not release from the latch, you will likely need to contact a garage door service for help with fixing the latch. It may simply be stuck, or corrosion may have set in and could be causing the problem.
Be sure to contact Chapman's Garage Doors, Inc. if you reside in the Corpus Christi area and need assistance with your door or opener. Their team of professionals is ready and able to get your door back into service and can correct any safety-related issue that may exist.