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The Power’s Out and You Need to Open the Garage Door – What to Do?

in Garage Door Safety by Max S

Power outages are a regular part of life for nearly everybody, regardless of where you live. For this reason alone, you should know how to open the largest door in your home when you don’t have the luxury of just pushing a button. And unless you have a battery backup (which many do not), figuring out how to manually open a garage door is no fun when you are in the dark.

The first secret to opening this magic door is to know that most modern garage doors come equipped with an emergency release kit, and if yours pre-dates this luxury – you should consider the modest upgrade for peace of mind. Now, how do we unlock the garage door without power? First, make sure to disengage any mechanical locks that may be normally in place. These are likely latches near the outside/sides of the garage door. Regardless of what you do, if these are in-place, that door isn’t moving. Next, disconnect the power cable to the usual opener. Now, here comes the magic. There should be an emergency release cord with a red handle that hangs from the center vertical rail (and FYI only use this handle when the door is closed). Give that cord a slow-and-steady pull to manually open the door. Voilà, you have opened the door. You can close it manually by simply pulling it down.

While this all sounds easy enough, you may run into snags depending on your situation. Hopefully your garage door is equipped with the emergency opener, and hopefully you have enough light to safely maneuver your garage space to actually use it. Now, if anything sketchy happens while you are trying to open it (say, the trolley or door is particularly hard to move, or it seems to jump off track), hedge your bets and simply wait to call a technician. There are very capable folks willing to help at very reasonable prices. And no sense doing more damage or putting yourself or family in harms way. Next, make sure to not leave your garage door unattended when you have manually opened it, and it is in the upright position. There is nothing holding it from slamming shut at that point. Again, this is for emergency situations. Get in and get out. And finally, don’t forget that you will have to manually engage the locks after you manually shut the garage door. The automatic lock will obviously not engage.