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Testing The Safety Features On Your Garage Door

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Your garage door comes with several safety features to prevent serious injury during the normal operation of the door or should something fail. These should be tested periodically to make sure they are working correctly. They are easy to test and something that you can do yourself. Here are the steps for testing these built-in safety mechanisms.

Garage Door Spring Safety Cable

The springs on your garage door are under high tension. If they should break or come loose, they can fly across the room and cause people and property damage. A safety cable, installed when the springs were put in, prevents this. Make sure this cable is doing its job.

  1. Locate the springs running parallel to and just below the garage ceiling.
  2. Look for a braided steel cable running through the center of each spring.
  3. Check that the cable is intact with no kinks, bends or frayed wires.
  4. Check that one end of the cable is secured to a bracket on the ceiling and the other end to a point above the garage door opening.
  5. If you find any problems, contact a service that specializes in residential garage doors to repair or replace the cables.

Motion Sensors

Should something get in the path of the garage door as it goes down, the door should stop immediately and reverse back up. The motion sensors responsible for this are easy to test.

  1. Find a small ball or something that rolls easily across the floor.
  2. Locate the two infrared motion sensors at both sides of the garage door opening near the floor. These devices send an infrared beam at each other that, when the beam is broken, stop and reverse the door.
  3. Start the garage door closing.
  4. As the door is going down, roll the ball through the garage door opening, breaking the infrared beam.
  5. If the garage door doesn't stop immediately and reverse, have a service come out to inspect and repair the sensors.

Pressure Sensor

Built into the garage door openers is a sensor that detects when the door meets resistance when it goes down. When it does, it should stop immediately and reverse. This is to catch those occasions when the motion sensors are not tripped.

  1. Open the garage door and place a chair in its path so the legs straddle the infrared motion sensor beam.
  2. Close the garage door.
  3. When the door touches the chair it should stop and reverse.
  4. If the door does not stop immediately or it stops but does not reverse, call for service.