Many people are unsure if automatic garage doors are safe. In fact, during our time as professional garage door technicians, we’ve come across many homeowners who were hesitant to upgrade from a manual garage door to an automatic one. One reason for this was the old news reports of kids and animals being crushed under automatic garage doors. Unfortunately, many who ask this question aren’t aware of the many safety features built into modern garage doors, preventing 99% of the accidents.
So, the short answer is that Automatic Garage Doors Are Safe To Use. However, the next question you probably have is how they are safe? As mentioned earlier, they have quite a few security features built into them that prevent accidents and potential injury to users and pets alike. We’ll examine a couple of these features below.
The Most Popular Garage Door Safety Features
Safety is important. Whether it is having a safe garage door or driving safely, you can’t have enough safety features. That’s why it helps to know what safety features manufacturers have built into your garage door. All garage doors are different, and some manufacturers may opt for certain features but not others.
Some of the most common safety features include:
- Motion Detection
- Manual Control
- Annual Maintenance
Through the 1980s and then the mid-90s as many as 54 children their lives after being crushed under an automatic garage door. While there was no technical fault with the door, it didn’t auto-reverse if there was something in its way. That’s also one of the reasons why automatic garage doors have a bad reputation. Numerous people were ending up in emergency rooms across the country with serious injuries, along with countless pets killed and hurt. That’s why in 1992, garage doors were required by federal law to have what’s called entrapment protection. This protection, now referred to as auto-reverse, is standard.
As professionals, we can tell you that the auto-reverse feature was a game-changer. It made automatic garage doors safer than their manual counterparts. The way it works is simple. The garage door has a pair of special sensors, which detect if something is obstructing it. If there is an obstruction, the door stops closing and will start reversing into the open position. One way to test if your garage door has an auto-reverse feature is to place something sturdy underneath the path of the garage door, where it would meet the ground when closed. Then close the door. The door should reverse as soon as it touches the obstruction. If the garage door does not do that and continues to move, then it’s time to contact a garage door technician to check the auto-reverse feature.
It is a safety feature that offers security in two distinct ways. First, when anything is crossing the path of the sensors, the lights will turn on and stay on for up to 5 minutes. It is a feature that ensures that you have good lighting and that allows you to get out of the vehicle and into your home without stumbling onto or into something. It also helps to secure your home by scaring off burglars or any other intruder that tries to enter via the garage. The motion detection sensor should be paired with quality lighting.
So many people will probably want to know why an automatic garage door has manual control built into it? Well, there is a reason why all garage doors are equipped with some form of manual control. For instance, manual control helps raise the garage door in the event of a power outage or if something malfunctions or you can lose your garage door remote. That way, you’re not stranded waiting for the electricity to come back on. The other good thing about manual control is if you know how to operate it, you can easily get past the motor and open your door by hand. Since the door will remain on the tracks, you just need to lift it by hand. Then when the power returns, reconnect your garage door’s electronic system.
Now that we have gone through the safety features of modern automatic garage doors and garage door openers, you also need to understand that they have to function correctly. That’s why it is so important to invest in annual garage door maintenance. The maintenance should be performed by a seasoned professional. If the garage door and opener aren’t serviced once a year, the lifting mechanism and opener may fail. Failure could lead to damage and accidents. Furthermore, you might also get hit by costly repairs, all of which can be easily avoided with timely maintenance.
This article is provided by Ran Kroynish who is an experienced handyman who’s been working for Elite Garage Door & Gate Repair for 10 years. When he’s not fixing garage doors, he likes to share his repair ideas and knowledge with others.