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Safety Is Everyone's Business. Make garage door and opener safety automatic in your home.

A garage door is the largest moving object in the home. It is often operated by electric door openers. Proper installation, operation and maintenance and testing of the garage door and automatic opener are necessary to provide safe, trouble-free operation.

An improperly adjusted garage door or automatic opener can exert deadly force when the door closes. This could lead to serious injury or death from being hit by a closing garage door or trapped underneath.

A few simple precautions can protect your family and friends from potential harm. Please take a few minutes to read the following safety and maintenance tips.

Additionally, refer to your garage door and opener owner's manual for details specific to the model you own.

Some of the following precautions and warnings are identified with this "Safety Alert Symbol". This symbol indicates a potential personal safety hazard that can result in injury or death.

1. Safety Tips

Garage Door Openers Are Not Toys. Do not let children play with or use the transmitters or remote controls. Place and store transmitters and remotes out of children’s reach.

NEVER stand or walk under a moving door. Do not let children or adults play "beat the door". It is dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Adults should set a good example. Know how to use the emergency release in case someone is pinned by the door.

Mount the push-button wall control where it cannot be reached by children (at least 5 feet from the floor) and away from all moving parts. Always mount and use the button where you can clearly see the moving garage door. When using the push-button or transmitter, keep the door in sight until it completely stops moving.

Teach Your Children About Garage Door and Opener Safety. Teach them never to play under or near an open garage door. Explain the danger of being trapped under the door.

Teach children to keep their hands and fingers clear of section joints, hinges, track, springs and other door parts. Contact with a moving door or its hardware could cause serious injury. These injuries can also happen with garage doors that don't have automatic openers.

Routine Maintenance Can Prevent Tragedies. Take a few minutes to inspect and test your complete garage door system. Make monthly inspection and testing a regular routine. Consult owner's manuals for additional recommended maintenance for your model door and opener.

2. Maintenance Tips

Testing And Maintaining The Garage Door Opener

There are routine safety and maintenance steps that you should follow once a month. Review your owner's manual for your specific door opener. If you don't have the owner's manual, look for the opener model number on the back of the power unit and request a manual from the manufacturer.

Reversal Test

Make sure your opener has a reversing feature. If a reversing feature is not present, it should be replaced. Garage door openers manufactured after Jan. 1, 1993 are required by federal law to have advanced safety features, which comply with the latest U.L. 325 standards. Contact your manufacturer or installer for additional information.

Test the reversing feature every month. First, test the balance of the door (see section for "Door Balance"). If the door is properly balanced, then proceed. With the door fully open, place a 1-1/2" thick piece of wood (a 2"x 4" laid flat) on the floor in the center of the door.

Push the transmitter or wall button to close the door. The door must reverse when it strikes the wood. (Note that the bottom part of "one piece doors" must be rigid so that the door will not close without reversing.)

If the door does not reverse, have it repaired or replaced. Have a qualified individual adjust, repair or replace the opener or door.

Force Setting Test

Test the force setting of your garage door opener by holding the bottom of the door as it closes. If the door does not reverse readily, the force may be excessive and need adjusting. See your owner's manual for details on how to make the adjustment. Test the reversing feature after any adjustment.

Visual Inspection

Look at the garage door springs, cables, rollers, pulleys, and other door hardware for signs of wear. If you suspect problems, have a qualified person make repairs.

WARNING – Springs, cables, bracket and other hardware attached to the springs are under high tension. Only qualified persons should adjust them. Do not attempt to repair or adjust torsion springs yourself.

A restraining cable or other device should be installed on the extension spring (the spring along the side of the door) to help contain the spring if it breaks. Never remove, adjust or loosen the screws on the bottom brackets of the door. These brackets are connected to the spring by the lift cable and are under extreme tension.


Regularly lubricate the moving parts of the door. However, do not lubricate plastic parts such as plastic rollers and plastic idler bearings. Consult the door owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation.

Door Balance

Periodically test the balance of your door. Start with the door closed. If you have a garage door opener, use the release mechanism so you can operate the door by hand when doing this test.

You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three to four feet above the floor. If it does not, it is out of adjustment. Have it adjusted by a qualified service person.

Additional Safety Devices

Many garage door openers can be equipped with additional safety devices. Consider adding a photo eye or edge sensor as an extra measure of safety to protect against entrapment. Keep in mind that adding more safety devices will not make an old opener meet the current U.L. standards.

Make sure the additional safety devices, such as photo eyes or edge sensors, are properly installed and adjusted (see owner’s manual).

Garage Door Opener Safety - An Automatic Decision

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