Importance of Garage Door Safety Features


Garage doors are the largest and heaviest moving object in your home.  A garage door can weigh 130lbs to start and depending on the materials and size, they can easily go up to 400lbs.  Most doors are now automatic, and while convenient, they can also be potentially dangerous if not used safely and correctly as well as kept in good condition.  With that much weight being lifted up and down, it is important to understand the safety features and ensure that they are working properly on a regular basis.

Every year there are many injuries and even deaths from ill maintained or misused garage doors.  Unfortunately, many of these end up being children.  It is absolutely vital to discuss with your children the dangers of garage doors.  They must understand that they should never walk or run underneath a moving door, it is not a game and the controls are not toys.  They should also be taught to never play under or near an open garage door and to keep their hands well away from any moving parts, springs, hinges and section joints.

Garage Door and Opener Safety Features

Safety always comes first, so to make garage doors much safer than in the past, garage doors and openers come with certain safety features that are important for you to be familiar with.  The main safety features are;

  • Auto-reverse
  • Photoelectric eyes
  • Manual control


Let’s talk a little about each of them to understand what they should do.


If your garage door was manufactured after 1990, it is required to have an auto-reverse mechanism.  This feature is essential for a safe garage door.  The garage door has special built-in sensors that detect any kind of resistance while the door is closing. If resistance is detected, the door will automatically stop and reverse direction.  This prevents any person or pet from becoming pinned and trapped under the door.

There are sensitivity settings that need to be adjusted correctly.  If the sensors are too sensitive, even the slightest resistance such as a door roller catching on the rails will not allow the door to close.  On the other hand, if the settings are not sensitive enough, the door could continue closing even if there is significant resistance.

This safety feature should be tested monthly to ensure proper functioning.  This can be done quickly and easily by placing an object like a 2×4 under the door.  You know that the sensitivity settings are correct and the sensors are working if the door reverses upon contact with the object.

Photoelectric Eyes

Photoelectric eyes are standard in garage door openers manufactured in 1993 or later.  They are located 6 inches from the ground and send invisible infrared beams across the garage door opening.  If the beam is broken by any kind of obstruction while the door is closing, the garage door will stop and reverse.  They can sometimes malfunction if the lenses are dirty or they become misaligned but this can be corrected by wiping them and manually readjusting.

Manual Control

All garage doors will come with a manual release that will operate the door with a rope.  It is easily identified by a red handle that extends from the opener.  This allows for the door to be opened if the power goes out and is also an important safety feature.  If other safety features fail and someone becomes pinned under the door, the manual release will allow you to open it up by hand.  The door is counterbalanced by the springs and will be easy to lift.

Regular Servicing


Having your garage door regularly serviced by a professional yearly is highly recommended.  This will ensure that your door keeps running at its best, and even more importantly will help ensure its safety.  If you need regular maintenance done or are having problems with your garage door’s safety features, give ONC Garage Door Services a call! Our technicians will be fast to get your garage door working how it should be!