Keep Your Garage Door Under Control

Overhead garage doors are helpful—as long as they’re used properly.

Automatic garage doors are a great convenience of modern life. Even manual overhead garage doors are handy, but there’s nothing quite like the ease of having a door open and close itself.

One of the biggest safety issues, though, is older automatic garage doors that don’t automatically reverse if they hit an obstruction, whether it’s the trunk of a car, a bike or a child. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) strongly recommends that anyone with this type of automatic garage door replace it with a reversing opener.

Here are some other automatic garage door safety tips:

  • Inspect the garage door opener every 30 days. This includes all features, such as the ability to release the door from the opener to use it manually. Test the automatic reversing function by placing a piece of plywood in the door’s path.
  • Rely on a professional for repairs. If you even think something isn’t right with the door or it doesn’t pass the reverse test, don’t try to do the work yourself—call a professional. Consider sticking with manual operation until repairs are complete.
  • Be sure you know how to safely operate the door manually. This is essential if your garage doesn’t have a door into your house or a walk-out door to the yard, and it’s just plain handy if there’s a power outage.
  • Don’t give children access to automatic controls. Keep the hand-held remote control where kids can’t get to it and mount the in-garage controls as high up on the wall as possible.
  • Never run, walk or stand under a moving garage door. Even if the door has an automatic reverse function, it’s not worth taking a chance that the door will come down on you. Always stand clear of any moving parts when operating the door—watch your fingers and toes.
  • Check the space between the garage ceiling and the open garage door before closing it. Pets and other animals have been known to sleep there and get tangled in the door as it closes.
  • Teach kids not to leave toys, bikes or other items near the garage door. Chances are, no one would get hurt. But there’s no point in risking damage to anything, including the door.

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