Welcome to Garage Door Safety Month, June 2015! June is the perfect time to consider the safety precautions you’re taking with your residential door, or to suggest to your employer that they consider some simple measures to prevent workplace accidents. If you’ve found your way to this post, you’re in luck, because we’re not going to make you wait all month to hear our 7 top-quality, field-tested safety tips. In fact, we’re going to tell them to you right now. Remember, your garage door is a carefully designed piece of machinery and can be very dangerous. Always have a qualified repair technician service your door if it does need updating or repair – do not risk your life.
- The Basics
The garage door is the largest moving part in your home and typically operates many times a day, so it just makes sense that over time parts of the door will be strained. A quick visual inspection of the cables, spring and brackets, performed once monthly, can catch many problems.
There should be cables running from your torsion spring’s shaft to the bottom brackets on both sides of your garage door. If your cables look frayed or damaged, they could break. Your garage door is enormously heavy and these cables take the burden of lifting the door. If one side of your door raises or lowers higher than the other, your cables are stretching and you should call a technician today.
Modern springs come with an array of safety measures, but if not properly maintained, even a fairly new spring could wear down. Make sure, if your door uses two springs, that they are a matched pair. If one spring is different, it could be straining your springs unevenly.
Some springs have safety containment cables, so that if a spring snaps it is unable to launch around your garage, causing injury or property damage. Other springs are installed surrounding the torsion shaft so that they are unable to snap free. Consider upgrading to a newer spring if your door doesn’t have these safety precautions.
Lastly, look at the bottom brackets of your door. These brackets should be tightly affixed to the door because they are under extreme tension, but if they are loosened either accidentally or by someone without proper training in garage door repair, they can cause severe injury. Some companies provide specialized safety brackets.
- The Spring’s the Thing
The spring is an integral part of your garage door’s function, and all springs eventually need replacing. An installation professional can tell you if your springs need replacing, and if they don’t a technician should be able to manually wind your spring. This will keep the garage door balanced and increase the longevity of your system.
If a spring does need to be replaced, a qualified technician can swap your old springs for newer, safer models.
- Automated Safety Solutions
All newer doors are required to have reversing mechanisms so that a door will reverse if it hits someone while closing. You can check your reversing mechanism yourself by placing a board underneath the door. If your door doesn’t reverse, be glad that it wasn’t you underneath it and call a technician today!
Your garage door probably has a photo eye sensor that watches the bottom of your door with an infrared sensor. These are a great option for security but cannot be relied upon completely, since a stray basketball or paint can could knock the sensor out of alignment and disable the system.
- Your Garage Door is not a Toy!
Children can (and will!) play with anything, but make sure to teach your children that the garage door is not a toy.
Taking some quick steps to child-proof your door can make a world of difference. Mount your system’s controls out of the reach of young hands, and discourage children from ever playing with the controls.
Additionally, some garage doors are constructed so that the panels cannot pinch fingers between them. If you can’t find any way to keep inquisitive hands away from the door, consider upgrading.
- Get a Rolling Code Before you Hit the Road
Some garage door openers have a serious security flaw in their code technology. Rolling code systems will change your door’s code after every use so that a universal remote won’t be able to open your door. Otherwise, your possessions and family could be at risk after the simple press of a button. If nothing else, make sure to change your door’s code away from the manufacturer standard.
A simple step that many people neglect is to lock the door leading from your garage into your home. Although it may present a slight inconvenience, this will help in the case of a thief somehow getting into your garage – a common method of home burglary.
If you want to be even more careful, consider unplugging your door opener when you go on vacation. Some units have a vacation lock security switch, which accomplishes a similar goal. These steps are a little more extreme but they’re a small thing to do to preserve your safety.
- Manual Operation Education
Do you know how to use your door’s emergency release feature? If not, consult your owner’s manual or call a technician. Knowing how to manually operate your door is a useful skill to have if your power is out or if your door is broken.
Once your door is disconnected, you should be able to open your door smoothly up and down by hand, and in fact if you release your door half-opened it should stay in the spot you let go of it. If your door falls closed when released, your springs are not balanced and are suffering premature wear and tear because of it. They may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Seven Simple Steps
These may seem like common sense, but a little bit of caution goes a long way to keeping your door in working order, increasing the longevity of your door, and protecting your possessions or family.
- Never leave your garage door partially open.
- Don’t leave your garage door opener where it can be stolen.
- Mount your door opener unit where you can clearly see the door.
- Make sure your door fully opens and fully closes each time you use it.
- Discuss garage door safety with your children.
- Check that your door is closed when you lock up your house at night.
- Always have a technician conduct repairs or maintenance on your door or opener.