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Wildfire Preparedness Includes Garage Door Opener Upgrade


Battery Backup For Garage Door Openers Is Required By Law

Wildfire season in California is more disastrous each year, and it’s important for homeowners to always be prepared for evacuating their property. When imagining this scene, your thoughts probably turn to your family, pets, important documents and heirlooms that you most want to keep. But what if you are all packed up and ready to go, but trapped because a power outage has rendered your garage door opener useless, trapping your car inside? It’s not easy for everyone to access the emergency release, so that is where the battery backup comes in. Sadly, there were elderly folks who fell victim to this situation during the 2017 wildfire season, which is what led to legislation being passed.

California state senator Bill Dodd, who had a close call himself, proposed Senate Bill 969, requiring that all installations of garage doors and garage door openers have a battery backup system. Manufacturers and sellers who fail to comply face a $1,000 fine, and a $500 fine is incurred for any “installed and operational” garage door openers that have not been updated. The bill passed with bipartisan support and went into effect in July 2019.

Some homeowners grumble about the cost, which at first was about $500, but since then more affordable backup battery kits have become available. The added peace of mind is worth the additional cost, and the battery backup system will be useful during any routine power outages, in addition to wildfires. Don’t forget to test your battery backup system by unplugging the electric component and operating the opener with the battery. The battery backup may need to be replaced every 2-5 years. Most models alert the homeowner by beeping and blinking, similar to a smoke detector. You’ll want to pay attention to these indicators, because it is the responsibility of the user to keep a working battery in place. Contact your local garage door company to assess which model will work best with your existing garage door. And if you’re replacing your garage door opener altogether, be prepared for this additional cost.

How Often Should I Lubricate Garage Door Parts?

Technically, it is recommended to lubricate hinges, springs, rollers and tracks every three months. The rail, however, only needs lubrication once a year. It’s not a bad idea to set a recurring reminder on your phone’s calendar reminding you of garage door maintenance tasks, and other household chores, like replacing furnace filters, (which also should happen every three months). Do not use WD-40 for this project, as it’s not a lubricant but a solvent. White lithium grease or silicone sprays are two options that work well on mechanical parts.