Do you know what would happen if you stepped underneath your garage door? Homeowners rarely think about the true power of their garage door, but consider this – not only is the garage door the largest moving appliance in the home, but it is also extremely heavy. A two-car garage door could weigh over three hundred pounds easily! Think about that every time that you or your children run underneath the door while its opening or closing, and it might give you reason to examine the safety features of your door and make sure that they are functioning properly. Luckily, the two most basic safety features of the door are easy enough to check, and we’ll explain just what you should do now!

The two basic safety technologies that every modern garage door uses are a photo-eye sensor and an automatic reverse sensor. The photo-eye is a small beam between two sensors typically positioned towards the bottom of your garage door, 4”- 8” or so off the ground. If the beam between the sensors is broken, by a pet or a ball, the door should automatically stop or reverse. The auto-reverse is a little harder to see because it actually happens as a result of the settings of your garage door opener. A typical residential garage door opener can be programmed to several different limits, based on the weight of your door, the height of the opener, and the tension of the spring. If these settings are configured correctly, then your door will be able to identify when it is pushing against something it isn’t supposed to, such as a person laying in the way, and ideally the opener should immediately reverse.

You can safely test both of these features yourself in less than five minutes! Firstly, open your door all of the way as if you were using it as normal. Then, remember that turing all these tests, your number one priority is keeping yourself safe! If your safety features are working properly that your door won’t be a risk to you, but if they are malfunctioning it can be very dangerous. Do not move underneath the door while it is operating, and make sure that any children or pets in the area will also stay clear of it. Now, trigger the garage door from the remote or a wall button, then wave a stick or board through the path of the sensing eye beam. If you interrupt the beam, the door should react immediately. If it doesn’t react to waving something through the beam, try holding something in the path. If you’re right next to one of the door’s tracks, it should be simple to spot the photo-eye sensor and put something in front of it. If even holding something in front of the beam doesn’t stop it, you have a serious problem!

To test the auto-reverse functionality of your door, simply find the spot that your door normally rests when it is fully closed and put something in its way. A 2×4 stood up on one end is an easy options that you might have laying around, but a roll of paper towels (with towels still on it) or anything else upright and moderately resistant will work. The goal with this test is to put the object in the way of your door, but not in the way of sensing eye beam. That way, you can be certain which parts of your systems do and don’t work. Once you have opened the garage door and placed the obstruction, stand back and close the door. Depending on how your opener is calibrated, the amount that it has to push against something before reversing will vary. Either way, it shouldn’t take more than an instant after it collides with the obstruction for your door to respond. If it doesn’t seem to be reversing, activate your button again so that it re-opens.

Once you’ve performed these two simple safety checks, you can be much more sure of your residential garage door’s safety. No matter what your living situation, this simple check-up can make a huge difference, and if you do identify a problem, it is important to get it fixed sooner rather than later. Be wary of unscrupulous garage door companies who may try to up-sell you other features that you don’t need: once you’ve identified your problem, you will be better prepared to work with an expert to have it fixed. It you want a reputable company to work on your door, give A Plus Garage Doors a call today!

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