Easy 3-step garage door safety checklist

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to play a game.  We would press the garage door button, and try to run out as fast as we could, racing to get under the garage door before it closed.  We had no idea how dangerous this was, and obviously this was before 1993 when new laws required safety sensors because kids were getting hurt by this exact game.

Now, all garage doors have Autoreverse sensors and other safety sensors.  They are super easy to check, and I reccomend that you test them at least twice a year.  Sign up to receive an email when it is time to check your garage door.

Following these easy to do tips will help keep your garage in the best working order, and prevent costly repairs.

If your Garage door won’t open, I’d also check these three things.  Each of them could be the problem.

  1. Autoreverse Sensor
  2. Door pressure Test
  3. Balance Test

Autoreverse Sensor

Testing your garage door sensor is very easy – takes about 30 seconds.  On either side of your garage door are little black sensors that send an invisible beam across the opening.  They should be mounted about 6-inches from the ground.

To test the garage door sensor: open your garage door take an object that is taller than the sensor (I use an old Amazon box), and place it directly in the garage door opening.  Then press the button to close the door.  It should NOT close.   My garage door flashes it’s overhead light to signal that something is in the way.  Now, remove the box, and try to close the door.  It should close with no problems.

Also, If your garage door is not closing, you may want to check the sensors, and make sure nothing is in their path blocking the invisible laser.

Door Pressure Test

To test the door pressure sensor, take a piece of wood (I use a scrap 2×4) and place it so it is UNDER the beam of the sensor.  In other words it needs to be less than 6 inches high.  With the wood in place, press the button to close the garage door.  When it touches the wood, it should automatically reverse.

Balance Test

This is the most complicated test, but also just as important as the others.  Start by pulling on the little red rope that hangs down to release the garage door from the belt or chain.  (Tip:  If you ever lose power, and need to get your garage door open, just pull this handle, and you should be able to easily lift your garage door.)  Next, using your hands, lift the garage door to chest height.  It should balance half way open.   If it doesn’t your spring may need to be re-tensioned (let the professionals do this).  If it passes the test, close the door, and push up on the lever to re-connect the door to the opener.



Garage Door Companies in Austin

A new garage door opener, installed is about $400 bucks.  Some companies try to sell you more services than you need, and others just do what you ask without a lot of hoopla.  Here’s my review of three garage door companies in Austin.

Last December, on the coldest day of the year, my garage door decided that it was done working.  I was running a little bit behind schedule. I had to swing by the office to pick up some papers before heading out to  a listing appointment on 620 – and it was a nippy 33°, so I didn’t want to mess around.

I pressed the button on the wall to open the door, and the garage door opener started to make a horrible grinding and shrieking noise, and the door opened a total of 2 feet.

So I pressed the button again, and the door closed.  Pressed it again and I got it open 4 feet.  Still not enough to back the car out.

One last try, closing and opening the door, and I managed to get it up enough to get the car out.

So as I was driving out to the lake, I called three garage door companies to send them out to the house to get a quote.  Here’s what I learned:

  1. Access
  2. Precision
  3. Cedar Park

The nice thing is that all three companies came when they said they would, and each called me first to announce they were coming.

Access Garage Door Service

Access Garage DoorsThe first company to show up was Access Garage Doors.

Of the three companies, Access had the most affordable price, and the system they were selling came with two remotes, a wall button, and one of those keypads that goes outside the door, as well.

But the guy didn’t really do much besides open the door, look at it and say, “Yep, you need a new opener”.   The good thing about this is that he didn’t try to sell me something I didn’t need, but at the same time, I think I’d have liked an inspection just in case I needed something else.

Precision Garage Door Repair

Precision Garage Door ServiceThe next company to come was the national chain Precision Garage Door.

This company was the most expensive of the three, and also came with the least amount of goodies.  Only one keychain remote was included.

But, they also did the most thorough inspection, and even sprayed stuff on my chain opener, on the garage door spring, and even the hinges and rollers.   This quieted my noisy door a lot, made it run smoother, and seemed to fix the problem, at least temporarily.

Cedar Park Garage Doors

Cedar Park Garage Doors

The third and final company to come as scheduled was the local Cedar Park Garage Doors.

By the time they came, the door was working pretty much as it should.  There didn’t seem to be much wrong.  But they also did a great inspection, and told me that although everything was working, it was a good idea to replace my motor, as it seemed to be as old as my house.

At the same time, the service guy also did the most to educate me about garage door upkeep and maintance:  Checking all the hinges and rollers, how to lubricate all the moving parts with a silicon based spray (not WD-40), how to open the door in an emergency, and that I needed some electric sensors at ankle level to bring the whole system up to code.

All in all, I was happy with each company.  I don’t want to bias you with who I chose, but I was happy overall with the price, and the quality of the job.