7 Garage Door Safety Tips

Garage door safety

Garage doors injure thousands of people every year. Help keep your family safe with these tips.

Your garage door is the largest, heaviest moving object in your home. You don’t want to mess with it. Every year, hospital emergency departments treat more than 15,000 injuries from garage doors nationwide, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).

These tips, along with regular maintenance, will help keep you safe.

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1. Check the safety sensors.

The garage door opener’s safety sensors are attached to the rails on which the garage door rides, about 6 inches off the ground. Their job is to reverse the direction of a closing garage door if a person or animal walks under a closing garage door.

To test, push the control button to start closing the garage door. Before the door closes, place a broom or similar object in front of one of the sensors. Blocking the beam should make the door stop immediately and reverse. If the door doesn’t reverse, call a garage door opener professional to inspect the garage door opener and make any needed repairs or adjustments.

2. Keep passwords secret.

Lots of companies—including Craftsman—have openers that let you set one-time and user-specific codes. That’s handy if you’ve got in-laws visiting or a package to be delivered, so they can have access without you having to reveal the passcode for the garage door opener’s key pad. New smartphone apps also offer more control by enabling you to open and close the door from afar.

3. No free rides.

While it might seem like fun to kids to ride up the garage door while hanging onto the door handle, that’s a big no-no. Teach kids that the garage door is not a toy.

4. Watch your fingers.

Teach children to keep their hands away from the joints between panels of the garage door when it’s closing. NEISS reports more than 7,500 injuries from fingers getting caught between door sections each year. Some newer doors have pinch protection to reduce the risk of serious hand and finger injuries.

5. Keep garage door opener remotes out of the reach of children.

Hide transmitters from children and make sure the wall control for the garage door opener is at least 5 feet from the ground so young children can’t reach it.

6. Test the auto-reverse.

All garage door openers made after 1991 must have a reversing mechanism that makes a door change direction if it touches something in its path. To test the auto-reverse, open the garage door and place a full roll of paper towels on its side below the center of the door. Then push the button to close the garage door. The door should reverse when it touches the paper towel. If not, adjust the door’s downward force, or call in a pro to handle it.

7. Test the force.

The door should stop if you try to push it down when it’s rising or push up on the bottom of the door as it’s lowering. If it doesn’t, you might be able to fix it yourself by adjusting the force settings.

If your garage door isn’t up to today’s safety standards or is damaged beyond repair, Sears Home Services can help. Learn about garage door installation services here.

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