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How To Test a Garage Door Opener

Automatic garage door openers are a great convenience; but they are also potentially deadly. That is why garage door openers have built in safety features. Once a year you should test that those features are working properly. If any of the safety features are not operating properly, unplug the garage door opener. The garage door should not be used until the problem has been repaired.

The first feature is the obstruction sensor. It is an electronic eye, mounted about six inches off the ground on each side of the door. With the door open, press the button to close the door and then use a stick to break the beam of light between the two sensors. The door should reverse direction. Next, place an obstruction through the beam of light and then press the button to close the door. The door should do nothing, or at most start and immediately stop. If the door operates when the beam is broken, unplug the garage door opener and have it serviced.

The next safety feature to test is the garage door balance. The door, when disconnected from the drive system, should open and close smoothly. Try stopping the garage door in several different positions and letting go. The door should remain in that position. If the door falls closed or retracts to the open position, the door needs to be rebalanced.

The automatic reversal system activates anytime the door encounters excessive resistance, in either direction. First test that the door reverses when it encounters an obstacle. Place a block of wood, brick or similar object on the ground under the door. It should not break the beam of light from the obstacle sensor. Close the door. If the reversal system is working properly, the door will reverse direction quickly after encountering the obstacle.

Also test the reversal system by trying to stop the door as it descends. Do not stand under the door. Stand outside and place your hands against the door and lean into the door. The door should reverse direction. Repeat this test, but try and stop the door as it opens. Instead of reversing, the door should come to a stop.

These safety features save lives. Children and pets are particularly at risk because of their size. Keep your automatic garage door opener working safely to protect yourself and others.

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