People don’t realize how dangerous a garage door can be. Any garage door opener that is twenty years old or more needs to be replaced. Congress has passed legislation that mandates garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, are required to have at least one of the following safety features: 1. A control button that has to be held constantly to make the door close. 2. An electric eye sensor. 3. A door edge sensor like the one elevators have.
Before 1982 a garage door was very unsafe. When they began to close, they would keep going; if anything was beneath the door, it was going to be smashed and nothing could stop it. So if a small child were playing and try to get in or out of the garage before it came down, but did not make it in time, he could be seriously injured or killed. If someone parked a bike under the door, it would break the door and the bike if it closed.
There are three tests for your garage to see how safe it is.
- Automatic reversal, and how well it works.
- The balance of the door.
- The force-setting if your door is not manual.
Make sure you read the owner’s manual before running any of these tests. If you start having any kind of problem while testing the garage door, disconnect the automatic door opener and call a licensed service technician.
To test the door you will need a stepladder, paper towels, and a small flat tip screwdriver.
Test 1 is checking the balance of the garage door. Close the door. For an electric door, you need to disconnect the opener release mechanism by pulling on the handle attached to the string hanging from your trolley. Now, using your hands, lift the door three or four feet and move out of the way. The door should stay open, but if it doesn’t, your door is out of balance. You will have to call a service technician to fix it.
Test 2 is checking the force setting. Open the garage door. Then press the button on the wall to close it. About halfway down, lift up on the door. It should reverse direction immediately. If it doesn’t, move a ladder under the motor housing. Now turn the adjustment control knob counterclockwise ten degrees with your finger or a small flat-tip screwdriver. Run the door up and down one time. Wait twenty minutes and try the test again. If that doesn’t work, try to adjust the door one more time. If that fails, you will have to call a repairperson.
Test 3 is testing the reverse direction on the door. Place a roll of paper towels or a cereal box under the door. Close the door with the switch on the wall. Once it hits the cereal box or towels, the door should change direction without hurting the box or the towels. If it takes too long to reverse direction, set a ladder under the motor housing and adjust the reverse with a small flat-tip the way your manual suggests. If you cannot, call a repair person for advice.
Keep your garage door in good condition and up-to-date to protect your kids, pets, and disabled family members and guests.