Your garage door and hardware work together to allow a heavy door to be opened with one hand, or by a small electric motor. Should some of the components fail, you or your family could be seriously injured. Here is how you can inspect and maintain the safety mechanisms built into your garage door system to make sure they are working properly.
Safety Cables and Your Springs
Your garage door has two or more high-tension springs which counterbalance the weight of the door. They are the reason that you can manually lift your heavy garage door should the opener fail. These springs are under a lot of tension when the door is closed and are relaxed when the door is open. Should a spring break or come loose from it's connection to the ceiling, it could fly across the garage and damage something, or someone.
Safety cables are installed to prevent that from happening. Find the braided cable running from the ceiling bracket, through each spring, and to the wall next to the top of the garage door. This cable will contain the spring if it fails so it doesn't take flight. Inspect the connections at each end of the safety cable for loose or bent brackets. Check the cable itself for any kinks or signs or fraying. If you find one of these problems, have a garage door specialist come out and do the repairs.
When the garage door is lowering, should it meet resistance by an object blocking its path, it should stop immediately and reverse. This prevents someone or something from being hurt by the door coming down on them. This safety mechanism is built into the garage door opener.
Test that this is working properly with the following steps:
- Open the garage door.
- Place an object, such as a chair or tricycle, under the door, but don't block the horizontal infrared sensors. Lower the garage door.
- It should stop as soon as it encounters the object, then reverse and open.
- If the door doesn't stop, or it continues to lower slightly after touching the object, look for one or two adjustment dials on the back of the garage door opener.
- One of these dials adjusts the amount of pressure that triggers the door to stop and reverse. Adjust this dial and repeat the test to see the effects.
- If the adjustment doesn't make a difference, have a garage door repair company come out and inspect the opener.
Horizontal Motion Sensor
Two small infrared sensors located at the bottom of the garage door opening point at each other. Wires from these sensors go to the motor. These sensors detect if something is blocking the path of the infrared beam, or interrupts it as the garage door is lowering.
Test this safety mechanism as follows:
- Open the garage door.
- Place an object, like a box, in the way of the infrared beam.
- The garage door should not close with the obstacle in place.
- Remove the obstacle and check that the door closes normally.
- Open the garage door once more.
- Close the door and while it is lowering, push the object across the path of the sensors. The door should stop lowering immediately. With some openers, the door will just stop while other units will reverse the door.
- If the door should start to close with an object in the way, or not stop when the beam is interrupted, call a garage door service company to inspect the system. The problem could be in one of the sensors or the opener itself.
For more information, check with a company like Duncan Door Service Inc.