Four Ways To Make Sure Your Automatic Garage Door Is Safe


An automatic garage door is probably one of the most valued luxury items in your home. Ironically, it also tends to be the most overlooked when it comes to regular maintenance. Recent figures from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicate that as many as 30,000 injuries occur each year from garage door accidents. You don't have to be another statistic, though. Here are four sure-fire ways to be certain your automatic garage door is working right so you and your loved ones are safe all year long.

Test The Reversal Function

In 1993, the CPSC made it an official requirement that all automatic garage doors come with a reversal function. What this means is that if something or someone moves underneath a closing door, it should stop immediately and reverse its direction. This change in the law has resulted in a reduction of deaths and injuries, which is great news. However, you still need to test your door regularly to ensure that this function is working properly.

First, check that the electronic "eye sensors" are working. This feature should instantly detect when an object or person is nearby and stop the door's movement. There should be two sensors, one on each side of the door, about six inches above the ground. They are usually green or red, and both should be lit by an LED light. If either one is not working or you notice they are blinking, you'll need to realign the sensors or call in a professional for repairs.

Next, you should test that it will stop if something should move into its path. Simply place a box or a roll of paper towels underneath the door and then press the button to close. As soon as the door touches the object in its path, it should stop and reverse. If this doesn't happen, contact a garage door repair technician as soon as possible.

Check For Product Recalls

Many people don't think about taking the initiative to check for product recalls, but this is one of the easiest ways to maintain the safety of your automatic garage door.

One way to do this is to go directly to the manufacturer's website and see if anything has been listed there. Or you can check the Consumer Affairs or CPSC website. Even a simple Google search can often reveal such information. For instance, one popular garage door opener was recently recalled because some of the control boards were overheating and catching on fire. In this instance, no injuries had been reported at the time of the recall, but staying ahead of the game is the best way to prevent any accidents.

If this isn't something you normally think about doing, consider putting a reminder in your phone to schedule garage door maintenance once every six months or so.

Test Your Garage Door's Balance

Did you know that the average, two-car garage door weighs about 300 pounds? It's no surprise that they have essentially been compared to a moveable wall.

Your garage door has springs that carefully control the tension and offset the weight of the door, making it work properly. When one of these springs stretches or breaks, it can cause the door to become too heavy to open. Worse, the door could become an unstoppable force and go crashing to the ground, causing serious property damage or injury.

To test the balance, make sure there are no children or pets around. Then disengage the door from the remote control according to your manufacturer's instructions. This usually entails pulling the red cord that hangs from the rail near the top of the door.

Next, open and close the door manually. It should move smoothly in either direction and without much effort. If you let go and the door slams shut or it flies upward, you'll need to have the balance adjusted. The best way to do this safely is to call in a professional repairman. 

Keep The Track Free Of Debris

The track that your garage door runs on should be clean and clear of dirt and debris at all times. If the rollers aren't able to move along the track smoothly, it can affect the performance and safety of the door itself. You certainly don't want anything blocking your garage door from opening and closing.

To properly clean the track, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe along the inside and outside. If necessary, use a portable vacuum to remove any small objects that the cloth was unable to reach. Once the track is clean and dry, apply a garage door lubricant to the tracks and the rollers. With the proper lubricating substance, your door should move up and down smoothly and safely.


16 December 2014

Building our Guest House Was a Great Decision

For years, my wife and I debated on what we wanted to do with all of the spare land in the back of our house. We were lucky enough to buy a house on an extra-large lot for a great deal, but the land was "going to waste" for quite a while. One day, we finally decided to have a guest house built on it, and now that the house is finished, we wish we had built it long ago. We are now renting it out for some extra income, and it is helping us save for retirement. I have always been fascinated by construction, so I enjoyed watching the professionals build the guest house and learned a lot during the process. I decided to fill some free time by blogging about the experience and sharing some construction info I learned during the process. Come back soon!