Non Reversing Automatic Garage Doors Are Unsafe
If your garage door opener does not automatically reverse it should be repaired or replaced with new reversing openers. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about 73 children (ages 2 to 14 years old) have been trapped and killed under automatic garage doors since 1982 with many more being seriously injured (around 30,000 injuries a year). The garage door is the single largest piece of operating equipment in your home and one that weighs several hundred pounds.
Older Models Should Be Replaced
All garage door openers manufactured after 1991 are supposed to have a reversing system. If yours predates this requirement it is time for a new garage door opener. The requirement for an ‘electric eye’ was added in 1993 and again if your garage door does not have one it is time to replace your garage door. Like most household items garage door openers have an estimated useful lifespan and that is 10-15 years.
Where Do The Sensors Go
Electric Eye Systems should be mounted between 4 and 6 inches from the floor of the garage. This is intended to reverse the door if a child or pet is laying on the ground in the path of the door. Often
sensors are mounted 12 -16 inches above the floor which is all but useless for child safety purposes.
Should I Test My Garage Door
It is not a bad idea to test the items in your home for proper operation so you know when they stop being safe. Testing the electric eye is easy, just push the door close button and then wave your hand or foot in font of the electric eye. If the door does not stop and automatically reverse there is a problem that should be further investigated by a qualified person.
The auto reverse can be tested by placing a 2×4 piece of wood on the ground (on the flat perpendicular to the garage door) under the garage door and letting the door close. The door should reverse itself automatically when it contacts the piece of wood, if it does not auto reverse repairs or adjustments are needed.
What Else is Important
Door openers should be mounted 5 feet above the floor to keep children from playing with them. Remote controls should be kept out of reach as well, because letting kids reenact the opening scene from Indiana Jones at the tomb and sliding under the closing door at the last minutes is a bad idea.
Having a garage door company evaluate your doors safety from time to time is a good idea.