8 Important Garage Door Safety Tips

What would we do without garage doors?  Garage doors make life much easier and it’s probably correct to say that automatic garage doors are the original smart home devices.  Since their debut on the market, automatic garage doors have certainly created a seamless transition for homeowners buzzing in and out of their garages, but it was even during this time that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned of potential safety hazards.

garage door safety

In fact, in 1983, the CPSC released an official advisory, alerting parents to stop their children from playing with the door openings or near the door itself, referring to the death of a nine-year-old boy in New Jersey as a cautionary tale.

Garage doors have remained as popular as their first introduction to American homeowners, regardless of the escalating deaths and injuries that occurred yearly.  Even with the automatic reverse function installed on most garage doors (now it’s an industry safety standard), injuries and even deaths still happened.  What can we learn from these horrific accidents?

For one, despite the advances made in the technology and the safety features that are required to be implemented in current automatic garage doors, we still must take precaution and periodically check the doors to ensure optimal functionality.

Check the Sensors

Most garage doors rely on sensors to open and close.   For the majority of garage doors, the sensors are black boxes located at the bottom, sometimes with a small red light.

You’ll know if the sensors aren’t properly aligned because your door will refuse to operate, but even if they are working, it’s always a good idea to check them every now and then.

Free and Clear

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 children are permanently injured each year, sending 1 million to seek medical care.  Prevalent factors that contribute to such injuries are the increasing number of electronic devices in homes, the automatic garage door being a mounting concern.

To this point, always check to make sure that the door is free and clear of any obstructions, and this includes rambunctious kids nearby, or animals skittering beneath it.

Visual Inspection

tips for garage door safety

Look over your door and its working parts each month.  You might not be a professional garage door installer, but a quick once over let you know when you need to call one in.  Increase your familiarity with the springs, cables, pulleys, bolts, and rollers with a visual monthly inspection, and in the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to read up on the owner’s manual to see if everything is functioning properly.

Signs of wear and tear should be addressed as soon as possible, but don’t try to fix anything yourself, that’s when a professional steps in.  Attempting to involve yourself with the tension springs and various cables can result in serious injury, which is why accidents central to garage doors have steadily remained on the high.

The springs could snap, and you don’t want to be anywhere near the release of force with flying metal parts and potentially sharp edges!

Test the Reverse Function

The reverse function is often viewed as the saving grace for safety features in the automatic garage door.  These days, manufacturers install the reverse function on every door they create because of the accidents this feature can prevent.  However, as research has shown us, even with the reverse function on nearly all garage doors, accidents still happen.

This could be because the reverse function is malfunctioning or it could have nothing to do with this feature at all.  When it comes to garage doors, though, it’s better safe than sorry.

Periodically checking the reverse function of your automatic door could save you from having an accident with it later.  Take the two seconds it takes to do so and make this inspection apart of your monthly garage door checklist.

You can test this function by sticking an object in the door’s pathway, then pressing the button to close it.  The object can be a roll of paper towels or a board you may have lying around.  If the garage door does not recognize that there is an obstruction in its way, then the reverse function needs to be repaired.

Watch Your Fingers

safety for your garage door

It goes without saying that getting your fingers caught on any part of the garage door isn’t going to tickle, which leads to this very important rule of: watch the fingers!  Refrain from fiddling with the mechanisms of the garage door because it’s better left to the professionals if something requires fixing.

While there isn’t a definitive report of how many American homeowners experience pinched fingers from a garage door every year, it’s a safe bet to assume that the number is pretty high.

Keep the Garage Code Secret

Even if you have a detached garage, it’s best to keep the code a secret.  By neglecting to do so, you could be compromising the safety of your home, and this is especially true if you have a door that leads from the garage to inside the house.

Criminals go to great lengths, and you don’t want to give a bad guy the opportunity to hide out in the garage because of your not-so-secret code.  This is also an important discussion to have with your kids, who may not realize the importance of keeping the garage pad code to themselves.

Ensure Openers are Hidden

In the same vein of keeping the code a secret, you’ll also want to remember to not leave garage door openers on display, either.  It’s convenient to place them on the dashboard of a car, or tucked beneath the visor, but by taking an extra step to throw them in the glove box could help further protect your home.

Better yet, opt for a smart garage door opener instead, which is more convenient than the old-fashioned opener anyway.  For an added bonus, many of these smart door apps let you see if you’ve left the door open accidentally, an oversight that all of us are frequently guilty of.

Learn How to Manually Operate It

Power outages, storms or malfunctions are all capable of dismantling your garage door, rendering it useless.  By taking the time to learn how to operate the door without power, you can save yourself time in the event of it not working, and ensure your home’s security.

Your owner’s manual is an excellent source of information, not only on how to operate the door without power but all of the other parts that make up the door and allow it to function.

Don’t Take Garage Door Safety Lightly

Don’t underestimate your garage door and be apart of the statistics of yearly accidents caused by them.  Garage doors are working machines, with tension fueled parts, metal pieces, and the heavy door itself, and they should be treated with caution and utmost respect of safety.  Garage doors also give access to your house, so it’s crucial to make sure they are both secure and functional.

Call a professional when your garage door isn’t working the way it should be.  By keeping tabs on its operations each month, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve and get your door fixed before an accident happens.

Get a Detached Garage

In conclusion, garage door safety is a priority and keeping your garage door up to standards is the way to do it. However, you’ll want to think of upgrading your garage into a detached garage if you’re looking to get more space in your garage and more security. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote today.

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