Garage door safety and security issues should be a top priority

Originally published in the Reading Eagle

By Karen L. Chandler

"People really don't take their garage doors seriously," said Donna Martin, office manager of County Garage Door Company Inc., Ruscombmanor Township.

And with homeowners appreciating the ease of pushing a button to enter their homes, safety and security issues should be a top priority.

John Rohrbach, general manager/residential sales of Overhead Door Company of Reading, Muhlenberg Township, noted that there are 15,000 garage door injuries reported every year.AY'S SPONSOR

The reversing mechanism of the opener that checks to see if anything or anyone is in the path of the closing door should be checked regularly by placing a piece of two-by-four lumber underneath the door. If the door continues to close when it touches the board, Rohrbach said a qualified garage door professional should make the necessary safety repairs.

Need to be replaced

Garage door openers installed before 1993 need to be replaced with current models, including auto-reverse and safety beams as standard features, Rohrbach said.

Martin agrees that the opener's photoelectric eyes, which alert the door to reverse its course, should be checked regularly. She said a professional should test garage doors annually to ensure they are functioning safely.

Martin said a faulty reversing mechanism could end up causing a serious injury.

"Sometimes it goes out and nobody knows it," Martin said. "It would be a horror if something like that would happen."

Homeowners who install garage door openers they purchase at a home improvement store generally get it wrong, according to Martin. Not only are doors hung incorrectly without the proper bracing, the photo eyes frequently are ignored.

"They don't install the photo eyes, or they don't put them in the proper location," she said.

And photo eye installations are a normal part of a home inspection because of their importance to residents' safety.

Placing photo eyes

DASMA, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International, said photo eyes should be placed no more than 6 inches above the garage floor. If the eyes are any higher, a person or pet could get under the beams without detection.

For safety's sake, DASMA recommends a garage door should be watched until it closes completely to be sure nothing and no one is caught underneath. Children should be warned never to duck under a closing door.

"Educating your family about garage door safety is a must," Rohrbach said.

Teaching children at an early age that garage doors can be dangerous is key, and they should be kept away from openers.

According to DASMA, wall push-buttons for residential garages should be mounted at least 5 feet off the floor to reduce tempting a child to play with the buttons.

From a security standpoint, garage doors provide a vulnerable entry point for intruders, according to Rohrbach, and should be considered as high a safety priority as front doors and windows.

Garage doors should be kept closed to prevent an unobstructed view of the valuables stored inside. Homeowners who keep tools, lawn mowers and sports equipment, plus other costly items, inside their garages should also consider covering garage windows or installing privacy glass.

Motion detector lights

Motion detector lights mounted by garage doors are another deterrent to anyone considering breaking in through the garage.

Garage door openers that light when activated can further discourage someone from entering the garage once they gain access through the door. And Rohrbach notes there are light bulbs made specifically for garage door openers.

DASMA confirms drivers should be sure to lock vehicles that are parked outside the garage, especially if there is a garage door opener inside. Openers should be hidden from view.

Rohrbach warns that if a burglar breaks into a vehicle and finds an opener, the security of the home is in jeopardy.

Although it is possible for thieves to record the transmission from a garage door opener to replay in order to open the door, rolling code technology changes the code every time the opener is used, preventing thieves from using recorded transmissions.

Homeowners should contact the manufacturer of their openers or a garage door dealer to learn more about including rolling codes on their openers.

Using a phone app

The latest and greatest technology in garage door openers provided by local dealers allows for doors to be operated through a phone app using a Wi-Fi signal.

"It's like a security system," Martin said. "People are liking it. We're putting them in constantly."

Rohrbach explains the app sends alerts when the garage door is opening or closing.

"The great thing about this device is that it's attached to the door itself, so even if your garage door is opened manually, it will monitor the movement," he said.

The app allows parents to monitor the garage door when children go outside to play, and no one needs to carry a remote control to gain access through the garage door. A garage door can be opened from anywhere to allow for a delivery or maintenance professional to come in the house without handing out a password, Rohrbach said.

As the largest moving structure in a home, a garage door should be considered high on a homeowner's priority list for safety and security. Rohrbach advises frequent visual inspection for wear and tear on garage door openers to prevent injury and break-ins.

Homeowners should contact a qualified garage door professional to perform repairs to ensure smooth operation and peace of mind.

Contact Karen L. Chandler:

Date : 12/3/2017