Garage Door Opener Safety Tips
Automatic garage doors openers enhance the aesthetic appeal and market value of homes. Moreover, they offer convenience and comfort to the homeowner. Sadly, however, since the doors are automated and arguably the largest moving part of the house they also pose a serious threat. If the door is old, improperly installed or damaged, it can maim, injure, or even trap someone inside the garage. In worst cases it can lead to fatal accidents. Fortunately, there are three precautionary measures a person can take to guarantee his or her safety and that of friends and family. These security measures are:
• Installing a garage door opener that meets the market safety standards
• Carrying out testing and routine maintenance of the garage doors
• Common sense approach and caution when handling the gates.
1. Installing an opener that meets the market safety standards
As a result of many automatic garage door related accidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission obligated that all garage door openers manufactured from the first of January 1993 have the external entrapment protection system. Furthermore, all doors that lack the safety reverse feature should be replaced with modern versions. The system could take the form of an electric eye or a door edge sensor.
The electric eye includes photoelectric sensors aligned on either side of the garage door openers, at a height ranging from four to six inches off the floor. The height guarantees that a child cannot crawl underneath the invisible sensor beam. If the beam senses anything on its light beam path, it reverses the door, thereby preventing any injury or damage.
The door edge sensor, on the other hand, is a strip mounted laterally at the bottom edge of the floor of elevator doors and garage door openers. The moment the strip detects any amount of pressure caused by someone’s body weight or an obstruction, it automatically stops and reverses the door.
The external entrapment protection system help to prevent personal injury or damage to the property in the event the opener faults. However, it is not just enough to purchase a garage door opener that meets the required standard. The property owner must ensure that the reverse-on-obstruction feature installation is proper. The Up and Down travel of the gate should be well adjusted such that when the door closes the weather strip at the bottom only gets compressed and not crushed. Besides, when the door opens fully, the arm bracket of the garage door opener should stop without hitting the opener or the protective bracket. Getting a reputable garage door technician will go a long way in ensuring the safety of door.
2. Carrying out testing and routine maintenance of the garage doors
Even a professionally installed garage door can become faulty over time due to usage and exposure to weather elements. It is, therefore, prudent to carry out periodical testing and scheduled maintenance on both the garage door opener and the garage door. In most cases each door model has a care and maintenance guide manual enclosed.
Safety maintenance of the garage door opener
For the garage door opener, you should conduct a reversal test, force setting test as well as inspect the additional security devices.
Open the gate and place paper towels rolls or a 2″x4″ thick block of wood at the center below the garage door. Then try closing the door by pressing the wall or transmitter button. The moment the bottom edge of the door comes into contact with the wood or paper towel rolls, it should reverse. If it fails, then the door needs adjusting or replacement.
Force Setting Test
When the garage door is closing, hold its bottom and apply a little resistance. If it does not reverse on its own, it needs adjusting.
Additional Safety Devices
If the garage door has extra safety devices like the edge or photo eye sensor, ensure they are well fitted and working.
Safety maintenance of the garage door
When it comes to the garage door it is critical to carry out a monthly visual inspection of the gate features, examine the lubrication and the door balance.
Inspect the different elements of the garage door which includes the rollers, track, springs, pulleys, and cables. If they exhibit any signs of wear or if you notice anything suspicious get a qualified technician to attend to it. Garage door features are mostly under extreme tension and can injure a person when mishandled.
The moving parts of the garage door need lubrication to run smoothly. Make sure you lubricate them using silicone lubricant or light oil. However avoid applying the oils to rollers and idler bearings made of plastic.
The best way to test the balance of the garage door, close the gate and then use the release mechanism to enable manual operation. Next try lifting the door. If it flies upwards or downwards the moment you let go, it needs adjusting. However if it runs effortlessly along its track and stays open about three to four feet from the floor, it is in an excellent condition.
3. Common sense approach and caution when handling the doors
The third safety measure is simply a matter of exercising caution and prudence while using the door.
For starters be conscious that the garage door can cause serious accidents. To that end, no-one should walk under a moving door or try to beat the door. Wait until the door is fully open and has stopped moving before passing through or standing close to it.
Secondly always follow the instructions supplied on the users’ manual, on how to handle the garage doors. Do not plug the door opener into an extension cable, or any other electric fixture. Instead, directly plug it into the electrical power source. In case you notice anything off about the door opener, get professional technicians to fix the problem instead of trying to do it on your own.
Also, put remote controls, and transmitters out of the reach of children and away from the garage door moving parts. Last but not least you should always know how to use the garage door opener’s emergency release, which helps to disconnect the automatic opener from the gate enabling manual operation.
Garage door openers are a novel installation meant to add convenience and practicality to homes. Through the above methods, a person can safely enjoy the ultimate experience of automated garage doors.