Did you know that more than 63% of houses in the United States have at least one garage? Garages are very convenient for not only storing your car but also storing other items that you don’t have room for in your house. Some people even like to turn their garages into extra living space for their homes.
Whatever the case, it is crucial that you learn all about garage door safety whenever you are in or near your garage. This is especially important if you have young children that don’t know what kind of dangers a garage door can create. But where should you start when it comes to garage door safety tips?
Keep reading and learn how you can keep yourself and the rest of your family safe around your garage door.
Why Is Garage Door Safety Important?
Many people think that garage door safety is a frivolous thing, but this isn’t at all true. While a garage door may seem like a relatively harmless mechanism, it can actually do a lot of damage if you’re not careful. This is especially true with older garage doors that have not been repaired or renovated in many years.
Keep in mind that garage doors are hundreds and even thousands of pounds and consist of metal, glass, and many other dense, heavy materials. All of those materials are hoisted up by a special mechanism every time you press the button on your garage door opener. When a garage door is working as it should and if you are following all the right precautions, the garage door should be relatively safe.
However, if there is something wrong with the garage door, if it is old, or if you did not follow certain safety precautions, a garage door could quickly become a very dangerous thing. For example, when pulling into the garage with your car, there is a chance that the garage door could collapse over your car if the lifting mechanism happens to give out.
The Potential Dangers of Garage Doors
Depending on how the garage door falls and how heavy it is, it could seriously damage your car. In some cases, it could even injure you while you’re inside the car. You might even get trapped inside the car, depending on how the garage door affects your vehicle’s structure.
As you can imagine, a collapsing garage door can also be dangerous for those walking or running into the garage. There could also be a problem with the garage door’s auto-reverse mechanism, which could cause dangerous complications. Other dangers may come from opening or closing the garage door incorrectly, piling up objects near the garage door, and so on.
Whatever the case, it is vital that you know about basic garage door safety. If you have children, it is also important that you teach them. The last thing you want is someone getting hurt due to a simple fault in garage door safety. But where should you start when it comes to educating yourself about garage door safety?
Keep the Garage Door Opener Away From Any Children
You might not think of a garage door opener as being a dangerous device, but it can be if it falls into the wrong hands. A garage door opener’s main purpose, of course, is to remotely allow a garage door to open and close. This makes it a very convenient device for when you’re driving your vehicle into your garage.
It is also relatively safe when you use it as it is meant to be used. But problems can arise if the garage door opener is used incorrectly. Children often think that garage door openers are toys.
After all, the concept is very attractive to children: all you do is press a button, and the big garage door moves up or down. However, a garage door opener in the hands of a child can be a very dangerous thing, especially if the child is unsupervised. In the past, there have been dozens of incidents of children dying as a result of using a garage door in an improper way.
Children often get into trouble with garage doors because they try to use them as if they are a toy. A child might try to run into the garage as the garage door is closing to see if they can make it. They might also try to climb on the garage door as it is rising or coming down.
A child might also try to lodge objects underneath the garage door as it is lowering to see what will happen. All of these behaviors can be quite dangerous. If a child uses a garage door opener in an improper way, the garage door might get lodged or the mechanism might get damaged.
What You Need to Know
In some cases, such as with old garage doors, there is even a chance that the garage door could collapse. This could seriously damage a child or worse. If left unsupervised, a child might even get trapped under the garage door for a long period of time without any help.
A child might even unintentionally damage the mechanism of the garage door. They can do this by lodging certain objects against the garage’s mechanism or by purposely tampering with the mechanism to see what will happen. More often than not, however, the majority of the danger will come from using a garage door opener in an improper way.
For that reason, it is very important that you educate your child all about the dangers of using a garage door opener the wrong way. It is also important to emphasize to your child that a garage door opener is not a toy.
Ideally, you should not even let your child have access to the garage door opener.
Instead, place the garage door opener in an area where the child can’t reach it. You could also try hiding it in a drawer or in another area where the child might not look.
Keep the Area Around the Garage Door Clear
Many people have the habit of piling up various objects around their garage doors. After all, garages are often areas to store things, and some garages are even made into extra living spaces. But no matter what you happen to store in your garage, you should always keep things far away from your garage door and especially the mechanism of the garage door.
If you find that you don’t have a lot of space in your garage and can’t help but pile things near the garage door, it is best to clear out your garage to a certain extent. Try moving some items back into your house or into another area or storage unit. That way, the area around your garage door should be clearer.
Keep in mind that not only the base of the garage door should be clear but also the entire span of the garage door. For example, when the garage door rises up, it will crawl along the top of the garage. If you have boxes or other items piled all the way up to the ceiling, the garage might bump into those objects as it moves.
This is always a dangerous scenario for many reasons.
The Danger of Clutter
For one, the garage door may knock over one of the objects and damage some of your items as a result. On the other hand, one of the stored objects may end up damaging the garage door itself, such as by scratching or denting it.
If something manages to get stuck in the garage door’s mechanism, the garage door could sustain serious damage. In particular, the mechanism might lock the garage door in place, and you might not be able to move the door either with the garage door opener or by trying to lift or lower it with your hands. A broken garage door mechanism might also cause the garage door to collapse.
As mentioned before, a collapsing garage door is very dangerous for a variety of reasons. This is not to mention that leaving items in the way of your garage door could end up damaging them. If you tend to store important items in your garage, the last thing you want to happen is to have them get damaged due to the movement of your garage door.
And, of course, if a stray item happens to damage your garage door, you’ll likely have to pay for repairs. While you might be able to repair some minor damage to your garage door, such as scratches, it is best to let the professionals handle problems that have to do with the garage door’s mechanism. If you try to repair the door’s mechanism without any prior knowledge, you might actually do more harm than good.
More than that, you might end up injuring yourself as you try to work on the garage door’s mechanism. For that reason and to avoid these problems in the first place, try to avoid stacking any objects near the garage door, especially the mechanism.
Inspect Your Garage Door on a Regular Basis
Many people make the mistake of believing that their garage doors are always in good shape, even if they’re not. Your garage door might appear to be functioning just fine, but there may be a small part of the mechanism that is starting to wear down or might already be broken. You won’t know what kind of state the garage door is in until you actually have a look at it for yourself.
For that reason, it is important that you inspect your garage door on a regular basis. Of course, if you’ve never inspected a garage door before, you might not know what to look for. Fortunately, inspecting a garage door is not a difficult task.
In particular, you should inspect the springs of the garage door. The springs are what provide the garage door with the majority of its power. Without the springs, the garage door wouldn’t be able to move.
The first thing you should look for is any sign of rust on the springs. If there is any rust, this is a bad sign. Rust will continuously eat away at the springs until the springs become very weak and unstable.
This creates an increased risk of garage door collapse in the future. Even if you see the slightest speck of dust, you should try to remove it before it gets any worse. You can remove rust by scrubbing it away.
You can also protect the springs from rusting any further by using certain sprays or other materials. You should make sure that the springs look more or less new. They should not show any severe signs of wear, such as scratches or deep dents.
Check the Different Parts of the Door
If the springs are showing any signs of wear and tear, then the springs may not be moving correctly when lifting or lowering the door. This may cause them to wear down faster than they’re supposed to. Again, this can also contribute to the collapse of your garage door if you’re not careful.
Besides the springs, you will want to inspect the pully system of the garage door. Propelled by the springs and the motor of the garage door, the pullies are what allow the garage door to open and close. If they don’t function as they should, you can imagine that you would encounter some problems with your garage door.
As long as everything looks good, your garage door should be in good shape. If you’re confused about what you should look for when inspecting your garage door, it might be a good idea to call a professional to help you. While it might cost you a bit of extra money to hire a professional to inspect the garage door, the professional will have plenty of experience with garage doors and will know exactly what to look for.
This is important since, after all, you don’t want to end up glazing over an important problem in your garage door. You should aim to inspect your garage door at least once a month. This will ensure that you don’t miss any new problems that happen to arise all of a sudden.
Don’t Leave the Garage Door Open for Long Periods
If you’re home, leaving your garage door opener isn’t a big problem. However, if you leave home and forget that you left your garage door open, this could lead to all sorts of problems. Even leaving your garage door slightly open is a bad idea.
When you leave your garage door open for long periods of time, there will be a certain strain placed on the garage door’s mechanism. This is especially true if the garage door is not fully up or not fully down but instead somewhere in the middle. Doing this will put a lot of strain on the spring system and the pullies in particular.
Doing this occasionally might not do too much damage, but doing it all the time could create some serious problems. In particular, leaving the garage door partially open can end up wearing down the spring and pulley systems. This will not only compromise the safety of your garage door, but it will also cost you money down the line when you eventually need to call someone to repair or replace the pieces of the garage door system.
If you’re not careful, the garage door’s mechanism might break down once it starts moving again. It may even get stuck in its partially open position or it may be more likely to collapse if the mechanism has been strained too far. Whatever the case, it is important not to leave the garage door agape for too long.
Leaving it in such a state for only an hour or two while you’re around will not do much damage. However, leaving it that way for several hours or even days at a time can cause some serious damage. More than that, leaving your garage door open also leaves you and your home more susceptible to other dangers, such as robberies or intruders.
Leaving your garage door open, especially overnight makes it easy for potential robbers to sneak into your home. A garage door acts as an extra barrier to protect your home, and once that barrier is compromised, a robber would only need to break through the door separating the garage from the inside of your house. This is not to mention that wild and stray animals could crawl into your garage as well.
If you’re not careful, you might have to deal with creatures such as snakes, raccoons, possums, and other animals that managed to get stuck in your garage while you were away. You might have to deal with a number of pesky insects as well. More than that, if you leave your garage door open while you’re away, a storm might come by and soak the inside of your garage.
This might not be a big deal if you don’t store things in your garage. However, if you do store important things there, then the rain and changes in temperature may severely damage your belongings. And, of course, excess exposure to rain or sun might also damage the flooring in your garage.
To avoid these problems, all you need to do is close your garage door when you leave home and when you’re not using your garage.
Check the Auto-Reverse Feature of Your Garage Door
The auto-reverse feature on your garage door has to do with the sensor on the garage door. When something passes through the sensor as the garage door is lowering, the auto-reverse feature should cause the garage door to climb back up its mechanism. This is an important safety feature for a variety of reasons.
For example, suppose that the garage door starts to come down just as you’re pulling your car into the garage. The auto-reverse feature will stop the garage door as it’s coming down and propel it upwards again. Without this feature, the garage door would continue to come down, and it might even crush your car with you in it.
The auto-reverse feature is also important when you’re not in a vehicle. For example, you might press your garage door remote to lower the garage door when your pet or child happens to walk into the garage. A functioning auto-reverse feature will cause the door to stop just as the pet or child crosses the door’s sensor.
In the past, there used to be many more problems associated with this feature. In fact, several children died due to this feature not working as it should. Fortunately, the auto-reverse feature is much more functional today than it used to be.
Even so, you should make it your responsibility to check this feature on a regular basis. You should try to check the feature once a month. You can check this feature by rolling an object under the garage door as it closes. As long as the auto-reverse feature is working, the garage door should stop and climb back up as soon as an object passes by its sensor.
All About Garage Door Safety
Garage door safety is no laughing matter. Many people think that garage doors are relatively safe, but this is only true if you keep track of your garage door. For example, you should regularly inspect your garage door, never let your children play with the garage door opener, never pile objects around the garage door, and always check that the auto-reverse feature works.