Garages continue to serve as a major hub of activity in the modern household, often becoming the primary entry point into the home and a storage center for everything from soccer balls to snow blowers. But, with one out of every 15 garage door openers lacking the latest safety features, there is a hidden threat in millions of households across America. To avoid injuries from the largest and heaviest moving object in the home, LiftMaster is announcing its national "Don't Chance It. Check It.™" Garage Safety Initiative.
Once considered a luxury item, automatic garage door openers are now installed in 35 million households across the country, with more than 70 percent of homeowners relying on their garage door as the main access point to the home. As more and more garage door openers made their way into American homes over the last several decades, laws were enacted to ensure the safety of those using them. However, prior to 1993, protection systems, such as infrared sensors or "photo-eyes" that stop a garage door before making contact with an object or person – were not mandatory.
Instead, garage door openers were equipped with force-sensing safety systems that only reverse the door after it makes contact with an object. These older models can be safe and reliable if installed, tested and maintained properly. But unless they're retrofitted with photo-eyes, the vast majority of these older units still are not up to today's standard in safety.
The program, currently rolling out to a national audience, is designed to help homeowners and families understand how to check their door and make sure they have the safest garage door opener system in place. Follow these three easy steps to ensure safe functionality of any automatic garage door openers installed after 1993 or retrofitted with safety eyes:
1. Check the sides of the garage door for properly installed photo-eyes (black sensors), mounted no higher than six inches off the floor.
2. Block the photo-eye with an object over six inches tall and press the close button on the garage door opener. The door should not close.
3. Lay an object that is at least 1.5 inches in height flat on the ground in the door's path and press the close button. Household objects this size might be a bar of soap, stack of index cards, or a hardcover book. The door should reverse off this object. If it makes contact and does not reverse, the door is not operating correctly.
After recording the results, homeowners are encouraged to contact a Certified Safety Check Dealer to seek guidance on how to keep this high traffic area safe and secure. For further assistance or to learn how to upgrade a garage door opener, homeowners can visit LiftMaster.com/GarageSafety .