An automatic or electronic garage door provides convenience and protection. However, you need to be prepared for occasions when your door requires manual opening. For example, one morning, you may need to rush to work or get the kids to school, but there is a power outage. You then realize that the garage door won’t automatically open since you don’t have a battery backup.
Other times, you pull into the driveway near the garage after a long day at work only to realize that you can’t get your car inside because your automatic opener is faulty or you lost your remote control. Knowing how to open the garage door manually is essential in case of emergencies. Here are practical steps that you can follow.
1. Disconnect the Automatic Garage Door Opener
If you can access the garage from the inside, the first step is to unplug the automatic garage door opener. Look for the electric garage door opener at the base of the trolley track on the ceiling, and pull out the power cord.
2. Disengage the Automatic Opener From the Garage Door
Begin by locating the emergency release cord. In a closed garage, the emergency cord hangs loosely from the ceiling usually near the front part of the door. Pull down the red handle hanging from the cord until you hear a clicking sound. If you find it hard to pull the rope, there is a possibility that the garage door isn’t completely closed. Push the door to close it tightly, and then try pulling the cord once more. The main aim here is to disconnect the door from the automatic opener so that it operates manually.
If your only access to the garage is through the locked door, you will need to use a different mechanism. Prepare a long wire with a hook at the end to help you reach the emergency release rope. Climb onto a ladder and push your wire through a crack in the garage door frame. Once the wire is inside the garage, aim it a few feet below the ceiling to get the red emergency cord. Hook the wire onto the cord’s handle and then pull. Some garages have a window at the top, and this is an added advantage. You can see the handle and attach it to the wire quickly. Be very careful during this operation to avoid injuries.
3. Manually Lift the Garage Door
Now grab the lower part of the door and lift it till it fully opens. If you are having trouble lifting the door because of its heavy weight, then it’s possible that the spring is broken. Keep in mind that the automatic door opener doesn’t raise the door. Rather, it moves the springs to open or close the door. If you have a broken spring, call in a professional to repair it as soon as possible.
Be careful while operating your garage door manually. A strong wind can cause the door to slam down. Once you open the garage, observe the door for a few minutes to ensure that it stays open before driving your car in. If the door can’t stay open long enough, you can prop open it with something sturdy. Also, keep the doorway clear, and don’t allow children to play near the garage door to avoid injuries.
You shouldn’t leave your door unlocked and unattended for too long. Once you take the car in or out of the garage, gently slide the door until it firmly connects with the ground. The door’s weight is what will keep it shut. Avoid letting the door fall and slam itself. This will only weaken the track and damage the door.
4. Lock the Door Manually
Since you disconnected the automatic opener, your door’s locking mechanism is inactive. You now need to use the metallic lock on the garage door to keep it closed and secure everything stored inside. Slide the bolt to the side to lock into the door track’s rail. If the door doesn’t have a manual lock bar, you can use a C-clamp to keep it from opening.
5. Reconnect the Opener
To operate your garage electronically, you need to re-engage the automatic garage door opener. First, ensure that your door is fully closed. Pull the emergency release cord towards the entrance to compress the spring lever and allow the mechanism to reconnect. When the switch at the end of the emergency cord moves into place and re-engages, you will hear a click.
Alternatively, you can climb up using a ladder and pull the lever directly. Reconnect the door with the trolley track by raising it about 1 to 2 feet until you hear a loud click on the track. If the power issue has already been resolved, you can use the door control panel or the remote to reconnect the door with the track. Open and close the door automatically to test it. If you hear any unusual sounds or if the door seems shaky, there could be a problem with the connection, and you need to seek professional help.
6. Use the Emergency Door Kit if Your Garage Has One
If you have a newer model garage door with an emergency kit, it’s easier to open it manually. Locate the door kit, insert a key into the keyhole, and turn it. Once you see a metal node, pull it from the keyhole. This will quickly disengage the automatic mechanism to allow manual operation of the garage door. Note that this option is only possible if your door has the emergency key feature.
Contact a Professional if You Need Help With Your Garage Door
You will avoid the inconvenience of dealing with a garage door that won’t open in case of a power outage or when the electric mechanisms malfunction if you learn how to open it manually. Ensure that you close the garage as soon as you are done using it. Read your manual to guide you in locating the pull cord and understand how everything works.
If your garage won’t open even after trying out all the above methods, seek professional assistance. A technician can help diagnose the cause of the problem and fix it. It’s also a good idea to install a garage door with a backup battery feature to run the opener and the safety sensors even in case of a power outage.
Don’t also neglect maintenance for your garage door. It is best to plan for annual garage door maintenance. During servicing, have a professional inspect the garage door system and lubricate the moving parts. The technician will also thoroughly examine the nuts, bolts, and screws and tighten them to keep the garage door running smoothly. Routine maintenance will also help minimize the chances of automatic garage door opener failure.
If you need professional assistance with your garage door, you can always reach out to the Garage Door Doctor. We specialize in garage door installations, repairs, maintenance, and replacements. We also provide garage door spring repair, replacement, and commercial garage door services across Indianapolis, IN, and the nearby regions. Call us today to schedule an appointment.