Opening Your Garage Door During A Power Outage

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.

LiftMaster Opener


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.

  • Now that is some excellent writing.

  • I feel this is one of the most vital information for me. And i am happy reading your article. However wanna commentary on some general things, The website taste is great, the articles is truly great : D. Just right job, cheers

    • We installed the new sgnirps(150LB Red code), garage door won’t go down.little bit move down and right back up.The door can be forcefuly pulled down. It’s more than 500LB door.Opening with remote control works fine. Closing is the problem.some advice please?My car has been sitting out 🙁

      • Good day,

        Thank you for contacting Garaga. By the information that you gave us, it seems that the springs are too strong for your door. We suggest you to contact the nearest dealer. With the serial number of your door, they will be able to provide you the proper spring and help you to resolve the situation. To find the distributor nearest you, please click on the following link:

        You can find the serial number of your garage door on the bottom section, from the inside of the garage on on a 2″ X ¾” plastic sticker located on the bottom panel, above the “DANGER” sticker.

        Hoping it’s all to your satisfaction.
        Have a nice day!

  • lucy Smith

    If possible, only use the release cord when the garage is in the down position.Casquette Obey

  • Joy Wheeler

    I’m locked out of my garage!! My remote is in the car and I haven’t connected the code pad. How can I get in my garage?

  • Cathy Smith

    There’s a power outage and I’ve managed to release the garage door and close it (happened with the door open) but how can I lock it? Thank you.

    • GaragaDoors

      Cathy: in installing a side-lock, fixed on the edge of the 2nd section. Call your local garage door dealer. Therefore, please be advised if the lock is in and you use your remote control to open the door, you could seriously damage your door. So, use this kind of lock only you’re living a power outage, and fix a Ty-Rap cable to be sure nobody from your family is pushing it by accident.

  • It is safe and interesting.We should calm and dont panic when it happen.

  • That would be a good idea to have an automatic and manual mode when using an electronic garage.It is very wise that during the outage of power you can still use the door.

  • hitechlockandkey

    very advantage to have a manual mode in a digital or electronic operatedgarage door to continually operate it even in times of power outage

  • Shelley Krantz

    I had a 10 1/2 hour power outage yesterday. I have a door from the house into the garage and I knew how to pull the cord to get it manual and a neighbor lifted it for me so I could get my car out. I can’t get it back to automatic. It says to pull the cord toward the door and lift the door. Or, use the remote. The remote doesn’t do it. Help!

    • GaragaDoors

      Hi Shelly: if the power is back, the trick is to reconnect the trolley. I don’t know which garage door operator you have, but mostly, instructions are the same. Click on this link and go to the page 8 of this manual. If it’s so, check also the other pages. Hoping it’s going to solve your problem. If negative, come back to me. J-F

      • Shelley Krantz

        A neighbor got it for me.

  • Adrian Rodriguez

    I know I’m talking about a different product but I cannot find an answer elsewhere and you may be able to help me.

    I have a lift master gate operator. For some reason today it wasn’t closing while leaving work, so I figured out that I can manually close it with a screw driver. Well that’s great and all but now tha worries me because anybody can just jump over my fence now with a screw driver and open my gate.

    So my question is how can I make sure that my gate is going to be securely locked with people knowing about that emergency handle?

    Thank you

    • GaragaDoors

      In installing a side-lock. This lock is installed on the 2nd door section, on the edge. Ask to a garage door specialist to show it to you how to install it. You’ll need 4 screws. Depending your state/provincial regulations, it could be mandatory to always install an interlock safety switch. If you use it, it’s important to unplug your motor to be sure nobody actives the opener when the power is back when you’re out of your home. Also, it’s important to block the using of the side-lock during a normal situation. Just lock the side-lock with a pad-lock. Again ask to a garage door specialist to show you how to do it. Explain to your members of family to use this side-lock ONLY with power outage and steps to do to secure your garage door.

  • Maggy Stan

    I never had a garage before and just closed on my first foreclosure. The garage door opener isn’t working and I saw the red cord. I pulled it but I think it is rusted. I knew someone would have a video, thanks for this! Now I just need some WD40 and I should have a working door!
    Car Stackers

  • Aaron Rodgers

    I never had a garage before and just closed on my first foreclosure. The garage door opener isn’t working and I saw the red cord. I pulled it but I think it is rusted. I knew someone would have a video, thanks for this! Now I just need some WD40 and I should have a working door!
    Car Stackers

  • Heather Bergman

    That’s the info i am searching for 20 minutes and here it is, Thank God. Bravo!!!!
    Generac Portable Generators

  • Heather Bergman

    Oh and great ideas.Thank you for the information,it helps a lot. I am also looking for Car Stackers do anyone got any info on it?

  • Dewayne Marion

    Here is a simple video showing how a garage door lock works.

    • GaragaDoors

      Thanks for sharing this video.

      • Dewayne Marion

        You betcha

  • Evie Cook

    Great article about Garage Door Maintenance , you want more information about Garage Maintenance i would recommend this site

  • GaragaDoors

    Contact a local garage door dealer. Depends on garage door opener you have.

  • Darren Tate

    Yes I am helping someone with their door it broke loose from the door and the track arm I was going to pull the cord to lower it and noticed it doesn’t even have the spring system on it. Is it nessasary to have the springs on it

  • Door And Dock Solutions

    All garage doors have a by pass switch for the power cut situations but some doors doesn’t have such alternatives. So for that everybody who has such problem must call industrial door service expert who can help them to open the door and make an alternative with the rope to the door.

    • GaragaDoors

      Thanks for your advice. Follow also us on Twitter.

      • Door And Dock Solutions

        ok for sure. . .

  • GaragaDoors

    Thanks Sofia.