Having a garage door provides convenience and security for your home. However, garage doors can also pose safety risks if not properly maintained or used cautiously. As a homeowner, you must educate yourself and your family members on garage door safety to prevent accidents and injuries.In this blog post, we will delve into the top 10 garage door safety tips that every homeowner should know. Implementing these tips will help ensure your garage door system is safe, secure and functioning optimally.
Garage doors are the largest moving objects in most homes. A standard 2-car garage door can weigh between 150 to 250 pounds. With improper installation or lack of maintenance, garage doors can become hazardous.Stats show that each year around 30,000 people end up in the emergency room due to garage door related injuries. Most of these accidents involve fingers getting caught between sections, improper operation and lack of maintenance.The good news is that a vast majority of these accidents can be prevented by following some simple garage door safety guidelines.
- Supervise children around operating garage doors
- Test safety reversal mechanisms monthly
- Keep people and objects away from opening/closing door path
- Ensure garage door is fully open or closed, not halfway
- Regularly inspect, maintain and replace worn parts
- Always lock the door leading from garage to house
- Consider installing safety accessories like sensors
- Check proper installation of cables, springs and roller guides
- Keep remote controls out of reach of children
- Learn to manually operate door in case of power failure
Follow these crucial tips, inspect your garage door system regularly and educate everyone in your household to prevent avoidable accidents.
1. Keep Garage Door Openers Out of Children’s Reach
The garage door remote controls should be kept out of reach of small children. Whether wall-mounted or handheld remotes, storing them high up or safely tucked away when not in use will prevent kids from playing with the remotes.
Supervise young children near operating garage doors and instruct them to keep hands and fingers away from pinch points. Make sure they do not run through the path of moving doors. Do not let children play with or hang off the garage door or automatic opener. Teach teens safe operating procedures too.
2. Learn How to Use Emergency Release Mechanisms
In case of power failure or garage door opener malfunction, you should manually be able to open and close the door. Check your garage door to locate the emergency release cord and handle. Pull the emergency release handle to disconnect the door from the opener, enabling you to manually lift the door.
Teach all adult family members how to use emergency release mechanisms. The pull rope should be within reach, so you do not have to use ladders or stools to access it. Test the disconnect feature to ensure smooth operation periodically.
3. Practice Caution Near Operating Doors
Always practice extreme caution around garage doors that are opening and closing. Stand clear of the door’s path and wait until it fully stops moving before approaching it.
Instruct children to keep away from the door when the opener is in use. Make sure you can view the door clearly when using the automatic opener so no person or object obstructs it while in motion. Pay close attention so that children or pets do not wander into the path of the moving door.
4. Fully Open or Close Garage Door
When accessing your garage through the automobile entrance, ensure that you fully open or close the garage door. Do not leave the door halfway open or shut. An open garage leaves your valuables and home vulnerable. And a partially shut garage door can fall if the opener or door springs fail.
If the garage door starts to automatically close when you drive inside, stop your car immediately. Fully reopen the door and check adjustment mechanisms before retrying. Similarly, if the door does not fully close, have it serviced.
5. Conduct Routine Maintenance & Inspection
You must routinely inspect, test and maintain all aspects of your garage door system to keep it working safely. Provide sufficient lighting inside and outside the garage to thoroughly examine components.
Here are key maintenance tips:
- Inspect cables, pulleys, brackets and springs monthly. Replace worn parts immediately.
- Check for loose, broken or missing hardware every six months.
- Test auto-reverse mechanisms monthly using approved methods. The door should reverse on contact with objects or when closing forces exceed prescribed limits.
- Twice a year, clear cobwebs, dust and debris. Wipe down door, tracks, sensors and opener.
- Lubricate all moving components at least once a year.
- Have professional technicians conduct in-depth inspection and tune-ups periodically.
6. Always Lock Door Between Garage & Home
Even with the most secure garage doors, you must lock any entrance between your garage and living space within your home. Burglars often enter houses through unlocked garage entrances when proprietors are away.
Install solid core doors with sturdy deadbolt locks at garage-home access points. Get in the habit of keeping the door locked at all times, even when at home. Hide a key securely outside for emergencies when activity in the garage blocks exit access.
7. Install & Properly Position Safety Sensors
Automatic garage door openers are required by law to integrate safety sensors that trigger door reversal if objects are obstructing closure. However, even these sensors have limitations in the zones they cover. Therefore, correctly installing and positioning sensors is crucial.
Place sensors about 6 inches above the floor, one on either side of the garage entrance. Sensors must align precisely with each other across the doorway without obstructions between them. Check for blinking indicator lights and realign sensors if they go out of sync. Never disable safety sensors.
For extra protection, additionally install commercial safety sensors or photocells higher up. Some products provide better protection zones than basic sensors. However, always use safety features properly, never rely solely on them.
8. Hire Professionals for Proper Installation & Setup
Improperly installed or misaligned garage door components like cables, opener tracks, pulleys and counterbalance systems can cause safety issues and door malfunctions. Trying to tackle such complex installation or repairs without expertise and proper equipment can be unsafe.
Hire trained garage door specialists for:
- New door selection and installation
- Opener selection, setup and programming
- Calibrating sensors and safety mechanisms
- Replacing broken springs, cables or hardware
- Ensuring balance, alignment and smooth operation
- Resolving sticking, jamming other operational issues
Ask technicians to assess overall safety, recommend additional accessories or repairs and provide documentation post service.
9. Test Auto-Reverse Mechanisms Monthly
Automatic garage door openers have auto-reverse mechanisms mandated by safety regulations to prevent people or items getting trapped and injured. When closing forces exceed prescribed limits, the opener should automatically trigger and reverse door direction a few inches upon contact.
To validate auto-reverse works properly every month:
- Open door fully. Place a 1.5 inch thick solid object (or 2×4 laid flat) on the floor where the door closes.
- Push wall-mount button or remote to close door. When the door contacts the object, it should stop, reverse and reopen at least 2 feet up.
- Repeat on other side with safety sensors disabled or blocked. The door must still reverse open.
If the test fails, get the opener serviced immediately and operate door manually until fixed. Do not disable or remove foam tubes covering opener tracks.
10. Educate Household & Guests on Garage Door Safety
Make garage door safety a part of your household’s awareness. Educate everyone, especially children and teens, on fundamental precautions. Emphasize key instructions like:
- Keep clear of operating door
- Do not play with or hang off doors or openers
- Never place fingers near pinch points
- Always fully open or close door
- Do not manually operate partly open door
- Regularly inspect door components
When guests visit, inform them on your home’s garage door safety basics. Provide reminders if you observe them acting unsafely around the operating garage entrance.
Garage doors provide invaluable access and protection for our vehicles and valuables stored in garages. However, we must remain vigilant regarding risks associated with operating garage doors lacking proper safety mechanisms or cautions.
By instilling garage door safety habits and procedures within your household, inspecting and maintaining all equipment routinely and supervising children carefully around doors, you can prevent regrettable injuries. Follow the crucial tips covered in this blog and enjoy safe, convenient access through your garage entrance for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make my garage door safer?
You can improve garage door safety by adding extras sensors, installing battery backups, enabling WiFi connectivity features, keeping remote controls out of reach of kids, properly maintaining and inspecting all hardware every month, testing auto-reverse mechanisms routinely and educating your household on fundamental safety precautions.
Is there a system that will warn me that I left my garage door open?
Yes, newer-model garage door openers often have system options that enable connectivity to smart home devices and apps that provide alerts and notifications if a garage door is accidentally left open. You can add sensors and alarms to existing openers that warn about open doors. Some home security systems also have related alerts.