April 2010 Edition

Garage Overhead Door Hazards

How do we test our garage overhead door operator and how do we know if it is safe?
According to reports received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 60 children between the ages of 2 and 14 have been trapped and killed under automatic garage doors since March 1982. This is approximately 4 such deaths per year. Other children have suffered brain damage or serious injuries when the closing door contacted them and failed to stop and reverse its direction.
CPSC urges consumers to check the condition and operation of their garage door and the opener. A properly operating garage door will be "balanced." This means that the door will stay in place when stopped in any partially opened position. A severely unbalanced garage door could unexpectedly crash to the floor possibly striking someone under the open door.
Garage 1
To check the garage door, the garage door opener must be detached from the door while in the closed position. On most openers manufactured since 1982, a "quick-release" mechanism is provided which permits the opener to be detached from the door. To avoid amputation or crushing injuries, homeowners should be careful when manually operating the door not to place hands or fingers between door sections or near pulleys, hinges, or springs. The door should not stick or bind when opened or closed. If doors are not "balanced," or if they bind or stick, they should be serviced by a professional.
Once the garage door is operating properly, homeowners should check to see that the garage door opener's force and limit settings are adjusted according to manufacturer's instructions. Check the garage door operator owner’s manual for any instructions on testing the safety features. One quick test is to place a 2x4 on the floor of the garage in the door's path. If the door does not properly reverse on striking the 2x4 then the garage door opener should be disengaged until the unit is either adjusted according to the instructions in the owner’s manual, repaired, or replaced with a new garage door opener. A professional garage door service should be contacted if the homeowner is not comfortable with performing these tests, repairs and adjustments.
garage 2
All homeowners should disconnect all garage door openers that have not been certified as meeting the requirements of the voluntary ANSI/UL standard 325-1982.The standard calls for a number of safety features not found on earlier openers, and also subjects new openers to more stringent safety tests. 
CPSC cautions consumers that not all devices that open and close the garage door are necessarily safe. Some old openers are equipped with a mechanism that only stops the closing door when it strikes an object, not reversing the door in the process. Other pre-1982 openers have a device intended to reverse the closing door when it strikes an object, but for reasons related to age, installation and maintenance, these products may not be safe enough to prevent entrapment of a child. These openers cannot be adjusted or repaired to provide the automatic reversing feature found on later devices.
The CPSC requires that all garage door operators manufactured or imported after January 1, 1993, for sale in the United States be outfitted with an external entrapment protection system. This system can be an electric eye, a door edge sensor, or any other device that provides equivalent protection. If an electric eye is used, it should be installed at a height of 4 to 6 inches above the floor.
Consumers should inspect garage doors and operation of the door opener every 30 days to verify that the system is functioning properly. Hardware and fittings should be checked to keep the door on track at all times. Should a hazard exist, homeowners should disconnect the automatic opener from the door as specified in the owner's manual, and manually open and close the garage door until needed repair/ replacement is completed.
Garage 3
Lastly, homeowners should relocate the wall switch in the garage as high as practical above the floor in an effort to restrict children's use of the automatic garage door. Remote control door operating devices should be kept locked in the car and away from children. Parents should also tell their children about the potential hazard.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/523.html

Consumers can obtain this publication and additional publication information from the Publications section of CPSC's web site or by sending your publication request to info@cpsc.govTwenty Point Check List
   1. Check door for proper alignment
   2. Check torsion spring mounting pad and/or operator front mounting pad
   3. Tighten center and end bearing plates, and check bearings (if torsion spring)
   4. Check and adjust track as required, tighten all mounting brackets
   5. Check and tighten all track hand angle bolts and ceiling mounts
   6. Check and tighten operator hang angle bolts and ceiling mounts
   7. Tighten all on-door hardware and make sure the bottom brackets are secure
   8. Check cable drums for cracks and worn grooves
   9. Check pulleys for worn bearings, and lift cables for frayed areas
   10. Check safety restraining cables on extension springs
   11. Adjust spring tension and door balance test
   12. Check complete perimeter weather-seals and bottom astragal seal
   13. Check door security lock
   14. Check for worn moving parts(springs, rollers, hinges, pulleys, bearings)
   15. Lubricate all moving door parts
   16. Lubricate operator chain, screw or rail
   17. Check wall button function, location and remote signal
   18. Check emergency release function
   19. Check and adjust up and down sensitivity and limits as needed
   20. Test automatic operator safety reverse feature and photoelectric cell sensors

 If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.


  A Tip Of The Hat To:

Debbie Scott

Prudential Georgia Realty

310 Town Center Avenue, Suite B1

Suwanee, Georgia 30024

770-633-0494

**** Thank You****