How Important Are Garage Door Safety Sensors

Garage Door Safety Sensors

Garage door safety sensors are one of the most important components in your automatic garage door system. It is the sensors’ job to detect whether a person, pet, or thing is in the way, and ensures the garage door doesn’t strike it.  

It’s the Law  

Since 1993, garage door manufacturers have been required by law to include safety sensors on all doors. This law was created as the result of numerous injuries and fatalities that occurred as the result of a garage door closing on a human.  

An article published in the Los Angeles Times back in 1990 states that between 1982 and 1990, 46 children were killed by garage doors that struck them on the way down. The NYT reported that at least 85 children died or suffered permanent brain damage as a result of garage doors between the years of 1974 and 1995. And, these reports aren’t counting the millions of miscellaneous garage door-related injuries that occur each year, largely the result of ignoring basic garage door safety practices. 

While garage door manufacturers continued to make doors lighter, and invent safety features such as the “auto-reverse” feature, most of these safety “innovations” still required contact with an object or person before the door stopped or reversed. This still left children others vulnerable to contact with a garage door. 

As a result, safety standards experts called for garage door manufacturers to come up with something better, and that led to the invention of laser-sensors that could detect motion or interruption in the laser beam’s path from side-to-side and stop the door’s descent. 

In fact, the federal and state residential garage door opener legislation states: 

Residential GDO’s manufactured on and after January 1, 1993 must:  

  1. Have an automatic inherent reverse feature that reverses after 2 seconds upon sensing an obstruction 
  1. Have a 30 second reverse timer that moves the door upward 30 seconds after sensing the door has not reached the fully closed position 
  1. Have a secondary entrapment protection system, which may be either an attached and working external device (example: edge sensor or photoelectric eye) or an inherent secondary system (example: combination sectional door and operator system with the entire door system acting as a force sensing device) and, 
  1. Close the door using the manufacturer’s suggested devices (either a wall switch or a push button remote control). 

Have a Manual Garage Door? Upgrade to One With a Sensor 

In fact, not having a garage door safety sensor is the #1 reason we recommend those with older, manual doors go ahead and upgrade their doors to automatic options.  

In addition to being heavier than most contemporary garage doors, manual doors have no way of “knowing” if your little one is trying to slip through the remaining opening before the door closes or whether a beloved kitty is trying to run back in. Your precious bike or another toy/treasure may be out of its normal alignment and about ready to get smushed before the door crashes down. 

Keep Your Family, Children, and Pets Safe 

Even with all of these features in place, garage injuries are still a reality. In addition to installing an automated garage door with safety sensors, there are several things you can do to help keep your family and children free from potential injury. 

The garage door opener(s) is not a toy 

It’s imperative that your family create a safety culture around the garage door and it’s automatic mechanisms. Children are naturally drawn to the ability to push a button and make something open and close.  

They are intrigued by the thrill of ducking into or out of the diminishing gap between the door and the ground (action hero style), and some are drawn to the sounds or rhythmic motion created by pushing the button over and over and watching the door respond. Remote control power is also compelling. 

Read our post How to Childproof Your Garage Door for more specific instructions on how to keep the younger members of your family safe and accident free. 

Honor the manufacturer’s annual maintenance recommendations 

The better maintained your garage door is, the less likely it is to cause an accident. Above and beyond impact with a garage door, fingers can get pinched, electric currents can cause shocks or electrocution, and powerful springs can snap if they aren’t repaired by professionals. 

Always honor the manufacturer’s recommendations for annual maintenance. Some of these can be performed by you, such as lubrication of moving parts, but others should be taken care of by professionals to avoid unnecessary accidents, injuries or malfunctions. Another benefit to hiring a garage door technician to perform maintenance chores is that licensed professionals are more likely to notice smaller red flags that indicate a repair or parts replacement is on the horizon. 

Ultimately, garage door safety sensors are the best gift you can give to your garage door – and your building occupants, to keep them safe. Visit Garage Door Safety Tips For an Accident Free Home for more suggestions on how to prevent garage-door related injuries. 

Are you  on the hunt for an honest, trustworthy, and affordable garage door company to install your garage door? Contact us here at R&S of Vallejo. We never upsell products, and our competitively priced maintenance appointments are designed to ensure your garage door safety sensors work day in and day out.  

Should You Upgrade Your Garage Door From Manual To Automatic?

should you upgrade your garage door from manual to automatic

There are multiple reasons to upgrade your manual garage door to an automatic model, including safety, security, and convenience. If your current automatic door opener is 25 years or older (installed prior to 1993), you’ll also benefit from the efficient and safety-oriented features of newer, automatic models.

Upgrade Your Garage Door

Here are eight reasons to upgrade your old, manual garage door. 

Safety First

First and foremost, your manual garage door isn’t as safe as it’s automatic counterparts. Without the security of an automatic operating system, your manual garage door is more likely to close on a pet, a childyourself, or your valuable toys if they get in the way. There are no lasers or safety sensors to stop the garage door in its tracks. 

These features not only reduce garage door accidents, but they can also save lives. 

Convenience 

Perhaps you used to pride yourself on the fact that you were able to get out of the car and manually open and close your garage door. It’s extra exercise, right? Or, perhaps you didn’t want to spend the extra money.  

99.9% of homeowners who make the move from manual to automatic garage door openers never regret it. And, we’ve yet to meet the .1% who regret it – we just wanted to err on the side of the conservative. The good news is that you always have the opportunity to switch the electric door into the manual mode whenever you need to. 

Lighting 

The extra light that automatically turns on when you open and close the garage door is a welcome change from the dark you’re used to once the sunsets. Automatic garage door lights are automatically timed to give you plenty of time to get into your car and back out, or to park, gathering your things from the car, and enter the home or breezeway. 

Keep in mind that some LED lights can interfere with your garage door code. Always use high-quality LED garage door light brands or have your garage door technician replace it when needed to avoid the potential of frequency interference. 

Security 

In addition to posing safety hazards, manual garage doors are far less secure than automatic models. They offer several security-oriented features, including: 

  • Entry code pads. Entry codes can be programmed as needed, and reprogrammed if compromised. They protect your home and keep children or others from having spare keys that are easily lost/found by the wrong entities. 
  • Rolling codes. Your garage door mechanism can continually reprogram itself and the remote, ensuring nobody else in the neighborhood can sync their garage door opener to your door. 
  • Lock features. You can lock the garage so it can’t be reopened until the right code is pushed in or you remove the lock feature yourself. 
  • Vacation mode. This disables the garage door from being able to work with remote control. The door can only be opened from the inside. Once you’re home, taking the door off vacation mode re-programs it to your remotes. 

Energy efficiency 

Original automatic doors required far more energy than today’s models. Innovative garage door models that are lighter and less dense, combined with more efficient operating systems, means your garage door automatically opens and closes while using minimal amounts of energy. 

If energy efficiency is important to you, read our Guide to Having An Eco-Friendly Garage Door. 

Easier maintenance 

Well-made and professionally installed automatic garage doors require minimal maintenance to work efficiently and reliably all year long. One annual maintenance appointment from a licensed garage door technician is all your door will need for decades to come.  

If you have an old, manual door, odds are you’re performing the maintenance on your own, more often, and that can be dangerous. Once your automatic door is installed, all you’ll need to do is keep the mechanical parts lubricated and the lasers and track free of debris or blockage. We’ll take care of the rest. 

Smart technology 

Automatic garage door manufacturers have jumped on the smart technology bandwagon. You have the ability to open and close your garage door from your smartphone or gadgets. The system will also sound an alert or alarm if the door is opened – or left open – to keep you informed. 

Quieter operation 

 Your older garage door and its springs are likely pretty creaky and squeaky as you open and close it. And then, there’s the decided “bang” when it’s dropped or let go into the fully open or closed position.  

You and your family (not to mention the neighbors) will appreciate the quiet and streamlined open/close functions associated with your newer, automatic model. 

Upgrade your garage door for peace of mind 

All it takes is one serious illness, a major sprain or break, or the simple aging process to interfere with your ability to open and close your garage door on your own. Having an automatic garage door, with innovative safety and security features, means your door will continue to open and close with a simple press of a button, regardless of what the future holds.  

Update your curb appeal 

If you have a manual garage door, odds are it’s detracting from your home’s curb appeal. With so many contemporary styles and colors to choose from, your new garage door will give your home a much-needed facelift.

We’re Here When You’re Ready

Are you interested in learning more about reliable, affordable automatic garage door options? Contact us here at R&S Erection in Vallejo, or give us a call at (707) 644-5537We’ll help you select the perfect door design and model for your home and price range.

How LED Lights Interfere With A Garage Doors Performance

how led lights interfere with a garage doors performance

The most common DIY repairs are those related to remote interference with your garage door’s performance. Sometimes, the laser sensors on either side of the garage door are out of alignment. Or, you may have to reprogram the remote’s signal. Now, led lights can interfere with frequencies emitted by your remote control, interrupting your garage door’s performance.

Learn All About The Downside Of LED Lights And Garage Doors

How do LED lights interfere with garage door opening/closing? 

All garage door mechanisms have a light bulb that illuminates whenever the door is opened or closed, and if the door is switched into a safety mode or when you first switch it from the automatic system to the manual mode (typically indicated by a flashing light).  

In order to promote energy-efficiency, garage door manufacturers have migrated away from the use of more energy-consumptive incandescent bulbs to more efficient options such as fluorescent or LED lights. 

LED lights are the most efficient options of all. According to energy.gov, LED light bulbs are as much as 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and upwards of 20% or more efficient than fluorescent. Plus, the bulbs last up to 10 years, which means you should only have to replace them once or twice over the course of your garage door’s lifetime. 

Pulse-width modulation and interfering megahertz (MHz) 

One of the reasons LED lights are so efficient is that they have a high pulse-width modulation. This rapid pulsing is invisible to the naked eye but reduces the amount of time the light is actually “on” or using electricity. Most LED lights have a pulse-width modulation rate of about 15 times per second. 

However, they run on a radio frequency of 30 and 300 megahertz (MHz). Your garage door opener operates between around 288 and 360 MHz. When those two frequencies are emitted at the same time, the LED lights cause interference that can override the signal from your garage door opener 

Troubleshooting potential interference with your garage doors performance 

Review these troubleshooting tips if your garage door isn’t opening and closing like it should when you use the remote control. 

  • Could it be other LED lights? The LED light in your garage door opener may not be the problem. As LED lights have become the norm in the holiday and decorative twinkle light market, garage door interference is increasing. Unplug any decorative lights to see if they are the culprits instead. 
  • Check the LED bulb manufacturerThe large majority of LED-related garage door interference is caused by cheap, foreign-made LED lights. Try replacing cheap, foreign-made LED light bulbs with a higher-quality LED bulbs. If it doesn’t fix the issue, you can always return the new bulbs and get your money back. Genie LED lights are intentionally designed to prevent garage door signal interference. They cost a bit more but are well worth it. 
  • Switch out your garage light fixtures. It could be LED lights in existing garage door light fixtures that are causing the problem. Switch their bulbs as well to see if that does the trick. Or, you may need to switch the garage light fixtures out for more contemporary options. 

Additional garage door troubleshooting tips 

If the garage door still isn’t operating correctly, it may not be the LED lights at all. In that case, continue down this list of additional garage door troubleshooting tips. 

  • Check the power source. There is nothing more embarrassing to a homeowner who’s diligently troubleshot their garage door, only to have a tech come out and…plug it back in. Make sure the garage door opener is plugged in to an outlet that has power. If it’s plugged in, unplug it and plug something else in to ensure the outlet has power. You may need to reset a tripped breaker. 
  • Verify the control pad is unlocked. Most garage door openers have a lock function on their control pad as garage door safety feature. If it was locked by mistake, your door will work again as soon as the control pad is unlocked. 
  • Replace the batteries in the remote(s). When’s the last time you changed your garage remote’s batteries? If the door opens and closes via the hardwired button on the garage door wall, but fails when you use the remote, tired or dead batteries may be the culprits. 
  • Try reprogramming the remotes. Every once in a while, the garage door remote’s signal gets wiped out (or is interfered with by competing signals from the surrounding environment. Follow the garage door manufacturer’s instructions on how to reprogram the remote. If you can’t find the manual, just search the make/model (written on the automatic door opener’s exterior) and “how to reprogram the remote” in your search engine to find online instructions.  
  • Contact your garage door contractor. It may be that it’s time to contact your garage door technician to come to take a look. Whether the problem is related to LED lights or not, the technician will know exactly how to identify and repair the issue.

We Can Improve Your Garage Doors Performance

Are you looking for a Bay Area garage door contractor you can trust? Contact us here at R&S Erection of Vallejo. We can talk you through some basic troubleshooting tips and are happy to send a technician out to take care of the problem ASAP. 

Garage Doors Through The Ages

garage doors through the ages

Ever since humans invented wheels, and used them to cart their goods or transport their bodies from one place to another, there has been a desire to safely shelter their particular modes of transportation. 

As a result, the doors (or lack thereof) that protected these valuable possessions have gone through an evolution that is in direct correlation with the invention of power, automation, and the availability of ever lighter-weight materials.

Garage Doors Through The Ages And How they’ve Progressed

The original garage door was a framed opening 

The first evidence of wheels showed up in 3500 B.C.E., and archeologists think wheels may have been invented and used even prior to that. Originally, wheeled carts and wagons were secured in open caves or covered enclosures. Eventually, and depending on the skill or wealth of the wheeled object’s owner, they were further secured via doorways that were typically created from wood, tanned animal skins, or woven piece of cloth. 

The advent of the carriage house door 

As time marched on, wealthier cart and carriage owners, or those who had skilled hands and access to building materials, constructed wooden doorways – called gatehouse or carriage house doors. 

These doors were very heavy, which made them very secure and harder to open or break open when barred close. And, because carriage houses often housed the animals who pulled the carriage, the buildings were detached from the home. The doors were made of wood, very large, and quite wieldy to open. Carriage house doors usually consisted of two separate panels that swung out to gain access. 

From carriage house to garage door 

Those of us who have the honor to live in an older home, circa 1900 and prior, may even have a surviving carriage house, now converted to a bona fide garage, a rental/in-law unit, or some other outbuilding purpose. 

Most of us, however, live in homes, condos, or apartments with designated garages. This is mostly thanks due to Henry Ford, who took the invention of the automobile and put his assembly line stamps on the works. As a result, automobiles became available to the middle-class and working masses, which meant car owners needed a place to store them safely and securely. 

Since automobiles were smaller than most wagons or carriages, and there weren’t any horses, feed, or tack to store, the larger carriage house was scaled down to the standard residential garages we use today. That said, garages needed to be as protected from the weather as possible because early automobiles were completely open, so they needed a weatherproof environment when not in use. 

Early garages came in multiple forms. Some were attached to the residential building, but most were detached from homes, and that continued to be the case until well into the 20th century. In any event, the first written record of the term “garage,” is in a 1902 dictionary, where its French root, “garer,” refers to a shelter or cover. 

First was the sliding door 

The first major change from the dual-opening carriage house style doors was sliding door versions. The addition of circular casters on a horizontal track made it much easier for drivers and car owners of all ages and abilities to open and close their own garage door – regardless of their upper-body strength.  

There were also sliding versions designed with accordion-like, folding sections, which meant garages could be narrower and take up less space. 

Then came the overhead, hinged version 

A man named J.C. Johnson, owner of a company called Overhead Door Corporation wanted to design a door that was more streamlined and easier to open. In 1921, he successfully invented an overhead door that opened by lifting and swinging it upwards, allowing it to rest parallel to the garage door when in the fully-up position. The spring action eased the burden of the door weight from the person opening/closing the door to the opening mechanism’s structural strength. 

Later on that same decade, he invented an electric, automated version, but these were largely unavailable to the majority of Americans because they were too expensive.  

Attached garages became the norm 

By the 1950s, as post-war housing boom and a growing economy – along with an obsession with modern conveniences – developers began promoting the attached garage model. Attached garages have since become the norm, and they began to expand in size to the two-car garages we’re familiar with today as households recognized the benefits of a multi-car ownership. 

Our love of multicar ownership meant that, by the late 1960s, garage square footage was an average of 45% of the total house square footage! 

Garage doors through the ages went from wood to metal 

Until the 1970s, most garage doors were constructed from wood, and this meant they were heavy and cumbersome to operate – especially if you didn’t have an electric garage door. However, as steel and metal prices came down, and fabrication processes continued to innovate, the wood garage door made way for aluminum, steel, and fiberglass options. 

Fabricated doors were typically more affordable than their wooden counterparts, easier to maintain and repaint, and they are certainly lighter and more efficient to operate 

Garage doors have come a long way in the past several hundred years, and today’s homeowners have the ability to choose from an unbelievable range of styles, décor, colors, and automatic system features.

If You’re Ready To Update Your Garage Door

Are you in the market for a new garage door? Contact us here at R&S Erection of Vallejo to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll help you choose the best, contemporary garage door for your needs.

How To Manually Open And Close Your Garage Door

how to manually open and close your garage door

Electric garage door openers are designed to operate seamlessly day in and day out, but they rely on power. When the power goes out, it’s important to know how to disengage the automatic opener function so you can manually open and close the door until the power comes back on. This is especially important for Bay Area homeowners in this new era of PG&Es fire season power outages.  

The manual option is also important if the automatic mechanism malfunctions, in the event of an emergency, or for homeowners who have lost their garage door remote and are waiting for a replacement. 

Follow Manufacturer’s Directions to Manually Open And Close Your Garage Door 

Your garage door came with the manufacturer’s instruction manual. This is your best resource for learning the specifics for manually opening/closing your particular garage door make and model. If you cannot locate the garage door manual, contact your preferred garage door vendor/installer and schedule an appointment. 

We also recommend searching your garage door make/model online and download a copy of the manual so you have it in the future. 

Does your door have battery back-up? 

Many modern garage door models have a battery back-up system to keep the mechanisms running without power. The batteries are unit-specific and cannot be replaced by the homeowner. If your garage door has a battery in the opener motor, your garage door technician will test it during routine maintenance calls and will replace it as needed. 

Engaging the bypass system to manually open and close your garage door

Every automatic garage door has a bypass system some kind. This may include a key that locks/unlocks the system or it is as simple as pulling the red emergency cord. The latter option is the most common. 

  • Perform a quick inspection. Before disengaging the door from the automatic system, do a quick inspection to ensure the door is still aligned on its track, the springs and chain are intact, and there is no visible sign of damage. 
  • Locate the chain that operates the garage door. For most homeowners, this is up above towards the ceiling of the garage, along the mid-point of the garage door. Higher-end models and some heavier models use a side-opening system, which will be located along the side of the door. 
  • Pull the emergency cord. You’ll see a red cord or a cord with a red handle or knob at the end. This is an emergency cord. When you pull it, it disengages the door frame from the automatic system. The lever that connects the door to the chain/rail is spring-loaded. you’ll hear and feel a distinct “click” when it disengages. Do not be afraid to pull the cord firmly. You should see the lever move and lock into the disengaged position. 
  • Lift the door to open and close it. Most garage doors are made from light, durable material, and are professionally balanced so that they can raise/lower easily. Use both hands and begin lifting or sliding the door into the open position. If it is a struggle, do not strain yourself. Pull the emergency cord again in case you weren’t successful the first time. If you’re sure the door is disconnected from the chain, and the door won’t lift easily, contact a garage door technician 
  • Never let go of the door until it’s fully open/closed. Your garage door won’t stay open on its own unless it’s completely open, or completely closed. If you need to let go of it in a partially open position, use a two-by-four or a solid item to hold it in position or lower the door until it’s firmly closed again. If your garage door is a single panel, you may need to keep a two-by-four or similar structural support to hold the door up while you move the car in and out of the garage, or have someone hold the door up for you, to keep the door from falling down again. 
  • Watch your fingers. If your door is comprised of multiple panels that slide up and around the curve of the track, watch your fingers. It’s easy to lose track of the door and it’s painful to have your fingers pinched between the panels. 
  • To re-engage the automatic function. Once the power has been restored, pull the cord again and watch the lever move back into the engaged position. Push your automatic opener button in the garage or use the remote and the garage door should be back to normal again. 

Keeping the garage door properly lubricated is always a good idea, but it will definitely pay off when you need to manually open and close the door.  

Make garage door safety a priority 

Always keep a safety-first attitude when manually opening and closing the garage door. This is especially important if you have young children.  

Read our posts, Garage Door Safety for an Accident-Free Home, and, How to Teach Your Children Garage Door Safety. They are good to review if your door is in the manual operation mode to ensure the door doesn’t close on an unsuspecting child or pet.

 

Would you like a licensed garage door technician to review how to manually open and close your garage door? Contact us here at R&S Erection of Vallejo, or give us a call at (707) 644-5537, to schedule an appointment. We’ll go through it with you, using the exact steps required for your garage door make/model until you feel confident you can operate it safely on your own.

How To Teach Your Children Garage Door Safety

how to teach your children garage door safety

The good news is that automated garage doors, installed and maintained by licensed professionals, have never been safer. The reality, however, is that accidents happen. If you have small children, please create a safety-first culture by teaching your children how to use the garage door safelyas well as what to do if there is an accident. 

Create Explicit Rules To Teach Your Children Garage Door Safety

We recommend reviewing our post, Garage Door Safety Tips for an Accident-Proof Home. There, you’ll glean excellent fodder for your home’s rules and expectations around the garage door.  

  • Explaining how heavy and dangerous a garage door can be, including its ability to trap small children and pets. You may even want to pull the garage door emergency cord to show how the door can fall on its own if there is a malfunction, demonstrating the difference between a door controlled by an automatic system and one that isn’t. 
  • Never play near, stand near, interrupt, or try to enter/exit a garage while it is in motion. It’s best to steer clear of the garage door altogether. 
  • Moving garage doors are off-limits. Never touch or go near a garage door that is moving. 
  • Keeping remote controls inaccessible. Consider storing your garage door openers in an out-of-reach place until your children are old enough to understand and respect the rules. If you keep your remote in the vehicle, lock the doors when the car’s not in use, so kids aren’t tempted to remove it. 
  • Make a steadfast rule about who can and can’t open the garage door – and when. Perhaps the first stage of the standard dictates that only children 8-years old (or 10) can open the garage without an adult present. Or, you may require that children ask permission first, so you are aware they are going to be using the garage door opener and can supervise the process. Some families install their garage door opener at a higher-than-normal location and set the guideline that children can’t use the door opener until they’re able to reach the button without tippy toes.  
  • Children need to report when the garage door is partially open. Garage doors should never be left in a partially open position. This encourages children to enter and leave the garage door through the tempting space, putting them at risk for being trapped or injured if the door is operated by an unknowing parent or sibling. Let kids know that a partially-open garage door is a danger and needs to be reported to a parent immediately. 
  • Likewise, report malfunctions ASAP. If your older children notice the door is making a strange sound or isn’t operating as it should, they should stop using the door immediately and report the issue to you.  

If you do have older children in the mix, we recommend sitting down together and reviewing 10 Not So Obvious Signs That It’s Time to Replace a Garage DoorThe post provides helpful information so they can recognize when a garage door needs repair and replacement, which is a red flag that the door is not safe until the issues are resolved. 

Additional Garage Door Safety Tips 

Here are additional, helpful garage door safety tips that will keep your children safe around the garage door. 

Never perform DIY repairs on your own 

Garage doors should always be repaired or replaced by licensed professionals. Many of the safety issues and injuries we’ve encountered in our local area were the result of DIY garage repairs gone wrong. Repair costs are affordable and certainly worth the safety (and labor guarantee) that goes along with them. 

Replace your garage door if it’s more than 15-years old 

Garage doors have come a long way in terms of energy efficiency, lightness, and durability – not to mention built-in safety features. If your garage door is 15-years old or more, we highly recommend replacing it with a safer alternative. 

Avoid garage door installation or repair offers that seem too good to be true 

As licensed, professional garage door installer, we do our best to remain competitive. Still, there’s much to be said for the expression, “you get what you pay for.” To provide top-quality products and services, we use high-quality materials and fairly compensate our trained employees.  

If you’re tempted by a low-ball offer for a brand new garage door installation or repair deal, remember that garage door scams are a real thing. Read, How to Avoid Garage Door Repair Scams, to identify the red flags that will help you hire legitimate installers and repair professionals that focus on safety-first. 

Maintain your garage door to maintain garage door safety

The best way to avoid a malfunctioning garage door (aka, an unsafe garage door) is to observe the manufacturer’s routine maintenance guidelines, included in the owner’s manual. Some of the maintenance tips, such as keeping the door clean and free of debris or lubricating it two or three times a year, are perfect DIY tasks. Others, such as replacing the spring or track repairs, are best left to the professionals.

Hire A Professional To Help Keep Your Family Safe

Is your garage door due for an inspection? Interested in personalized tips to teach children to safely use the garage door? Contact us here at R&S Erection of Vallejo. We can schedule your maintenance or garage door installation to sync when children are home so they get a Garage Door Safety 101 lecture from pro! 

How To Childproof Your Garage Door

how to childproof your garage door

Are you maintaining a childproof garage door? From pinched (or broken) fingers to more serious or even fatal accidents, your heavy garage door should be installed, maintained, and operated within a “Safety First” framework to keep your children and family safe.

10 Tips On Childproofing That Garage Door

Let your kids know garage doors are dangerous

Because garage doors are largely viewed as utilitarian and used most by adults, we often forget how enticing they are for children. Both smaller and bigger children are often fascinated by the automatic door process, or love to use a partially open garage door as a place to hide or play.

Instilling the awareness that garage doors are heavy, dangerous, and should not be thought of as a “toy,” creates a more reality-based awareness for your children.

Always repair or replace worn out or old garage doors

Don’t let repairs or a potential garage door replacement languish on your “to do” list. As long as your garage door is malfunctioning, making loud or obnoxious noises or vibrations, or needs replacement – consider it unsafe.

Some of the biggest red flags indicating your door needs to be inspected, repaired or replaced include:

  • Randomly opening/shutting on its own
  • Misaligned tracks
  • The door doesn’t close all the way
  • The garage door is warped

Have your garage door installed and repaired by a licensed garage door contractor

We understand the need to save money by performing DIY repairs. However, garage doors should only be installed by licensed professionals. While there are routine maintenance tasks worthy of a DIYer (such as lubricating the moving parts, or repainting an older garage door), hiring a licensed, experienced garage door contractor is the best way to ensure the door is installed and maintained, with precise respect to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

Read, 7 Reasons to Hire a Pro for Your Garage Door Installation, for more on that topic.

Raise the height of the wall-mounted garage door opener

If the button to your wall-mounted garage door opener is within the reach of small children, raise it to a height that is greater than what they can access using tippy-toes and outstretched arms.

Keep children away from moving parts

It’s best to open the garage door before toddlers or smaller children are in the garage or wait until they are safely strapped into car seats or boosters before opening the door. Children often become transfixed by chains, moving rollers in the tracks, or the spaces that open/close between panels – all of which can cause very painful or even debilitating injuries when curious fingers, hands, or feet get in the way.

Keep routine garage door maintenance appointments on your calendar

Time flies in a busy household with young children, so it’s easy to miss the routine inspection and maintenance appointments necessary to keep your garage door working well, in good shape, and gleaning the benefits of the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance tasks.

Your garage door should be professionally serviced at least once per year. Fall is a great time to schedule these appointments, ensuring the garage door is ready for winter’s more extreme rain and wind.

Lock the garage door if your child can’t resist

Have a born mechanic or engineer in the family – a child who loves machinery and/or enjoys figuring out how things work? If so, there’s a good chance s/he isn’t going to adhere to the household rules about safe garage door operation.

If that’s the case for you, implement the automatic garage door’s “lock” function to ensure that adults are the only ones able to open/close the garage door until you feel your little one is old/mature enough to prioritize safety above curiosity.

Lock the car doors and store keys out of the reach of small children

Children are born observers, and you’d be surprised how many garage doors have been demolished by an older toddler or young child’s decision to back the car out of the garage. Even “pretend driving” escapades can result in “real driving” if your child has access to the keys and knows how to operate the garage door.

Locking your car doors when the car isn’t in use, and keeping the keys locked up or out of the reach of young children is a wise move.

Test your garage door’s safety functions regularly

Contemporary garage doors are intentionally designed with built-in safety mechanisms. These include the door’s automatic lift response if it encounters resistance (potentially a human or pet) while it’s closing, or a complete resistance to closing if the laser sensors “sense” something in the way when you try to close it. Even so, these safety systems can fail.

Test your garage door regularly, using a bucket flipped upside down, to make sure the safety features work. Put the bucket in direct line with the door’s closed position and make sure it doesn’t close, and then have someone else push the “close” button and stick the bucket in the way of the doors closing pathway and make sure the door immediately stops and reopens.

Invest in a stronger garage door frame, or an insulated garage door

Finally, we’re reversing the idea of “childproof” for this last point. Children’s games and activities are often the cause of damage to the garage door (bumps, dings, scratches, and dents). Spending a little more for a more durable door is a good way to protect your garage door from your children.

Keep Your Family Safe And Sound

The crew here at R&S Erection Vallejo is happy to provide an inspection and routine maintenance to ensure your garage door is as childproof as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment. (707) 644-5537.

Benefits Of An Insulated Garage Door

benefits of an insulated garage door

Originally, insulated garage doors were designed for households and businesses in colder-weather climates, where routine freezing (or below-freezing) temperatures are the norm in the winter months. Now, however, Bay Area home and business owners see the benefit of spending a little more for insulated garage doors.

Non-Insulated vs Insulated Garage Door

The standard, uninsulated metal garage door is made using single-layer steel panels. These are held together via the frame. While the doors keep the wind and rain out, they don’t protect the garage from colder, outside temperatures. As a result, your garage will typically be around the same temperature as the outdoor air. Then, they get hotter and stuffier during the summer months.

Since attached garages share a wall, and a doorway, with the adjacent interior living space, this means your internal temperatures are affected. When it’s hotter outside, the room adjacent to the wall will be warmer, and when it’s cold out, your interior space(s) will be colder. This temperature differential forces your HVAC system to work harder to meet the desired thermostat settings, and this increases utility savings.

Insulated garage doors, on the other hand, include an additional steel panel, with a layer of insulation between the two. Your professional garage door installer will help you select an insulation R-value that accommodates your geographic location, your home’s sun/shade exposure, and your household’s needs. This extra layer of insulation makes it an eco-friendly garage door option.

While insulated garage doors can cost up to $200 or more than an uninsulated option, consumers recoup the costs and then some, via energy savings – especially if you plan to use your garage as an additional live or workspace.

Improved energy efficiency

So, improved energy efficiency is one of the biggest benefits of an insulated garage door. You’ll notice a decrease in energy spending, but your HVAC system also benefits from less wear-and-tear, so you may also see a difference in maintenance and repair costs, too.

Better whole-home comfort

If you live in an older home and you haven’t updated your exterior wall insulation, your insulated garage door will also provide better whole-home comfort. You’ll notice less hot and cold transfer between the garage and the wall it shares with your home, and you may also experience a reduction in drafts.

They’re more durable

Garage doors are built to be durable, but they’re still vulnerable. As we mentioned above, a standard, uninsulated garage door has a single layer of steel. The lighter the door, the thinner the gauge, and that means your door is more susceptible to dents or dings from routine, everyday activities.

Since insulated garage doors have two steel panels with insulation in the middle, they’re thicker and more durable than their non-insulated counterparts. That means your less likely to require repairs for minor dents, dings, or other cosmetic mishaps.

Interior comfort

The garage is more than just a place to store the car and toys these days. Bay Area garages are increasingly turning into conversions that make the garage an extension of the home. From bonus rooms and hobby or craft spaces to granny units and rental investments, an insulated garage door means you can enjoy improved, year-round interior comfort and energy efficiency when using the garage, but retain the “garage” function in case you convert the space back or to increase resale value for future buyers.

Quieter operation

Insulation’s primary job is to keep things more comfortable, preventing solar heat gain and loss. However, insulated garage doors are also quieter than non-insulated doors because the insulation also serves as a sound barrier. If you have sound-sensitive family members or someone’s bedroom shares a wall with the garage, your new insulated door minimizes the operational sounds, as well as vibrations during operation.

Don’t forget that routine maintenance, including lubrication, is also essential for keeping your garage door opening and closing as smoothly, efficiently, safely, and as quietly as possible.

An insulated garage door has a good return on your investment

If you’re planning to sell your home in the next several years, upgrading an outdated or dilapidated garage door to a new, stylish, insulated version is a smart investment. According to USnews.com’s real estate section, new, insulated and eco-friendly garage doors gain an 85% return on their investment when it’s time to resell. That is an impressive percentage, especially when you factor in the energy savings and decreased repair costs you’ll enjoy in the meantime.

We’re Here For You

Are you interested in learning more about the insulated garage door options available for your home or business? Schedule a consultation with R&S Erection of Vallejo. We’ll provide a free, competitive estimate for your insulated garage door replacement so you begin reaping the benefits as soon as possible.

How To Properly Lubricate Your Garage Door

how to properly lubricate your garage door

Is your garage door louder and squeakier than normal? Odds are it is calling out for some much-needed lubrication. Lubricating moving garage door parts, hinges, and springs are part of routine garage door maintenance and should be done at least once per year. In addition to ensuring your garage door opens and closes more quietly, a well-maintained door is safer – and lasts longer – than its lesser-maintained counterpart.

Lubricate Your Garage Door

While licensed garage door contractors are happy to do this work for you, DIYers can easily lubricate their own garage doors by following these simple steps.

Close the door and unplug the operator

The first step is to close your garage door and then unplug the garage door motor box. Sometimes, the plug is easily accessible and you can unplug it without much fuss. If the plug is at an awkward angle, or hard to reach, skip that step and cut power to the door via the circuit breaker. Test the garage door opener again to make sure power has been cut, so there is no risk of electrocution or of the door opening while you’re working on it.

Clean the garage door tracks

Sometimes, a noisy garage door has more to do with dirty, debris-laden tracks than anything else. Before you do anything else, place your doors in the fully closed position. If the tracks (the rails on each side that serve as the guide the door slides up/down upon) are excessively dirty, use a broom to sweep away larger cobwebs, leaves, twigs, and debris. A vacuum is also a handy way to suck up excess debris and to access harder-to-reach spaces.

Once the bulk of the larger debris is cleaned off, use a soft, damp cloth and run it up, down, and around the tracks – removing any remaining dirt, dust, or grime. Extra dirty or grimy tracks that haven’t been cleaned in a while benefit from an automotive brake cleaner, which will dissolve away stubborn grime.

Use a lithium-based lubricant specific to garage doors

Do NOT use WD-40 or other, standard de-greasers – and never use oil – to lubricate your garage door. While these products may seem to work at first, their makeup attracts more dirt and grime, which gums up the system. Instead, speak to your local hardware store about lithium-based lubricants, some of which are specific to garage door lubrication. The best options come in an aerosol or spray can.

Where to lubricate your garage door

Now, it’s time to start lubricating. Read the spray can’s instructions to ensure you’re using it safely and as directed. It’s a good idea to wear safety goggles and gloves to minimize contact with your eyes and skin. Wear a mask if you’re sensitive to chemicals or strong smells.

You’ll want to spray the following locations:

  • Hinges. Manually roll the door up, little by little, and spray each of the hinges that hold the panels together at the bends. Just one or two sprays should be enough to thoroughly coat the entirety of the hinges.
  • Rollers. The rollers are those circular disks that roll/slide up and down the track. Inside each roller are small ball bearings. Use the straw or thin attachment to direct the lubricant into the ball bearings and wipe away excess lubricant. Skip this step if your rollers are nylon, rather than metal.
  • Springs and bearing plates. Look toward the top of your garage door and you’ll see a big spring, and each side of the spring is secured at the edge of the door by bearing plates. The circular bearing plates are also moving parts. Use a stepladder or a safe, solid object you can stand on to comfortably reach them. Spray the lubricant towards the center of each bearing plate and on each side of the spring. Manually open/close the door two or three times, enabling the lubricant to distribute more evenly around the moving parts. NOTE: if the springs seem bent, broken or damaged, call a licensed garage door repair company and have them replace the part.
  • Lock and armbar. Give a small burst of lubricant inside the lock to prevent rusting, and then spray lubricant along the armbar that runs along the top of your garage door.
  • Top of the rail. The rail is the arm of the garage door that runs from the top of the door, back to the opener motor, and the chain runs along the top. Lubricating the top of the bar, along the chain, keeps the door operating smoothly and efficiently. We recommend consulting your garage door manual (most are available online by searching the manufacturer/model) and adhering to their recommendations for lubricating the garage door motor.

Congratulations! You’ve officially lubricated your garage door. Now that you’re done, it’s time to reconnect the power and give your garage a test open and close to see if you notice a difference. If it’s still noisy, isolate where the sound is coming from and see if it could use a bit more lubricant. If it’s still making a screeching or grinding sound, contact your local garage door installer and schedule an appointment for an inspection.

Hire A Professional

Have a question about the right way to lubricate your garage door? Need to schedule a routine garage door maintenance appointment? Give us a call here at R&S Erection in Vallejo at (707) 644-5537.

Guide To Having An Eco-Friendly Garage Door

guide to having an eco-friendly garage door

There are plenty of ways you can have an eco-friendly garage door. It starts with the types of materials you select for your door and its finish and continues via routine garage door maintenance that keeps it running safely and efficiently.

Your Step-By-Step To An Eco-Friendly Garage Door

Whether you’re building a new home using green building principles, or you’re interested in replacing an outdated door with an eco-friendly garage door, this guide will take you through the process.

Let your garage door installer know you want an eco-friendly garage door

This may seem like a given, but you’d be amazed how often we start to show people their options and answer all types of questions – only to learn they’re interested in a green or energy-efficient garage door. This is helpful to know right from the outset because it automatically streamlines the options your garage door installer will present, saving you time and energy.

Look for models made from recycled or sustainable materials

Garage door manufacturers understand that demand for more earth-friendly and sustainable garage doors is on the rise. As a result, certain models that are intentionally designed using recycled steel or other metal content. Keep your eye out for a SCS (Scientific Certification Systems) label, which means the door was made from a minimum of 88% recycled content and CFC-free materials in the insulation.

If you’re interested in a solid wood door, focus on garage doors that are made using wood that has been harvested sustainably. Most often, you’ll see some type of wording or logo showing the wood was certified by the FSC. This distinguishing mark ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

Invest in durability and longevity

The lowest-dollar bottom line is an understandable feature for those on a budget. The reality, however, is that you get what you pay for when paying for products you want to last for decades to come. One of the most eco-friendly features a garage door can offer is it’s high-quality materials, craftsmanship, durability, and longevity.

The fewer times you need to replace parts – or replace the door – throughout your home’s lifetime the less demand there is for materials production and the less we clog up the landfills with inferior products.

Purchase doors from:

  • Manufacturers who have a solid reputation in the industry
  • Made from durable, high-quality materials (your garage door installer can discuss the difference in products/materials with you
  • Companies that offer decent warranties

Look for insulation and weather-proofing properties in your eco-friendly garage door

If your garage is attached to your home, it’s worthwhile to purchase a door that is insulated and weatherproofed via weather-stripping/sealing options. The more insulated and weatherproof your garage is, the more insulated and weatherproofed your home is.

Homeowners who install insulated and weatherproofed garage doors – and maintain them well from year-to-year notice a decrease in heating/cooling costs, and improved whole-home comfort because the house maintains more consistent draft-free temperatures.

If you purchase a garage door with window inserts – or you add windows to your existing garage door – you want to verify their efficiency as well. Also, make sure windows are caulked/sealed well – and inspect them each year before and after storm season, re-sealing whenever necessary.

Learn more about specific manufacturers and their practices

Up to this point, we’ve discussed the tenets that make an eco-friendly garage door once it’s arrived and installed in your home. However, a truly eco-friendly garage door is made sustainably from start to finish, including its manufacturer’s business practices and production methods.

For example, you want to order a garage door from a company that:

  • Prioritizes sustainable practices in terms of product sourcing, energy-efficient production, and less-consumptive transport/shipping methods
  • Is conscious of the materials they consume and works to minimize waste and unusable scrap materials whenever possible.
  • Offers FSC- and SCS-certified products
  • Eliminates unnecessary packaging and/or focuses on biodegradable or recyclable packaging materials

Currently, industry leaders in eco-friendly garage door products and production methods include Clopay, Ankmar, Amarr, Martin Doors, Overhead Doors, and Wayne-Dalton. Your garage door pro may have other recommendations or know of locally-based, custom garage door companies or builders in your area.

Extending The Life Of Your Garage Door Is Important

Extending the life of your eco-friendly garage door – or your regular, came-with-the-house door is one of the most sustainable practices of all. What good is the world’s most sustainable garage door if lack-of-maintenance sends it to an early landfill grave? Plus, the same steps required to maintain your garage door also help to keep things safe.

The following tips extend the life of any garage door:

  • Schedule professional inspection and maintenance on an annual basis (or as per your door manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Wash your garage door inside and out once a year to reduce dirt, grime, and other debris that contribute corrosion or part malfunction
  • Keep metal springs and hinges lubricated
  • Keep laser sensors clean, free of cobwebs and other debris so the door can open/close efficiently

When homeowners perform routine inspections and maintenance, they enjoy a garage door that lasts a lifetime – and that’s about as eco-friendly as it gets.

We’re Here To Help

Schedule a free, onsite visit from R&S Erection of Vallejo – (707) 644-5537 – to learn more about eco-friendly garage door options for your home or business.