Making Sure Your Garage Door Is Safe

When working properly, a small electric motor successfully opens and closes a garage door which can weigh hundreds of pounds. It does this because of a complicated arrangement of high-tension springs and cables that counterbalance the weight. This mechanism can pose a safety hazard if it isn't working correctly, which is why your garage door includes three major safety mechanisms. Here is how you can check to make sure your garage door isn't putting you and your family at risk of a serious injury.

High-Tension Spring Safety Cables

The large coiled springs connected to the garage door mechanism are what allow the heavy door to be opened and closed easily. If one of these springs breaks, it can fly through the garage, damaging your car and injuring anyone in the way. Safety cables are installed to make sure this doesn't happen.

  1. Find the two large springs running parallel to and slightly below the ceiling.
  2. Each spring should have a braided steel cable running through the center of it.
  3. If any of the cables look frayed or have kinks, call a garage door company to replace it.
  4. Notice where the cables are attached to the ceiling at one end and near the top of the garage door opening at the other.
  5. If these connections look bent or broken, call a garage door company to repair the connection.

Motion Sensor

Infrared sensors make sure that if something or someone gets in the way of the garage door going down, the object or person won't be harmed. When the sensors detect that something is blocking the door's path, the door should stop immediately and reverse. Checking these sensors is an easy task.

  1. Find the two infrared sensors positioned near the floor at both sides of the garage door opening.
  2. Find a ball or other object that will roll.
  3. Open the garage door then close it.
  4. As the door is going down, roll the object across the path of the sensors.
  5. If the door does not stop and reverse, check these items:
    1. Make sure the two sensors are pointed at each other.
    2. Check that the wires are connected to the back of each sensor.
    3. Follow the wires from the back of the sensors to the garage door motor and make sure they are securely connected there.
    4. Correct any issues you find and try the test again.
  6. If the door still doesn't close, have a garage door company come out soon to inspect and repair this safety mechanism.

Pressure Sensor

Another safety feature is a pressure sensor. This is built into the garage door motor and is designed to stop the door from going down and reverse it should it meet resistance when closing. Check this safety feature, too.

  1. Open the garage door.
  2. Place a chair in the path of the garage door closing with the legs straddling the infrared beam.
  3. Close the garage door.
  4. As soon as the door touches the chair, it should stop and raise back to the ceiling.
  5. If it doesn't, find the dial on the back of the garage door motor that's marked "Pressure".
  6. Turn the dial in the direction indicated for "Less Pressure" then test the door again.
  7. If this still doesn't work, call the garage door service company to repair or replace the motor.
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