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Inspecting Garage Doors: The Largest Moving Part of a Home

A garage door opener is the largest moving part in your home so it is important that it be inspected to ensure that it operates normally and safely. With so many operating parts a home inspector should look at all parts carefully to ensure proper operation and look for potential safety hazards.

Here are several of the areas to look at and tests you can perform to make sure that you do not overlook any issues:

Check the door for fatigue - Look for damage or structural defects especially on older doors.

Emergency Release - If a door comes down it can possibly trap a child or a small animal. There should be an emergency release cable to disengage the automatic operator and allow a homeowner to lift the door and release whomever is trapped.

Pressure Release - With the door completely open place a 2x4 flat and close the door. As it hits the 2x4 it should sense the pressure and reverse direction.

Photo eyes - Make sure the eyes are present on doors that have been installed since 1992 (if the date is known). These eyes should be located near the floor (generally within 4”-6”). With the door lowering, swing your leg or some other object between the photo eyes and the door should reverse.

Wall Button - The button should be at least five feet above the standing surface and high enough to be out of reach of small children.

Safety Cables - Are the springs restrained be safety cables in the event that the springs break?  If a spring breaks the safety cable will help to keep metal parts from flying through the air. Torsion springs will not need these safety cables as the torsion bar works as a containment device. 

While these are the major concerns to check, make sure that you look at all moving parts and the overall door condition.

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