A garage is a valuable space for many homeowners. Due to the extra space for storage and ease of parking and protecting your vehicle, it is easy to see why a garage is so desirable to potential buyers. Unfortunately, 20,000 people suffer with garage door injuries each year. These injuries may worry you when purchasing a home with an automatic garage door. However, with proper precautions, you can reduce the risk of accidents. Use this safety guide to protect your family and pets from garage door accidents.
Consider the Five-Foot Rule
When moving into a home with an automatic door opener for your garage, be sure to consider the five-foot rule. Every automatic opener will have an interior button on the wall to open and close the garage door. Children will find this wall button appealing and may choose to open and close the door unnecessarily. This poses obvious safety concerns.
Measure the distance between the floor and the wall button. The button must be at least 5 feet from the floor. If your children are able to reach the button, hire a garage door specialist to relocate your wall button immediately.
If your automatic opener offers a handheld remote for use inside your vehicle, pay attention when opening and closing the garage door. When backing out of your garage and leaving for the day, lack of attention for just a few seconds could create an accident risk. For the safest use of your remote, complete the following steps:
- Back out of your garage and park the vehicle.
- Hit the button on your remote to close the garage door and wait.
- Keep the remote in hand while the door closes. If your pet or child runs out of the garage, you will need to hit the remote a second time to stop the door from closing. If not, the door may injure your child or pet.
- Be sure the door closes completely before leaving your driveway.
Update for Safety
If you are living in an older home, you may need an updated garage door opener. Since 1993, all automatic garage door openers must contain entrapment prevention sensors. Using a set of photoelectric eyes, sensors reverse the opening or closing of the door when there is motion in front of the eyes. This reversing is an imperative safety feature that prevents the door from closing on a child or pet.
Install a new automatic door opener from a place like Garage Intel, Inc if you are living in an older home, but be sure technicians consider the 6-inch rule for your photoelectric eyes. Sensors should not be installed higher than 6-inches from the floor.
Reinforce, Weigh, and Balance your Door
Even with proper maintenance, your garage door may become worn and outdated. Without repair and reinforcement, your automatic opener will struggle to open and close the door. Consider the following maintenance tasks on your garage door to prevent accidents:
- Reinforcement – Installing a new bracket over your garage door is smart for reinforcing the opener system. Reinforcement brackets distribute force of your garage door to help strengthen the opening system. In addition, brackets help prolong the lifespan of your door.
- Weigh – Due to moisture and age, the weight of your garage door may become excessive. Ensure your opener is sufficient to the weight of the door. If not, you will need to install a higher quality automatic system that can effectively open and close your heavier door.
- Balance – Open and close your garage door a few times. As it is it closing, stop the door using your remote or wall button. Use a level to check the door is even on both sides. If not, you will need to balance the door by adjusting the springs. First, remove the spring from the opener track. Then, relocate the spring to either the higher hole of the bracket or the lower hole. Try both locations for the best balance of the door. If left unbalanced, your door may close too quickly, which will increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
With proper maintenance and precaution, your automatic opener does not have to be an accident waiting to happen. Using this guide, you can use your garage door opener in an effective and safe manner.