The garage door and its automatic opener system are the largest appliances in most homes. Regular inspections of these systems are essential for ensuring the smooth operation of the door and preventing potential physical injury. Here, learn the importance of regular garage door inspections and the various elements essential for examination to ensure safe operation.

Over 90% of garage door systems fail one or more safety tests, making regular inspections vital. A malfunctioning garage door poses a risk to occupants and pets, compromising the security and environmental control of the home. Regular inspections are vital for:

  • Preventing Accidents: A malfunctioning garage door can cause injuries, especially to children and pets entering and exiting your abode.

  • Maintaining Security: A properly functioning garage door ensures the security of your home, preventing unauthorized access.

  • Longevity of the System: Regular maintenance can extend the life of your garage door and opener, saving costs in the long run.

  • Energy Efficiency: A well-maintained garage door helps in maintaining the energy efficiency of your home by preventing drafts and heat loss.

Since 1982, all residential garage door openers in the USA are required to have an auto-reverser mechanism. This feature reverses the door upon sensing an obstruction. However, many systems fail this safety test due to improper settings or adjustments after numerous use cycles. To prevent injuries, regularly check and adjust the close force settings. Regular testing and maintenance of this mechanism is essential because mechanical parts can wear out or become misaligned over time and sensitivity settings may change or drift, requiring recalibration.

garage door

There are two main ways to test your garage door – the DASMA method and the hand test. The Door and Access Systems Manufacturing Association (DASMA) Method is conducted by placing a 2x4 on the floor and checking if the door reverses upon contact. This method could lead to door damage. The hand test is less likely to damage your garage door but could lead to injury. This test is conducted by using your hand to provide slight resistance, checking if it reverses easily. Ensure the door is above your waist before sliding your hand beneath to prevent potential injury.

WIN Home Inspection includes garage inspections in our Full Home Inspection, providing you a thorough understanding of the functionality of the home’s garage door before moving in and potentially putting you and your family at risk. Contact your local WIN home inspector today for additional service offering information.

Due to the risk of damaging the door during testing and the ensuing liability, some inspectors may choose not to test this feature. Whichever approach is adopted, it should be documented in the inspection report. The intricacies of testing the auto-reverser mechanism, for instance, require a careful approach. Inspectors must weigh the risk of potentially damaging the door against the importance of identifying safety flaws. They should also effectively communicate to homeowners the inspection process, including the tests performed and associated risks. The methodology and findings should be clearly documented in the inspection report to display transparency and accountability. Finally, to minimize risk, inspectors should consider using less invasive testing methods that can still provide a reliable assessment of the system’s safety features.

Besides testing the garage door itself, electric eye sensors should also be inspected and tested. Required since 1993, these sensors should be installed no more than 6 inches above the garage floor and cause the door to reverse if an obstruction is detected. Incorrect installation height or location can bypass this safety feature, presenting significant risks. Homeowners should regularly check the sensors are unobstructed and properly aligned. Misalignment or blockage can render the safety feature ineffective. In addition, keeping the sensors clean from dust and debris is crucial. Regular cleaning ensures the sensors can 'see' each other without interference.

Another crucial area to inspect are the springs. Garage doors typically use either counterbalance (extension) springs with containment cables or central torsion springs. Testing the balance of these springs is essential for safe and proper operation. However, only qualified professionals should conduct repairs and adjustments.

Finally, inspectors should inspect the door panels and hardware for damage or defects that could hinder operation, wheels and tracks to ensure smooth gliding and proper alignments, door operation button, and proper lubrication of moving parts.

Regular garage door inspections are essential aspects of home maintenance. They ensure the safety, functionality and longevity of one of the largest and most-used appliances in the home. Homeowners should prioritize these inspections to protect their family, pets and property. Remember, a well-maintained garage door not only provides security, but also contributes to the overall aesthetic and value of your home.

Author Bio:

WIN Home Inspection

WIN Home Inspection is the #1 ranked inspection services company in the U.S. and is proud to provide essential home inspection services to home buyers, homeowners and home sellers in 45+ states nationwide.

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