Garage door safety tips

It is one of the heaviest moving objects in your home, but people often overlook their garage doors until something goes wrong. Owner of Accent Garage Doors in the Denver area, Jim Ryan has some tips on what you can do to make sure your family stays safe.

General safety/functionality:

If your garage door is going up and down as expected, potential issues can be an overlooked. Ignoring them can often lead to lost time or costly repairs so we’d like to share a few helpful hints and ideas to ensure that your door continues to function properly.

Noise is always a helpful indicator of garage door health. Non insulated doors will tend to rattle, while the wood variety will creak, but grinding is always an indication that something isn’t running smoothly. Sometimes it may be difficult to discern the difference between normal and troublesome noise, so let’s start with:


We recommend a garage door lubricant that can be purchased at any home improvement store on online. Metal points that move or flex should be routinely oiled. Hinges, rollers and springs will need oil. Allow time for oil to settle in before parking underneath, especially with cars having a convertible or soft tops.
Openers may need to be greased occasionally to prevent wear and to help keep it running quietly. Here in Colorado where our winters get cold, only “low temperature grease” is recommended since it will not thicken as much in colder temperatures. Be sure to remove excessive build-up of grease because this can drop onto your vehicle or floor and be tracked into your home. Other areas which may require grease are the tracks- but this should only be applied minimally IF the rollers are binding over their course of travel. Excessive greasing is not recommended as it will get messy and can be spread to clothing if you brush up against the tracks.

Safety sensors:

A common call that we receive relates to the safety sensors. If the door is not closing when the button is pressed, check the alignment and clean the lenses with a damp cloth. The sensors will usually have an LED on each one. If neither one is on, this indicates that there is a wiring or circuitry issue. If only one is on, this tells us that it is not “seeing” the other one. Make adjustments to either sensor so that each points at the other. When they are properly aligned, the door will close all the way. Keep in mind that the opener only monitors the sensors while closing- so if there is a problem opening the door, it does not pertain to the sensors. If the door is bending or not coming down straight, repeated tests should not be performed and a professional should be called as damage can occur. Please note that openers manufactured prior to 1993 were not required to have the safety sensors so that layer of protection may not be present.

Door balance:

To check if your door is balanced, consult your opener’s manual to determine how to disengage your door from your opener. Only disengage when the door is in the closed position and do not insert your fingers between the sections. Locate a handle, hinge or reinforcement to manually manipulate the door.

A balanced door can easily be opened by hand. A perfectly balanced door will hover and require the same effort to open or close it. If the door appears very heavy and comes down quickly, it’s considered out of balance. This can lead to extra wear and tear on the opener as well as an unsafe condition where the weight of the door can cause it to break free from the opener and come down unexpectedly. This can also occur if the opener release is accidentally pulled when the door is in the open position. If you think your door is too heavy, it’s time call a professional to either tighten or replace the springs.


Openers are equipped with an adjustable force setting. If the setting is too high, crushing of objects or damage to the door can occur. A good way to test your opener’s force settings would be to place a 2×4 on the floor in the center of the opening and use the opener to close the door. If the door reverses, the settings are acceptable. If it does not, consult your opener’s manual or call for service. Please note that if the pressure setting is to light, the opener will not have the required force to properly close the door. A happy medium needs to be achieved.

Visual inspection:

Here are a few things that should be routinely inspected.

Helpful hints

Keep safety eyes clean and aligned
Keep area around tracks clear
Objects that physically block the door in the center will cause the opener to reverse, while objects catching the corners will likely throw a cable off, requiring a service technician to repair.
Light bulbs. Newer light bulbs like LED or compact fluorescent lights have been found to cause frequency interruption. Most are okay to use but if your remotes are loosing their range, the bulbs should be tightened to avoid flickering or removed all together because they are emitting electronic noise that blocks the openers reception.
Batteries- colder weather has an affect on batteries. If your remotes or wireless external keypad stop working, try installing a new battery.
Weather seal (large gaps around the door, allowing cold air, snow, dirt and mice). Some larger gaps in the bottom corners can be addressed with weather seal, but if the gaps are too great, it can only be fixed by raising or repairing concrete.

Pull your opener’s manual release handle with the door in the “open”position
Attempt to adjust your springs or loosen their set screws
Remove the bottom fixtures or attempt to remove the cables
Insert fingers between section during manually operation. The sections come together quickly and will cause serious injury.