Those who have experienced the convenience that an automatic garage door offers will likely never go back to a manually opening door. Especially in bad weather, there’s no better feeling than a simple click of the button keeping you and your belongings dry. That being said, that same storm might bring with it power outages that could leave your garage door incapacitated and you stuck out in the cold. On the flip side, when you’re inside the garage with no power and you need to get out for work it’s important to understand these tips on how to open a garage door manually.
Trip the Trigger
Virtually all garage door openers have a bypass switch for situations such as when the power goes out, a motor goes awry, or the remote opener dies. On most garage door openers there is a rope with a handle on the end (usually red). This manual release handle disengages the trolley from the attachment point to the rail. Pulling on this rope will put the garage into manual mode so if the door is up, it might come crashing down. To be safe, always activate the handle when the garage door is closed.
Staying in Manual Mode
The red rope controls the spring attachment in the trolley. If the power is going to be out for a long period of time or the opener motor is malfunctioning, then you may have to stay in manual mode. When you want to continually open the door in manual mode it’s important to pull the rope down and towards the back of the garage (or the motor) so that it doesn’t get caught on the tracks.
Reattaching the Door When Power Returns
After utility crews have restored power in your house, you’ll likely want to take full advantage of the conveniences of an automatic door again. To reengage the trolley attachment, simply pull down on the cord but this time towards the garage opening to keep the lever from engaging. Pull up on the door until it snaps into place and you’re back in automatic mode. If that’s too confusing, simply hit the button on the remote opener and the track will force the spring attachment back into place.
Things to Remember About the Release Cord
Something to keep in mind about using manual mode is that even though some components in the track or door may be corrupted, the automatic system will keep the garage functioning. Weak or broken springs and cables are aided by the track, making the garage one cohesive unit. Of course, when you disengage the track, bad things can happen.
- If possible, only use the release cord when the garage is in the down position. This might not be an option if a power outage occurs when the door is up, but when the handle is released the door will come crashing down.
- If the door must be disengaged when in the up position, use 2X4’s to prop open the door for safe closing.
- Clear the area of people and objects when releasing in the up position.
- Don’t hang from the cord if it doesn’t release. It takes some force to disengage the lever but hanging from it could cause damage to the rope or lever.
If you find there is damage to a cable or the door opens unevenly, make sure to contact one of our Garaga certified garage door experts in your area. Tension springs and other garage features can be dangerous to work with and doing a DIY project could result in irreversible damage. Our certified professionals have the tools and experience at their disposal to repair your garage opener safely and efficiently.
Opening Your Garage Door from the Outside
It’s important to get familiar with the layout of the garage door opener spring mechanism in non-emergency situations. If you’re locked out when the power is out and the garage is your main way of accessing the home, it may be possible to release the lever from the outside. Placing a shim in the weather stripping near the top of the garage and sliding a bent clothes hanger in to flip the lever will enable the door to be opened manually. Of course, this is a great security risk, so you’ll have to weigh the options on whether installing a secure shield or being able to engage your door manually from outside is more important.