You Don't Have a Safe Garage Door

I just got another email about a kid dying, going to heaven and coming back which gives me an excellent opening to talk about garage doors.  Modern automatic doors all have seeing-eye electronic safety device so the door won't close if there is an obstruction beneath the door, such as a young child underneath which is what occurred in this heavenly tale.  This situation had to occur with an older garage door without the electronic eye - safety device.  If you have an older door without it you should have the device installed.  "What do you think I'm stupid?  Of course I have one on my garage door."  Yes, I think you're stupid if you've had it for years and never tested it, at least annually, to see if it still works.
Now that you're proud of yourself for going out and testing your system and now feel that your family is safe - think again.  Did you test the crush-proof feature of your garage door?
The electronic eye is between 12 to 14 inches off of the garage floor.  Anything that is under the eye will not prevent the door from closing, that is why you have the crush-proof feature.  Simply put if the door encounters resistance before it fully closes it will open.  Say your kid, whose leg is less than 12 inches in diameter, is under the door and under the electronic eye.  When the door encounters the resistance it will automatically open freeing the leg or other appendage. The force is still quite strong but it's better than the alternative of  being pinned until help arrives.  I tested mine today using an upside down plastic dishpan.  The door crushed the pan about half way then opened by itself.  Not feeling so smug now - are you.
Bet you don't change the batteries every year in your smoke-detectors either.


Unknown said...

As a former manager of a Technical Support call center for a manufacturer of garage door openers that is the best advice you could give anyone who has an opener on their garage door.
Not only should they test that the safety eyes are functioning properly, they should also test the obstruction reversal system.
No operator manufactured before 1993 had safety eyes. The only had obstruction systems. In order to test those you need to put a 2x4 on the ground under the door and then close the door. when it hits the obstruction the door should reverse to the open position. If it does not it is time to replace the opener.
All garage door openers have this system, so it is important to test both these systems a couple of times a year.

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