Garage door safety month was back in June but it’s never too late to perform an inspection. As home and business owners, we use our garage doors a lot. It is easy to forget how heavy and potentially dangerous a door could be. While they don’t look it, some garage panels can weigh in excess of 400 pounds. This is quite a bit of weight and if you were to find yourself underneath it, severe injury or death is a very real possibility.
Back in 1996, the CPSC published strict guidelines on automatic garage door openers with the goal of reducing the amount of children suffering injuries or death from negligent opener use.
These rules required manufacturers to comply with specific criteria that would make operating a garage safer. However, some garages still do pose a safety risk.
In a study performed a couple years after the government regulations were introduced, researchers found garage doors were still not reversing properly. The researchers discovered that 20 out of 50 doors did not reverse when coming in contact with a roll of paper towels or mannequin. Of the 30 doors that did reverse, 21 of them still exerted pressure exceeding 130 pounds before reversing.
Today, manufacturers are held to even more stringent standards. Still, we must remain vigilant and understand that garage doors do come with risks.
How to Safety Check Your Garage Using a Roll of Paper Towels
Researchers chose to use a roll of paper towels in their study because the density is similar to that of a child’s body. This test is a simple and cheap way to see if your garage’s reversing mechanism is safe. There are two parts to this test:
1) Testing Sensors
For this test, place a roll of paper towels so that it is blocking the sensor at the base of the garage door. Hit your wall switch and see if the door operates. The sensors should detect an object and prevent the door from lowering. If your door does lower, there’s a problem with the sensors and garage door service is needed.
2) Reverse Mechanism Test
Start with the door raised up. Set your roll of paper towels on its side under the door and hit your wall switch or remote. The garage door should immediately reverse once it comes in contact with the paper towels. However, just reversing isn’t enough. Be sure to watch closely – the door should not crush or bend the cardboard roll in the middle. If your door looks like it’s putting too much pressure on the paper towel rolls, it means your reversing mechanism is not safe and requires repair or replacement. Immediately disengage the automatic opener and contact a local garage door repair company to help.
We hope that you enjoy the benefits of having a garage but please remember to perform monthly safety inspections. Just a few minutes of your time could help prevent an injury that would have otherwise occurred.