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Opening a Garage Door without Electricity


how to open a garage door during a power outageIf you’re dealing with a power outage in your area, then your garage door remote and wall switch won’t work. In some cases, this could be a safety hazard if someone is stuck in the garage. Or, in some cases, you may need to access your vehicle but can’t get the door open.

Fortunately, there’s a procedure you can use to manually raise and lower the door without electricity

Note: Please follow these instructions carefully. Failure to correctly disengage the emergency release could lead to permanent garage door damage or bodily injury.

1) Before you try to operate the door manually, make sure the area surrounding the door is free of objects and persons. Keep the area blocked off and make sure those around you are aware of your intentions. You never want someone to run under the door when you’re operating it.

2) Make sure the door is in a closed position. Never disengage the emergency release while the door is raised, or it will come crashing down.

3) Look above the door, in-between where your garage door opener is and the springs. You should notice an emergency release handle or bypass cord. The cord or handle is usually red and includes some type of tag or warning on it. When you pull this lever, the garage will be disconnected from your opener.

4) Once the panel is disconnected, you should be able to easily lift it by hand. Be careful, as the door will move along the tracks much quicker than it would through the automatic opener. If you raise or lower the panel too quickly, it could lead to damage. Make sure to guide the door up or down and do not let go until it’s completely stopped moving and in a secure position.

5) One important thing to note about disengaging the bypass lever is that anyone can open your door from the outside. Even if it looks like your garage door is closed, it can be raised back up by hand. So, after you exit the garage and close the door, you may need to reenter through your home and lock the interior or re-engage the emergency release to prevent intruders from entering your garage.

Have You Considered Installing Battery Backup?

If you live in Sacramento, or really any neighborhood in California, you may be required to install battery backup on any new garage door opener installation. Any door opener installed after 2019 is required by law to have it. The law was passed in response to California’s wildfires in 2018 when a state congressman and his neighbors had difficulty accessing their garage door to escape the fires due to a power outage.

But regardless of whether or not battery backup is required, you really should consider installing it. Not only will it ensure you have access to your garage door during an emergency, but you’ll also have the convenience of being able to open your door during any power outage, perhaps from those intense rainstorms we often get in the winter time in Sacramento, California. You can get kits to install battery backup on any existing garage door opener. Give us a call. We’d be happy to install one for you.

Troubleshooting a Door That Won’t Open

If you’ve successfully disengaged the emergency lever but still can’t open the door, there’s a few potential reasons why. First, the garage door springs found above the panel serve as a counterbalance to the extreme weight of your door. Some panels can weigh as much as 400 pounds, which is impossible for most people to lift on their own. Your will do most of the work for you. If you have a broken garage door spring, then you won’t be able to lift the panel manually. To find out if one broke, look above the panel for signs of a cracked or rusted spring.

If your springs are still in good shapes, it’s possible that there’s something blocking the track, or the door became misaligned. In either situation, it’s important that you don’t try to force the door open or closed as this could lead to a door off track. To resolve, look for damage along both sides of the track and make sure the rollers are lined up correctly. In some cases, a small amount of lubricant can help.

If the door still won’t raise, consider calling a technician for help.

Question: Fix My Garage Door? Answer: Try Aligning the Photo Eye

One of the most common reasons people ask us to fix their garage door is the photo eye is out of alignment. Installed on any garage door post 1993, the photo eyes transmit laser readings to each other. If something gets in the way, it automatically shuts the door off to prevent the door from hitting children, pets, and furniture. First, start by cleaning the photo eye with soap and water. Next, check the alignment of the eyes to make sure they are pointing at each other. Measure the height of each eye and make sure it is a universal distance from the ground.