Having an automated garage door opener—which is often taken for granted— is actually a massive convenience for any home owners. However, they can be a major pain when there is a blackout or power outage. How can we leave the house with the car stuck in the garage? Or how can we put the car inside the garage during the blackout?
Another problem might arise if your garage door is open just when the blackout happens. We can certainly close the garage door, but since the locking system is automated, we can’t lock the door, which might compromise our home security.
Here, we will discuss how to manually open your garage door during a power outage—both from inside and outside the garage—, how to reconnect the garage door, and how to lock your garage door during a blackout.
Let us begin.
How To Open The Garage From The Inside
Most automatic garage doors are connected to the main house.So, even when we are out during the blackout, we can simply get inside the house and open the garage from the inside. The same method can be used when you want to drive your car away from the house after the power outage.
Step 1: Check whether the garage door is completely locked, and the springs are in place. Check for any significant damages, since manually opening a damaged garage door can be risky.
In this case, you might want to contact a professional garage door service or your garage door manufacturer in the area so they can help you.
Step 2: Look for a red emergency cord on the opener. Pull this cord carefully, which will manually disconnect the garage door from the opener unit, and will disengage the release lever. This emergency red cord is usually located near the center rail, accompanied with a red-colored handle.
Step 3: Lift the garage door manually until it is fully open. If you are having difficulties, usually the lifting it via the handles will help you. Open the door carefully and slowly, and make sure it has opened completely and has stopped moving before releasing your grip.
In general, if the garage door springs are properly placed, the door should open relatively easily and will stay in place. So, if the door is hard to open or won’t stay in place after being opened, it might be wise to call a professional to help you.
Step 4: After you drive your car in or out of the garage door, you can manually close the garage door. Make sure it’s completely closed and reached the ground.
Step 5: Since the automatic opener is currently disconnected from the garage door, it won’t be automatically locked. Go back inside the house, and slide the metal lock bar on the inside of the garage door to lock the door. Some garage doors don’t have this sliding lock mechanism, and in this case, you can use a clamp or a padlock to secure the garage door. Usually a space is left on the railing where you can secure a padlock.
If locking the garage door isn’t possible using the above methods, you might want to reconsider whether you’d want to disconnect the door and leave the house, since this can compromise safety. As a safety measure, make sure to have a manual lock added to your garage door if it doesn’t have one at the moment to prevent the same thing happening at the next power outage.
How To Open The Garage Door From The Outside
As briefly mentioned above, there are cases where the garage door is not connected to the main house and so the only access inside and outside the garage door, is the garage door itself.
In cases like this, the garage door should be equipped with an emergency release unit, where you will need a key to unlock it. After you’ve unlocked this release kit, you can open the door manually. Different release unit might have different unlocking mechanism, so you might want to check the manual or call the manufacturer.
After this, you can follow the same steps as opening the door from the inside.
Reconnecting The Automatic Garage Door
Once you’ve regained power, don’t forget to reconnect the automatic garage door system. The main reason is obviously convenience, you’d want to take advantage of the automatic door as usual. The other reason is security, since as we have mentioned, disconnected garage door won’t have a permanent locking system in place which might compromise security.
Here are the steps you can do to reconnect your garage door system.
Step 1: First, make sure that the garage door is currently unlocked. Slide the metal sliding lock back, away from the garage tracks to unlock it. If you used a padlock or clamp, don’t forget to also unlock it.
Be very careful about this step. If the door is still locked while the automatic mechanism is already connected and it tried to open the door, it can cause various damages.
Step 2: Go back to the red emergency cord. Pull this cord away from the garage door, and then pull up the door until it moves back into place. There should be a click after this process, and that’s how you know the garage door is positioned correctly.
Another option is to use a remote opener to open the garage. In most cases, the track will force the garage door’s springs to automatically reconnects.
Step 3: If you’ve unlocked the emergency release kit (when opening the garage door from the outside), don’t forget to re-lock it. Some garage doors won’t go reconnect to the opener if this release kit is not locked.
In most cases, managing an automatic garage door during a power outage is relatively easy and you can do it yourself. However, if there are significant damage to your door, or you have any difficulty to manually open the door during a power outage, you can always get the help of local professionals, with some of them offering 24/7 services.