Our garage doors are a marvel of convenience but they are a complex system with potentials dangers. In this article, we present safety tips for your garage door to keep you, your loved ones, friends and pets safe.
Child & Pet Safety
Children and pets can be especially vulnerable to garage door dangers. Even a single width garage door is heavy and can crush small animals or children. It’s important to maintain the safety of your garage door to protect kids and pets. Here are some recommendations to avoid accidents:
- Explain the garage door system and the dangers that come with it. Point out how dangerous it can be to get trapped under the door. In addition, show them where their fingers can get badly crushed between panels. If the garage door scares them, you’re doing it right.
- Don’t allow small kids to handle the remote or access any wall switches. They may think it’s fun to open and close the door, but if their friends or pets are in the vicinity, accidents can happen.
- If they’re old enough to get a passcode for an access panel, remind them not to share the code with anyone. Treat it like a password for an online account that they can relate to.
- If you have a dog or cat, be especially vigilant. Make sure your pets are in the car or house and out of the area before operating the door.
Garage Door Safety Systems
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 is set up near the bottom of your garage door and shoots an infrared beam from one side to a receiver on the other. If an object, person or pet block the beam, the opener will register that as an obstruction and prevent the door from closing. This is easy to test, simply place a solid object in the path of the beam and try closing the door with your opener. It should not close and will typically flash the light or present some indication that there is a problem. If the door does close, something is wrong. This is a serious issue and should be remedied as soon as possible.
Your garage door opener also has a resistance sensor that detects if something is interfering with the operation of the door. For example, a box, child or pet in the way of the door should cause the sensor to trigger. When this sensor fires, the door should reverse automatically. You can test this by putting a 2×4 or similar object on the floor where the door closes such that it is under the optical sensor. When the door closes, it should automatically reverse when it encounters the 2×4. If it doesn’t, consult your garage door opener owners manual to make adjustments. This is a very important safety feature and if you can’t get it right, call in the pros. Don’t take any chances here.
It’s important to know how to operate your garage door when the power goes out. A loss of power can be a nuisance during a storm or some issue with the electrical utility. Moreover, it can be life threatening in the case of a wildfire when you have little time to escape so take the time to learn how the door can be operated manually.
All garage door opener systems have a red handled emergency release hanging down from the garage door opener track. Pulling on this handle releases the door from the opener shuttle allowing it to move up or down manually. Make sure the door is closed before pulling the release or have someone help to prevent the door from closing too hard causing damage. If the door wants to fall hard, it’s an indication that the door is not balanced properly and requires service.
Consult your owners manual and take the time to learn how this important safety feature works. You don’t want to be figuring this out in an emergency situation. You may also want to consider installing a battery backup system so your door can operate during a power outage.
Garage Door Opener Security
A garage door opener is a huge convenience and a necessity for most homeowners. It allows us to open and close the door with a mere push of a button. But garage door openers can be security risks so here are some tips to maintain security:
- Guard your passcodes like your social security number. In the wrong hands it’s the same as leaving your front door wide open. Newer door openers will allow you to create guest and one-time passcodes so you don’t need to change yours when you need to provide access to someone.
- Make it a habit to change your code on a regular basis just in case someone has shared the code.
- Consider unplugging your opener when you go away for extended periods. This prevents anyone from using a stolen code to open the door.
Garage Door Dangers
We don’t give our garage doors much thought when they’re working properly. But they are complex systems with some potential hazards that homeowners should be aware of. Consider the following:
- Garage doors are heavy weighing 100s of pounds. Garage door operators make it seem easy but there is a lot of weight involved. Never forget that, especially when the door is in manual mode.
- The area between garage door panels can crush a finger easily. Always be careful when working on your door and make sure kids aren’t in any danger when the door is opened or closed.
- Don’t leave your garage door open while you’re not around. Thieves can grab stuff very quickly and animals may see an open door as an opportunity to seek shelter.
We here at Sawtooth Garage Doors work with doors and openers all the time so safety is always on our minds. With our training and experience, we can avoid any unfortunate accidents. On the other hand, homeowners can take their door for granted and sometimes forget about the risks. We encourage homeowners to remind themselves of their garage door operation, safety features and security measures on a regular basis. And if you need any service, we are always here to help.