Garage door safety has improved immensely over the past ten or twenty years, but there are still several deaths a year which occur mainly to children. The purpose of this article is not to alarm you but just to educate you on how far the industry has come, but also some things that every homeowner need to make sure he keeps an eye on. Also remember that in many cases you do get what you pay for, so although garage doors prices may seem high they are probably worth it.
In 1993, the Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated that all US homes have an electric eye or similarly functioning garage door safety mechanism. This is why (hopefully) if you try to duck under your garage door as it’s closing, it will pop back up even before it touches you. It senses movement and immediately takes action designed to maintain the safety of whatever that might be passing underneath it. While this can occasionally be annoying, it has doubtless saved hundreds of lives at the very least.
There are also some garage doors that are a little less safe, and they will only change their path if they actually make contact with something. This type of garage door should maybe be replaced. That’s a judgment call in my opinion. Each person has his or her own different level of caution that they feel is necessary.
Lastly, in the case of very old mechanical garage doors, they may have no safety mechanism whatsoever. That same Consumer Commission has publicly stated that if you have one these garage doors you should flat out replace it.
Another way of keeping up with the current state of your garage door safety is to regularly test it. Do a little diagnostic on the thing about every couple months. I’m not saying you have to do this, just musing about the ideal way to proactively prevent injuries. The people who should be most concerned with these issues are parents who still have some small kids running around. Make sure and tell them (as I’m sure you already have) that the garage is not a toy. Back in the 1980’s it was hugely popular for kids to think that they were Indiana Jones trying to roll under the garage door just before it closed. Maybe you remember how Indy barely escaped a closing stone wall but dropped his hat. So what did he do? He reached his hand back in there and grabbed his hat just in the nick of time, creating a generation of children who were prone to disobey standards of garage door safety. Good job, Indy.
If you ask me, few inventions of the 20th century are more absolutely perfect than good old garage door openers. I’m not kidding. Now it seems so commonplace, but it wasn’t really that long ago when if people wanted to drive into their garage, they had to get out and open it themselves. What a hassle! And they are definitely worth todays garage door prices, which can be quite high. Thanks to great innovations surrounding radio waves, now we don’t even have to do anything but push a button. (Yet still this is too complicated for so many of us!) Unfortunately, sometimes garage door openers stop working, or we have to install a new door system and we are left to program the darn things ourselves. I don’t know about but I have had some frustrating times trying to program these things in the past. Now I know everything there is to know about the little magical “genies” so I can give you a brief overview.
The two most trusted names in the world of garage door openers are Genie and Chamberlain, the latter is well-known for their Liftmaster technology. Chamberlain also has a stellar opener in their Whisper Drive which has earned rave reviews from the press.
The main thing I look for is a simple-to-use interface. There always comes a day when I have to program these things for whatever reason, and at that point I want the least possible buttons and switches to deal with. I want a simple instruction booklet that does not read like physics. And I want a color that is not obtrusive, such as the typical grey maybe with a white button.
Genie Pro is a great product, too. This thing hangs on top of your garage ceiling and pulls the door up and down. You should look for the rolling-code technology so that your garage door can’t be hacked into by thieves or robbers. This is sort of like an encrypted way to keep your house safe, and that is always the first name of the game.
Finally, I’ll just mention something that I bet you haven’t even thought to look for in garage door openers: a light! Don’t overlook the importance and practicality of having a good light that works in tandem with the opening and closing of your garage door. Think about it: how else are you supposed to get from inside your car into your house without an overhanging light? It’s not like you’ll be able to get to a light switch, and most people’s garages are dark. These are the main things to keep in mind when buying an opener for your garage.