June is Garage Door Safety month. 99.5% of the time, garage doors go up and down just fine. On those rare occasions where there is a garage door problem, it can be severe.
- More than 15,000 people visit the emergency room from garage door related injuries according to a recent federal study.
- More than 7,000 kids get hurt when their fingers are stuck between door sections.
- Weather related issues cause more damage to doors (and in turn homes) that aren’t properly maintained.
Here are five simple things any homeowner should know today to make sure their garage door is in safe and working order.
The Big Picture:
Garage doors are probably the largest and heaviest moving object in a house. The parts constantly move and face the elements. Wear and tear will happen. Door owners should examine springs, rollers, cables, and pulleys; those four areas are most likely to wear down first. Yearly tune-ups increase the life of those parts, and in turn, the entire garage door system.
Make Sense of Sensors:
Life happens, and safety sensors get bumped, moved, knocked over, or even broken.
Salvatore Basile owns the Sears Garage Doors & More in Tampa. Basile said safety sensors should attach to the rails where the garage door rides and be a maximum of 6 inches off the ground. Garage door safety sensors should reverse the direction of a closing garage door if a person or animal walks under a closing garage door. Anyone with a roll of paper towels or broom or other small object can put that under the door; it should reverse. If not, call a garage door repair professional for help.
Kids are creative and can play with anything. Basile encouraged parents to help children understand garage doors aren’t toys. Children should stay away when the door goes up and down. It also makes sense to keep openers and transmitters away from kids. Five feet or so from the ground is a good measuring stick on where the wall control should be.
Protecting passwords is also important. Craftsman and other companies now offer openers with one-time and user-specific codes. This helps with deliveries and visitors while keeping homes safe from potential thieves. If cars are outside, make sure the door openers go inside and keep any doors connecting homes to garages locked.
Let The Force Be With You:
Garage doors should open freely without using the garage door operator. To test this, Basile said disengage the opener from the door and lift the door manually. Easily lifting the door is a sign the springs are doing their job; heavy lifting is a sign of weak or broken springs.
The door should stop when trying to push it down when rising or push up on the bottom of the door as it’s lowering. If not, adjusting the force settings is an option. Calling a garage door professional would also work.
Be Weather Ready:
Basile said all homes in Florida must be Hurricane rated; it’s a growing trend for doors to require Impact Rating as well. He said requirements vary regionally and that homeowners should seek clarification and consultation as needed. Newer doors are much more adept at withstanding severe weather than 20 or even 10 years ago.
It’s summer. Families want to spend time outside, having fun, and enjoying the warm weather. Spending five minutes now on some garage door maintenance basics will save homeowners time and money, not to mention increasing peace of mind while taking something off the summer to do list.