My Home Inspector Blog: "Four Tips For Garage Door Safety"- Encinitas Home Inspector

"Four Tips For Garage Door Safety"- Encinitas Home Inspector

"Four Tips For Garage Door Safety"- Encinitas Home Inspector


The home inspection business can be quite entertaining at times! I was inspecting the garage door at an Encinitas, CA home. A new door opener had been recently installed. When I tested the photo sensors, the door did not reverse, so I traced the sensor wires and found they were not connected. I looked up at the garage door opener and almost broke out laughing. There were the new photo sensors installed on the ceiling! Did the installer even bother reading the installation instructions? I guess this is what you do when you have parts left over!

 

 

Weighing up to several hundred pounds, the garage door is the heaviest moving item in your home. There are approximately 30,000 garage door-related accidents per year in the United States. To avoid serious injury and help ensure safe, reliable operation, here are four tips for garage door safety by your Encinitas home inspector:

 

1. Test the balance. Close your garage door and pull the emergency disconnect cord. If the springs are properly tensioned, you will be able to easily lift the door. It should stay 3 or 4 feet above the floor when you let go. If the balance is bad, examine the springs to see if one is broken. I find a lot of broken garage door springs at home inspections. If the springs are not broken, you should have them adjusted. An out-of-balance garage door will put excessive strain on the opener motor and wear it out quickly.

 

 

 

2. Inspect the hardware. Examine the garage door's bolts, nuts, screws, rollers, hinges, cables and other moving parts for wear, rust or other structurally compromising damage.

 

 

3. Check the safety reversing system. Most garage door openers made after 1993 have an auto-reverse safety function. Newer openers have two safety functions- photo sensors and a pressure sensor. To test the photo sensors, block the sensor beam with your foot while the door is in motion. The door will reverse if it is working properly. The photo sensors should be installed within 6" of the ground. If they are installed too high, small pets or children can be crushed. To test the pressure sensor, place a 2x4 under the door. The door should reverse when it hits the 2x4.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Control button. Be sure the control button for the opener is installed at least five feet high on the wall. This will prevent small children from playing with the door and possibly being injured.

 

 

 

 

 

These four tips for garage door safety by your Encinitas home inspector were brought to you by Steve Stenros, owner of First Choice Inspections. Steve is a CREIA MCI inspector and can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection.


Originally posted at First Choice Inspections.


 


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Comment balloon 23 commentsSteve Stenros • June 19 2011 02:49AM

Comments

Good Morning Steve, an excellent post for home owners to use as a 'check list'.

Have a great Fathers Day!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) about 7 years ago

i Steve,    I will add to my   list for my cliens to do list..thanks for sharing.

Posted by Ronald DiLalla, No. Orange Cty Real Estate (Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824) about 7 years ago

Great list.  Everyone should use this.

Posted by Steven Wright, CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283 (Home Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Steven, great information as usual. Maintain the garage door or replace it. It's not worth the risk of injury.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 7 years ago

Thank you for the information. I will check the garage doors later today.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 7 years ago

Thank you Steve for great information. The inspector I've used stresses much of what you just penned although I hadn't thought about the actual control button being at least 5 feet high to protect children.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) about 7 years ago

Testing the pressure sensor with a 2x4 only tells you if it works at all. It won't tell you the strength setting. Catch the door with your hand as it is lowering. If you can cause it to reverse with a moderate tug then its OK. If you really have to work to make it reverse the setting is too strong and needs to be adjusted.

A 2x4 is too solid an object to test the strength. A beach ball in the way should reverse the door. Any stronger setting can injure children or pets.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

Thanks, Dan. Happy Father's Day to you!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Ronald, Steven: Just four simple steps to keep your door in tune and operating safely.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Pamela: You bring up a good point. Some garage doors are so badly maintained, the best thing to do is replace it! In my opinion, if you have an older tilt-up style garage door, why not replace it with a sectional roll-up door?

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Gita: Let me know if it received a passing grade!

David: It's a good idea. And although the diagram says a safety label should be posted by the control button, I realize this is not a perfect world- I seldom see those.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Robert: Although I personally test the doors by offering resistance with my hand, I hesitate suggesting the idea to others. Not only can they injure themselves doing so, they may damage the door if it is a lesser-quality door. Some doors will fold up like a soda can with the least amount of pressure, especially if the opener is incorrectly attached to it. One inspector around here invented a special "pop top" to install on a water bottle! After testing thousands of doors manually, I have learned (as you probably have) that hand resistance works just fine.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago
I have underground parking at my condo complex so I don't have to worry about the garage door, but I have some friends whose dog was caught under the garage door and they had to put it to sleep. It was sad.
Posted by EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat (Russel Ray Photos) about 7 years ago

Sorry to hear that, Eric!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Hey Steve,

What great info and thanks for the heads up, I had no idea of much of this info and (about "pressure sensors" when it came to garage doors.

Btw, I came by your post as a result of a re-post from Dan Phillips, (giving credit where it's due) as a result I've subscribed to you blog.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) about 7 years ago

Steve, very good information. Truly appreciate how you lay out what to look for, and even putting a video. Really good job. So helpful!

Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) about 7 years ago

Lynda: That's great! Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the subscription! Enjoy the blogs!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Pacita: Thanks so much for the kind words! The video segments have really been helping with SEO.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

It's amazing how often you see those sensors installed like that!

Posted by Steve Hall, Make the Call to Hankins and Hall (RE/MAX United) about 7 years ago

Another top notch video on safety Steve!  Now this installation is an eye opener!!!  What the??

But we all know that garage doors can really be a hazard to pets or children.  Good for you for finding the need for repair here!

Pamela

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) about 7 years ago

Steve: Isn't it? They print the instructions in 12 different languages!

Pamela: Have you ever seen one installed like that back East? Maybe it's a California thing!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Sensors at the top?  That is just amazing!  This is such an important safety feature - who in the world would make that mistake?

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, RSPS, SRS, REALTOR(R) Sturbridge-Shrewsbury MA (Cameron Real Estate Group) about 7 years ago

Crazy huh, Kathryn!  Here are a few more for a good laugh...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

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