Seven Key to a Safe Door System
Light weight. Insulated double steel doors, even the heaviest
ones, usually weigh 150 to 200 lbs., less than half the weight
of the wood or hardboard doors they replace. And although
weight isn't an issue if the springs are properly tensioned, all
springs eventually weaken and break.
Pinch resistance. The most common garage door injury is a
finger that gets smashed, or even amputated, when it's
caught between sections as the door moves. To help prevent
these accidents, look for a door that offers pinch-resistant
Containment cables. When old extension springs break, the
springs and cables become heavy whips that damage cars
and even injure people. To solve the whipping problem,
manufacturers now offer containment cables that run
through the center of side-mounted extension springs. If you
have extension springs and don't plan to replace your door,
make sure the springs have these containment cables, or
have a professional install them.
Safe automatic door openers. All automatic openers must
now have an auto-reversing mechanism and photoelectric
eyes located near the floor on both sides of the door (see photo). If the door is
closing and the beam
between the eyes is
interrupted, the door will automatically reverse. If the eyes
aren't connected, the door won't operate. For instructions on how to install a new garage door opener, see How to Install a Garage Door Opener.
Securely mounted hardware and rails. Torsion spring brackets
should be firmly mounted to the wooden header above
the door. Roller track support brackets and the opener
should be securely bolted to the rafters.
Annual maintenance. Make an annual check of all nuts and
bolts on rails and rollers to make sure they're firmly tightened.
Check the condition of all cables to make sure they're
not worn or frayed. Lubricate rollers and springs with a garage-door lubricant (see How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door for maintenance and problem-solving tips). The door should operate
smoothly and be properly balanced. Check the balance by
disconnecting the opener and lowering the door halfway—
the door should hold its position. If it doesn't, adjust the
spring tension or replace the springs.
Opener switch location. Children like to play with automatic
door openers. To prevent them from doing this, mount any
opener switches at least 5 ft. above the floor.