Essential Garage Door Safety Features

Oct 15

Essential Garage Door Safety Features

An often overlooked area is the safety of garage doors

For most homeowners, safety and security are of utmost importance. However, an often overlooked area is the safety of garage doors. The older models don’t have today’s modern safety features, and newer models need periodic inspections. In addition, outdated garage doors need replacement and updates to ensure a safe and accident-free home.

Auto-reverse feature

When a garage door is closing, the auto-reverse feature will automatically reverse the door’s movement if the built-in sensor detects resistance. When resistance is detected, the garage door reverses and will open instead of closing. This could be caused by a pet, an object, or a child running into or out of the garage. This feature needs periodic testing by closing the door and placing an object in its path. If this feature isn’t working correctly, contact a garage door professional.

Photo eyes

Working hand-in-hand with the auto-reverse feature are the photo eyes that detect movement. Photo eyes are approximately 6 inches from the ground on both sides of the garage door. Their function is to send a signal to reverse the direction if something is detected. These sensors need testing to ensure proper functionality. Common problems are dirty lenses, misalignment, and electrical issues. However, for obvious safety reasons, photo eyes should be working correctly.

Pinch-resistant panels

As the garage door closes, its hinges will fold together. This provides a space where a finger or hand could easily fit and cause serious injury. Newer garage door models have pinch-resistant panels and hinges that provide a safety feature to prevent accidental injury. Unfortunately, the panels greatly limit the space between the hinges, making it much more difficult for a hand or finger to fit.

Balance

Garage doors are pretty heavy. The springs attached to a garage door do the actual lifting, not the electric opener. Over time, these springs could become unbalanced. Since these help the door to open and close smoothly, it’s essential to ensure everything is balanced correctly. Unbalanced springs can cause too much uneven pressure on other parts of the door, damaging the lifting mechanism. Garage door professionals can test for uneven balance and provide maintenance to ensure proper balance.

Manual release control

During power outages, automatic garage doors will need to be opened manually. This is done using a mechanical release, typically a rope hanging from the electric opener with a red handle on its end. The purpose of the manual release has two functions. The first is to keep the doors functional during a power outage. But of most importance is the ability to manually open the door if the auto-reverse feature isn’t working and an object or person becomes pinned under it.

Routine garage door maintenance is critical

Automatic garage doors need periodic inspections to ensure functionality and safety. Homeowners can perform essential inspections, but these will not be thorough. Therefore, annual maintenance and inspections by a professional garage door technician are highly recommended to ensure the doors are safe and operating correctly.

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