Coming home to a non-functioning garage door can be incredibly frustrating. Whether it’s a dead battery in your remote or a power outage, you should know how to open and shut your garage door manually. You don’t want your vehicle to get stuck in the garage, unable to leave, while you wait for a maintenance specialist. To open the door successfully, you’ll need to know the common causes, standard procedures and safety tips to open a garage door on your own.
Electric Garage Door Stopped Working
If you find you can’t open your garage door from the outside, you’ll need to figure out what is causing the issues. Before you try to open it manually, run through the common reasons why a garage door stops working to make sure you can safely open it on your own.
See some of the most common examples below.
- The photo eye is damaged or dirty: Many garage doors have a photo eye that rests about four to six inches off the ground. It sends a laser across the garage that stops the garage door from closing if something gets in the way of the laser beam. If a cord to the photo eye is cut or damaged, it might be affecting it. Additionally, the eye could have dirt or dust on it that you should clean.
- Broken torsion springs: One of the most common sources of a garage door needing repair is a spring breaking. You’ll often hear a loud snap or something that resembles a firecracker going off when the spring breaks. If a spring breaks, you should wait for a professional to repair it, and you should not try to open the garage door on your own.
- Snapped cable: When a torsion spring breaks, the garage door cable will often snap off with it. A snapped cable can do damage to anything in its way. This sort of problem will require an in-depth, professional repair job. As with the scenario of broken torsion springs, you should not try to open the garage manually, as it could be dangerous.
- Disconnect switch: A garage door opener will almost always come with a disconnect switch that lets you open the door manually. If you’ve accidentally activated the switch, the motor will disconnect, so you’ll want to check if this is the case before you try to open the door manually.
- Disrupted power source: Occasionally, the problem is not with the door, but with the power source connected to the door. Make sure you have your garage door opener plugged into a working outlet. You’ll also want to check your GFCI, fuse and circuit breaker.
- Malfunctioning remote control: Sometimes, there is a problem with the remote control. The issue might be that you’re out of range, or the battery could be dead. Also, you may need to reprogram the remote. Check to see if the antenna on the garage’s motor has gotten damaged or if something could be blocking it.
- Sensitivity adjustment: Regardless of how long you’ve had your garage door, the sensitivity may be set too low or high. A sensitivity that is not set correctly will leave the garage door unable to open.
- Door not on its track: A door needs to be on track to slide properly. Check to see the door rolls smoothly on the metal track. You should also look for any alterations along the track, like bumps, obstacles or gaps. To fix this, you’ll need to loosen the screws for the tracks, tap the track into the right position, then re-tighten the previously loosened screws.
- Locked door: Occasionally, a garage door that isn’t working will come down to a problem with the user. A garage door can be locked, so you’ll want to see if someone has accidentally engaged a lock mechanism.
- Unseen obstacles: If you have trouble closing your garage door, it may be due to something on the tracks or in the way of the laser. Look for any obstacles and wipe down the track to dislodge any dirt or debris that might be in the way.
Can You Open a Garage Door Without Electricity?
If you can’t figure out why your garage door is not working after a power outage, you can still open it without electricity. Knowing how to open your garage door manually will come in handy any time the power goes out or something malfunctions. To open up a garage door on your own, you’ll need to take the necessary precautions, undo some pins and lift the door from the ground, to name only a few of the actions needed.
People can generally complete this job on their own, but if the garage door is heavy, you may want to bring someone along to assist you as you pull the gate up. Safety should always be your top priority, so you don’t hurt your back trying to lift the garage door.
Learning the proper steps to open your garage door manually will be a big help, as you’ll want to be able to get your car out of the garage to get to work. On the flip side, if the power’s out due to inclement weather, you’ll want to get your vehicle inside to protect it, so it’s crucial you know how to manually open a garage door when the power is out.
Steps to Open Your Garage Door With No Power
If you need to know how to open a garage door without power, you’ll want to follow the below steps to give yourself access to the garage again.
- To begin the process, you’ll first need to make sure all the springs or cables are intact, along with ensuring there hasn’t been any damage to the rest of the garage door system. If the garage door is damaged, you might end up harming it more in the process. Along with damaging the garage, a broken cable or spring could hurt you. If you do find any issues with the garage door, it will be best to call a professional to make the repairs or open the garage.
- Once you’ve verified there are no problems that require a more in-depth repair, you’ll want to find the emergency cord. This cord usually comes with a red handle attached to it and will hang from the center of the garage door mechanism. If there’s not a red cord, but there is a cord hanging from the center of the garage door mechanism, it’s likely the emergency cord. You may need a ladder to reach it, as well.
- You’ll want to pull the cord until the lever locks into a down position. It will cause the release lever to disengage from the carriage of the garage door opener. By releasing the lever, you’ll now be able to move the garage door without any electrical assistance.
- With the lever released, lift the garage door. Bring the door back to its end, where the door is fully open and you can no longer move it back away from the entrance. You don’t want to close the door and have it fall on your vehicle or yourself, so making sure it’s all the way back is essential.
- If the garage door does not lift easily from the ground, you’ll want to have a professional examine it to see if there’s any damage that could represent safety risks. A smooth opening will indicate the springs are balanced correctly, and you can be confident you aren’t harming your garage door by manually opening it.
- Once the door is completely open, you can drive your vehicle in or out of the garage, whichever suits your needs. You can then close the door in the same way you opened it.
- If you want to secure your garage, you’ll need to re-engage the lever after you leave. To do this, you’ll need to use a long stick, like the end of a broom, to push the level upward. You can also climb a ladder and press it up. Along with these methods, you can also ensure the mechanism re-engages by pulling the cord towards the door motor. You’ll need to pull the release cord until you hear the mechanism click in place.
- Whenever you leave your home without your garage door working, you’ll want to ensure you have another way to enter your home. It can be more challenging to open the door from the outside, so you’ll want an alternate entrance. After the work you put into opening it manually, you don’t want to have to end up calling a locksmith to help you enter your home.
Alternative Methods for Opening a Garage
If for some reason your garage door won’t open even with the emergency release cord, you’ll need to go through a detailed process.
- First, find the door opener carriage assembly, then remove the cotter and clevis pins from it. You may need a ladder to reach them safely.
- By removing the pins, you’ll now be able to lift the door, as it’s disconnected from the garage door mechanism.
- If you can’t reach the door opener carriage assembly, you can go to the door arm bracket attached to the door by removing the cotter and clevis pins.
- Like removing the pins from the door opener carriage assembly, the door will now be separate from the garage door mechanism, and you’ll be able to lift it manually. If you take it from the door opener carriage assembly, you’ll want to be careful with the door arm as you lower it to ensure you don’t damage it.
How to Safely Open Your Garage Door Manually
Along with the above steps, there are a few safety precautions you should follow to ensure you stay safe while you manually open the garage door.
1. Disconnect Power Cord
Even if your power is out, you should still disconnect the power cord from your garage door opener. Take this step before you do anything else to open the door manually. It’s essential to ensure no power is running into the opener that could harm you while you attempt to remove anything from the garage door’s mechanisms.
2. Don’t Operate a Damaged Garage Door
If your garage door no longer opens due to damage, you will not want to try to open it by yourself. In this case, you’ll need to call a professional to assist you. For instance, if your garage door has glass windows that have shattered, you won’t want to open the door even if it is fully functional, since broken glass could fall on you or your vehicle.
3. Read the Manual
Your owner’s manual might contain some crucial information about operating your garage door manually. While some general steps apply to most garage doors, you should still check to see if your door differs from the norm.
By looking at the manual, you might discover removing a part could harm your garage door or cause an issue that could make you and your family less safe. Understanding the traits of your garage door will help you stay safe and protect your investment.
4. Don’t Ever Fix Cables or Springs by Yourself
While it’s not dangerous to remove the cotter or clevis pin from your garage door, you should not attempt to fix any cables or springs by yourself. A mishandled cable could come snapping back at you, causing severe harm to you or anyone else in the garage.
Along with any physical harm that could come your way, an improperly installed cable or spring could stress other parts of the garage door. As a result of this stress, the garage door might have issues opening and closing. To avoid causing further damage than a broken cable, you’ll want to call in the professionals to fix the door the right way.
Want to Upgrade or Install a Garage Door?
At Olympic Garage Door, we regularly serve homes and businesses throughout the Olympic Peninsula. Due to this experience, we know just how crucial a functional and attractive garage door is to any building. We also understand that even though you should know how to open the garage manually, a fault in a company’s products should never be the reason you need to. That’s why we offer only the highest-quality garage door systems on the market.
If you’re interested in speaking with one of our trusted representatives about your needs, give us a call or send us a message. Along with speaking to a representative, you can schedule service easily through our online form.