When you click the button on your remote and watch a garage door open seamlessly, it appears to be the smoothest and safest object in the whole house. But make no mistake; that door is several hundred pounds in weight and has quite a punch behind it. It’s all fun and games until someone is involuntarily trying to bench the thing.
You can enjoy your door without fear, so long as you keep these 6 garage door safety tips in mind.
- Know the Difference Between a Professional Repair and DIY
You’re a handy person, right? You don’t need to spend the money on a repairman when you can roll up your sleeves, get some YouTube tips, and prove to your neighbors once and for all just how capable you are, right?
In most cases, it is the perfect time to save some cash and earns some brownie points – but not every garage door repair is meant for the laymen. When it comes to a jammed track or a sticky wheel, getting some soap and water to clear out the blockage or a hammer to knock that track into place is perfectly fine. However, if your coils look ready to snap or your motor is giving off a strange fume, attempting to handle it personally can leave you headless, electrocuted, or with a burning house… perhaps in that order.
To keep yourself, your home, and even your garage door itself safe, know when the repair needed can be DIY’d or when a professional needs to intervene. For electrical difficulties and the actual suspension of the door, always consult a repairman. For the rest, ask your owner’s manual for guidance on how to fix it up.
- An Owner’s Manual is a Good Investment
We know, we know; owner’s manuals are for the losers. You can easily look at something and know how it works, and it doesn’t get more basic than a door that goes up and down, right? Actually, no. A garage door is a complicated set of springs, railings, motors, and coils all electrified to seem simple and act simple to us – but simple it is not. If you don’t understand exactly how your garage door works, you may overlook warning signs that it’s damaged, make back adjustments to its speed or strength, or apply bad DIY repairs.
By keeping ahold of your owner’s manual and reading over the warnings contained within, the explanations on how your door works, and a list of repairs to look out for, you’ll avoid taking actions which can harm both you and the door – extending both your lifespans in the process.
- Be Prepared for “Uh Oh” Moments with the Emergency Release
When the worst happens, it’s time to step away from mechanics and trust good ol’ human manpower. That’s what the emergency release in your garage door is designed for. Should a person get trapped under the door or the door itself become jammed to the point of burning up its motor as it tries to open vainly, your next course of action is locating the emergency release and pulling it immediately.
It’s usually dangling with a red tag right above the door, brandishing instructions on how to activate it. Once this happens, you’ll be able to use your own strength to open the door. This should only be used in the case of emergency, as it is quite difficult to reconnect, but is quite literally a lifesaver when you need it.
- Inspect Your Door Regularly
A high quality door is still prone to wear and tear like anything, and fluke of poor manufacturing can always leave your garage door with a fatal flaw. By inspecting all its vital components regularly, you can be sure to catch any early warning signs that trouble is afoot, and make repairs before the problem escalates into a several-hundred-dollar problem or an injury.
Once a month, be sure to inspect your springs to ensure they don’t look worn or overly-stretched. These springs are capable of holding hundreds of pounds and making it look easy; if they look sprung, then you’re only days or even minutes from a high-pressure spring shooting off into space or dropping your door at a bad time. Be sure to inspect the tracks of your door for grim or a jammed wheel. Turn off your motor and try to manually lift the door to ensure your springs and tracks are operating fine. You don’t need to be an expert, but if something clearly looks off, this allows you to make a repair immediately, rather than waiting until it’s escalated to the point of needing a full replacement.
- Keep a Safe Distance From Your Door
Garage doors are designed to be extremely safe, with many new models containing sensor eyes which will stop the downward progress of the door if a child or object gets in the way. However, these sensors can fail, and more so, the sensor will pay attention to what’s underneath it, not around it. Should you lean against the door while it’s descending or ascending, your shirt or pant leg can get caught in the track, jamming the door, ripping your clothes, or knocking you over for a nasty hit on the head. That’s if it doesn’t catch a hand or your hair instead.
Be sure to store objects away from the door and stand a healthy distance away. Leaning against the door won’t make you look cool – it’ll make you look like an idiot when you get your jacket ripped off.
- Protect Your Key and Keep an Eye on Children
Let’s be honest; we’ve all caught ourselves mesmerized by the door going up and down before. You don’t have to admit it to anyone, but you need to be aware that children do the same thing. If your key is left within easy reach of a kid, you’ll find them opening and closing the door at random times, wearing out the track and motor unnecessarily or, more importantly – getting trapped under a descending door, getting their hand hooked in the seam, or even bringing the door down on a valuable object.
Should your door happen to break while a child is playing with it or near it, and all those 200 pounds no longer have heavy coils to support them, this could result in broken bones, severe bruises, and even the loss of life. Be sure to have a long conversation with any children who will be near the door and explain how dangerous it is. Yes, they may look like they’re using the Force by making it go up and down, but robot prosthetics are a little out of your budget, so losing their arm like Luke or Anakin isn’t an option.
There’s no need to be afraid of your garage door. They’re build sturdy, have several safety measures in place, and are trusted by thousands of home owners around the world. But to make sure you don’t get your first appearance on TV as the poor fool who got injured operating one, observe these six tips and keep both yourself, children, and your garage door safe.