4 Ways To Ensure Your Garage Door Is Safe

Children playing beneath a garage door

Who doesn’t have better things to do than worry about the safety of your garage door? As a homeowner you have a responsibility to be absolutely certain your garage door is safe – especially as a landlord!

Sadly, every year a number of children are injured or crushed in garage door accidents. Follow these recommended safety precautions and check to be sure you’re doing the right thing.

  1. Install a PE (garage door sensor)

This is a safety device critical to preventing crushing accidents. PE stands for photoelectric eye which is an infrared beam which extends between two points on either side of the garage door opening. If anything (or anyone) passes through the beam while the garage door is closing, the door will reverse and re-open as to prevent the door from closing in on whatever is in the garage door’s path.

Test your garage door’s PE regularly by using a car remote to activate the door and then putting your foot into the space near the floor of your garage at the garage doorway. That should cut the PE beam and cause the door to reverse. If it doesn’t work correctly, contact trained professionals to get your garage door serviced immediately. 

  1. Garage Door Motor Force Setting

Garage door motors provide the power to open and close the door. These motors also have sensors which measure the amount of resistance the door is facing – this resistance can be friction, or resistance when the garage door is pushing down on something in the opening. When this resistance reaches a certain level the garage door will assume that there is something in the way and reverse as to prevent the door from crushing it.

The force setting can be adjusted up or down as to overcome momentary friction during the door’s operation, but if this force setting is too high the door may not reverse when someone is stuck or pinned below it.

Test the force setting of your garage door motor by deliberately pushing up against the bottom of the door as it closes. The door should register increased resistance and reverse. If it fails to reverse a garage door technician will need to adjust the force setting.

  1. Garage Door Condition

Garage doors are generally pretty safe. There are a number of safety features in place to protect those around the door. These features are generally very effective at preventing accidents and keeping people safe. Naturally, these safety features only work when the garage door is in a condition that allows these features to do their job. Garage doors in poor condition are at a much greater risk of something going wrong. Ensuring that the garage door parts are not misaligned, rusted, broken, worn, or fraying will go a long way to ensure the correct functioning of these safety features and the safety of the door.

The tracks along which sectional garage doors run should be smooth, clear, and properly aligned. When these tracks are clear, smooth and well aligned the garage door will not come out of the tracks nor will the garage door motor need to overcome any friction resistance which could potentially throw out the aforementioned force settings.

Often, the ball bearings on the garage door’s roller wheels become dry. Applying some lubricant intermittently will keep them moving without friction or issue. The less friction in your garage door, the safer it is to operate.

  1. Spring Tension and Garage Door Balance

A properly sprung overhead garage door will balance when released from its motorized drive – ie, the garage door will not continue to close, nor will it be pulled open. A properly balanced door will be easy to open by hand in case of a power outage. Check the balance of your door regularly by disconnecting your closed garage door from the motor, manually raising the door until it is half-open, then let go of the door. If it opens, the tension is too high. If it closes, the tension is too low. Ideally the door will remain exactly where it is, indicating the door is balanced and the spring is correctly tensioned.

It is important to have a balanced door to prevent motor burn-out and to ensure that when the door is disconnected from the motor it does not come crashing down upon whatever or whoever may be in the garage door’s way.

These safety tests and checks can be performed by yourself, but to make any improvements when your garage door is not safe will likely need to be done by a garage qualified door technician.

If you’re based in Perth, Australia, we at Eden Roc Garage Doors will be able to help you improve the safety of your garage door. If you’re based elsewhere, a simple google search should provide you with a number of great garage door technicians and companies in your area.

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