Your garage door is one of the largest components of your home’s facade. It is also the single largest moving object in your home. It can weigh between 200 and 250 pounds all on its own. Even when properly counterbalanced, it exerts around 20 to 50 pounds of downward pressure.
Because of the potential safety hazard this poses, federal regulations from 1993 dictate that all garage doors must come with automatic reversal features to prevent injury. Even with these regulations, over 20,000 garage door injuries are reported each year.
Neighborhood Garage Door Services of Kansas City, KS is always concerned about our customers’ safety. So we’ve put together a quick guide for you to test the automatic reversal function of your overhead garage door.
When to check
As with any regular maintenance on your garage door, it’s important to have a regular schedule. Your reversal mechanisms should be tested once or twice every year. Checking at the time changes each year is a handy way to remember.
You should also consider timing during the actual check itself. Make sure that there’s not any activity going on while performing your test. Don’t conduct the test while one of you teenagers is doing yard work and going in and out of the garage. Don’t inspect the function while kids are playing in the garage.
What to test
There are two components you need to check to ensure that the reversal mechanism is working properly. The first is the eye sensor system. This system uses optics to determine if something is in the path of the door. There are two parts to this system, one on each side of the door opening. On either side, you’ll see a small black or grey box.
Each has an eye pointing inward towards the other. An infrared beam passes from one to the other. If this beam is interrupted by an object or person, it automatically reverses the overhead door. Even if it is only blocked momentarily, the door fully reverses and will not move again without someone activating the switch. In addition, if the eyes are misaligned, it will prevent the door from closing.
The second is the pressure system. In case there is something in the path of the descending garage door that is above the level of the eyes, this secondary system exists. This system is activated when the door bumps something. A common situation where this system could be useful is if your rear bumper is under the door, but not activating the eye sensors. It does not take much resistance to reverse the door. If it did, injury could still occur.
Performing the test
Testing the eye sensor system is very easy. First, push the button to raise the door. Now, place an object in the path of the eye sensors. Next, activate the switch. The door should only move a foot or so down the track before reversing. Many makes and models will also blink the lights on the opener to signal that the eyes have been activated.
Testing the pressure system is just a little different. You have to put something in the path of the door without blocking the infrared beam of the eye sensors. A sawhorse will work great because it can straddle the beam. You could also use a step ladder, small A-frame ladder, or a table. Be sure not to use a nice table because it might get scratched.
Be sure to use some kind of object that straddles the beam, and not your hand. In case the reversal function is not working, you don’t want to risk injury. Always remember, safety first!
At Neighborhood Garage Door Services of Kansas City, Kansas we always want our customers to have the best possible experience with their garage doors. If you find a problem with your reversal function, call us right away! Our courteous customer service representatives will get you on the road to repair. We’ll dispatch one of our certified technicians to get your reversal system working again. Give us a call today!