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How Safe Is Your Garage Door?

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The mechanism that opens your garage door is a complicated set of high-tension springs, steel cables, and pulleys. The design counterbalances the heavy garage door so a small electric motor can open it. If needed, you can even open the door manually. There are safety features built into the mechanism that protect people and property should something go wrong. You should inspect and test these regularly to make sure your garage door is safe. Here is how you can check these features so you and your family stay safe.

Safety Cables

The springs used on a garage door are under a lot of tension. Should they break or become disconnected, they could fly across the room and hurt someone. Braided steel safety cables prevent this from happening. These should be inspected periodically.

  1. Find the springs located parallel to and several inches below the ceiling.
  2. Look for a steel cable running through the center of each spring.
  3. Check that the cable is not frayed and has no kinks or twists in it.
  4. Check that each cable is secured to a bracket on the ceiling at one end and the other end is attached near the front of the garage door to its side.
  5. If you spot any issues with the cable or its connectors, contact a garage door repair company to fix or replace the cables.

Infrared Motion Detectors

Motion sensors, triggered by something moving between them while the door closes, causes the door to stop and reverse. This prevents something from getting under the door while it closes. This is an easy safety feature to test.

  1. Raise the garage door.
  2. Find a round ball or something else that will roll.
  3. Look for the two motion sensors pointed at each other near the bottom front of the garage door on both sides.
  4. Close the garage door.
  5. While the door is going down, roll the ball or other object through the door opening between the motion sensors.
  6. The door should stop immediately and reverse.
  7. If the door doesn't stop, call the garage door company for service. They may need to replace one or both sensors.

Pressure Sensor

Built into the garage door opener motor is a pressure sensor. Should the door meet resistance as it goes down, it should stop immediately and reverse. This is also an easy safety feature to test.

  1. Raise the garage door.
  2. Place a chair under the path of the door so the legs straddle the infrared motion sensor beam without interrupting it.
  3. Lower the garage door.
  4. The door should stop and reverse as soon as it touches the chair.
  5. If the door doesn't reverse or it continues down briefly before reversing when it touches the chair, call the garage door company for service. They may need to replace the garage door opener motor.

For garage door repair, contact a business such as Kim's Garage.


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