“Four Tips For Garage Door Safety”- Home Inspector

The business can be quite entertaining at times! I was inspecting the garage 

door at an Encinitas, CA home. A new door opener had been recently installed. When I tested the photo sensors, the door did not reverse, so I traced the sensor wires and found they were not connected. I looked up at the garage door opener and almost broke out laughing. There were the new photo sensors installed on the ceiling! Did the installer even bother reading the installation instructions? I guess this is what you do when you have parts left over!

Weighing up to several hundred pounds, the garage door is the heaviest moving item in your home. There are approximately 30,000 garage door-related accidents per year in the United States. To avoid serious injury and help ensure safe, reliable operation, here are four tips for garage door safety by your Encinitas home inspector:

1. Test the balance. Close your garage door and pull the emergency disconnect cord. If the springs are properlytensioned, you will be able to easily lift the door. It should stay 3 or 4 feet above the floor when you let go. If the balance is bad, examine the springs to see if one is broken. I find a lot of broken garage door springs at home inspections. If the springs are not broken, you should have them adjusted. An out-of-balance garage door will put excessive strain on the opener motor and wear it out quickly.
2. Inspect the hardware. Examine the garage door’s bolts, nuts, screws, rollers, hinges, cables and other moving parts for wear, rust or other structurally compromising damage.
3. Check the safety reversing system. Most garage door openers made after 1993 have an auto-reverse safety function. Newer openers have two safety functions- photo sensors and a pressure sensor. To test the photo sensors, block the sensor beam with your foot while the door is in motion. The door will reverse if it is working properly. The photo sensors should be installed within 6″ of the ground. If they are installed too high, small pets or children can be crushed. To test the pressure sensor, place a 2×4 under the door. The door should reverse when it hits the 2×4.

 4. Control button. Be sure the control button for the opener is installed at least five feet high on the wall. This willprevent small children from playing with the door and possibly being injured.

Originally posted at First Choice Inspections.

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