By Tim Bohart, Owner
Gateway Garage Doors & Gates

Q. How safe are garage doors and garage door operators?
A. Garage doors and openers have been engineered and manufactured to have systems in place to monitor the condition and take appropriate action when a fault is detected. Most homeowners are familiar with the safety photo eyes located on the bottom left and right side of the door, usually located on the track running along and up the wall. These photo eyes are crucial for preventing injury and entrapment; they do this by creating a constant invisible beam across the opening that will stop the operator’s downward movement if the beam is broken. To test this feature, simply place a large opaque object in the middle of the two opposing sensors and attempt to send the door to the closed position. The opener should recognize this obstacle and refuse to close. If it does not pass this test it will likely not stop and reverse in the case of a person or object being in the doors path while closing.

The motor on your garage door opener also has a built-in force monitor. This device is constantly checking the RPM of the motor and will stop movement if it encounters an obstacle that slows down the motor. Most commonly this can be objects such as: brooms, trash cans, vehicles, or even toys left in the opening. The correct way to test this functionality is very simple: simply place a flat 2×4 piece of wood in the center of the opening on the floor, then run the motor into the closed position and when it hits this object it should recognize it and return to the fully open position. If it does not pass this test it will likely also not function correctly in an emergency situation.

Garage doors can range anywhere from 100lbs for single car openings, to close to 1000lbs for some larger double car openings, the way this is achieved is through the counter-balance mechanism. The springs are the main component of this system and they provide the rotational force that allows door to become essentially weightless to the point you can lift it with a single finger. If a spring has lost its stored tension, or otherwise is not functioning properly, it can cause your garage door to be in a very unsafe condition. With an improperly functioning garage door spring, you may find that your opener struggles to lift the door, there may be bowing of the rail, large whining noises coming from the motor, or the door can become disconnected from the motor and cause it to slam down with incredible force. A simple test of the condition of the counter balance system is to place the door in manual operation by disconnecting the manual release cord found on your opener. Do this from a closed position then try to lift the garage door. You should notice it takes minimal force to operate, as well as the door should stay in the position you leave it when you let go. If the garage door does not do this, but instead falls to the floor, or rises up on its own, it is highly recommended to call an experienced garage door technician to inspect and adjust your door for proper function.

Q. How fast can repairs get completed?
A. Like many things in life, garage door and openers do not follow your schedule; they can break down at any point and often without warning signs. Our clients have appreciated our prompt response to any and all of their garage door related needs. We pride ourselves on providing quick service and most often can get a garage door up and running on the same day we arrive. We know the feeling of being stuck in a garage, feeling like a prisoner and not having any options to turn to, and because of this we prioritize emergency appointments and provide free car rescue at any and all times of the day.

With our vast product and industry knowledge, we are able to have on-hand a large inventory of common parts that can break down on a moment’s notice and need to be replaced the same day. Our trucks are fully stocked with these parts and our expert technicians can work on any make and model of garage door and operator that you may have installed. We can provide a quick and accurate diagnosis for every problem and recommend a repair or replacement that will ease your concerns as well as reduce the likelihood of further problems surfacing by performing preventative maintenance and repairs.