Beware of garage doors

From Kansas City Star 7/22/2015 – You pass through it every day, often multiple times a day. Heading to work. Dropping the kids off. Running errands. The garage door has become such an integral part of everyday life that you probably don’t pay much attention to it as you come and go, let alone stop to think about how safe it is.

Would you pay attention if you knew that 1 in 15 garage doors and openers may lack the latest safety features and may not be operating properly? That’s at least one house on your street alone. As the heaviest moving object in your home, the garage door is a potential safety hazard and can harm people, pets and damage property if it’s not working properly.

How can you be sure your garage door isn’t placing your family, friends or neighbors at risk? By using a simple 3-Step Safety Check. This vital test ensures your garage has effective, properly installed safety sensors (photo eyes) that prevent the garage door from closing when anything is in its path. The majority of garage door openers manufactured before 1993 aren’t equipped with these devices and should be replaced, not repaired. Even if your garage door opener was installed within the last ten years, the 3-Step Safety Check allows you to make sure it’s operating properly and is as safe as it should be.

Worried about time? Though it may sound like a hassle, a simple safety check usually doesn’t take more than 45 seconds.

You won’t need a toolbox of complicated gadgets either—just a few items you likely already have around the home. The safety check is as easy as 1-2-3 and can keep your garage safe and secure:

1. Check the sides of the garage door for properly installed photo eyes (black sensors), mounted no higher than 6 inches off the floor.

2. Block the photo eye with an object over 6 inches tall, and press the garage door opener’s close button. The door should not close.

3. Lay an object that is at least 1.5 inches high on the ground in the door’s path, and press the close button. The door should reverse off this object.

Make sure to complete garage safety checks seasonally, as often as you would change the batteries in your smoke detector. An easy way to remember is to test your garage door opener when you set your clocks forward and backward.