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Garage Door Safety Checks To Keep Your Family Safe

Your garage door is a complicated mechanism of springs, cables and pulleys that work together to let a small motor, and you, lift a heavy door. Built into the setup is a series of safety mechanisms to keep people and property from being hurt should something malfunction. It's a good idea to check the following three safety features to make sure you and your family are always protected from harm.

Spring Safety Cables

The springs used on your garage door are under a lot of tension. They counterbalance the weight of the door so you can easily lift it manually. Should one of the springs break, it could fly across the garage and seriously injure something or someone. Safety cables are used to prevent this from happening. Here is how to check that those cables are intact and doing their job.

  1. Find the springs running parallel to the ceiling above the garage.
  2. Look for a braided steel cable running through each spring.
  3. One end of the cable should attach to a plate near the center of the ceiling and the other end to a point next to the garage door or on the metal track.
  4. Check that there are no signs of bent or broken connectors at the ends of the safety cable.
  5. Check the cable for any kinks, twisted areas or fraying.
  6. If you spot a problem in the safety cable or its connectors, contact a residentialgarage door repair company to fix the problems.

Motion Sensors

A motion sensor detects if something is in the way of the garage door as it goes down. If the sensor is triggered, the door stops immediately and raises. This is an easy safety device to check.

  1. Locate the two small boxes pointed at each other on the garage floor at the opening of the garage. These are the infrared motion detectors and will be triggered if something breaks the beam going between them.
  2. Find a small ball or other object that rolls easily.
  3. Push the button that closes the garage door and, as it is going down, roll the ball through the garage opening so it breaks the infrared beam.
  4. If the garage door doesn't immediately stop and reverse, check the following items:
    • Check that the sensors are pointed at each other.
    • Check that the wires are connected to the back of each sensor.
    • Check that the wires on the back of the sensors run to the garage door opener motor and are securely connected there.
    • Correct any problems with these connections and try the test again.
  5. If the door still doesn't stop and reverse, call the garage door repair people.

Pressure Sensor

One last safety feature is built into the garage door opener motor. Should the door meet resistance on its way down, it should stop immediately and reverse. This is also easy to test.

  1. Open the garage door and place a chair in its path so the legs straddle the infrared beam.
  2. Close the garage door and as soon as it touches the chair, it should stop and raise.
  3. If the door doesn't stop and reverse, find the dial on the back of the opener motor that says "Pressure."
  4. Move the dial in the direction indicated for "less pressure" and try the test again.
  5. If the door fails to stop again, have the garage door company service the motor.