A Parent’s Guide to Childproofing Your Garage

A Parent’s Guide to Childproofing Your Garage

A Parent’s Guide to Childproofing Your Garage

garage interior with loft storage and white solid garage door

For young children, the garage can be the most dangerous part of your house. Between heavy equipment and poisonous chemicals, it’s important to properly childproof your garage before allowing kids inside. By maintaining your garage door and childproofing the space, you can significantly minimize your garage’s dangers.

How to Childproof a Garage Door

From a young age, tell your children that the garage is not an appropriate place to play and cannot be entered without an adult present. Children may think that features like automatic garage door openers are toys because of their buttons, so be sure to tell them that these features are only allowed to be used by an adult. The most effective garage door safety method is to keep it locked and make sure children understand the door is never a toy. 

To prevent accidents around the door, make a habit of frequently testing your garage doors. Each garage door should have a photoelectric sensor that stops the door from closing if it detects an object under it. Using a durable object, test whether the sensor still accurately detects obstructions and stops the door. Testing your doors frequently will keep your garage door from malfunctioning. 

Garage door openers should be kept out of the reach of children and located at a level where only adults can reach them. If possible, opt for a childproof garage door opener that requires a passcode before operating. That way, children can’t play with the remote even if they try. 

Childproofing the Rest of Your Garage

Once the most dangerous part of the garage has been childproofed, you can improve the safety of the rest of the space. Get into the habit of keeping the garage locked at all times, and make sure never to leave the car doors unlocked with your keys still inside. Garages are usually isolated from the rest of the house, making it difficult to hear if a child sneaks in and locks themselves in the room or car. 

Aside from heavy equipment, chemicals and fuels are the most dangerous objects found in your garage. Keep all chemicals tightly capped and kept in an elevated area so that children cannot reach them. Never store chemicals or dangerous objects like screws in food jars or tins, as children could mistake them for something edible.

If you use your garage as storage, make sure your storage solutions aren’t dangerously tall. Boxes and bins can hurt someone if they fall. Keeping stacks of storage containers low is especially important when babyproofing your garage. Consider securing your plastic bins to the wall using bungee cords or installing a shelving system.

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Maintain Your Garage Door With Garage Door Specialists

With over 30 years of experience, you can count on Garage Door Specialists to perform garage door maintenance and prevent accidents from happening. We’ll send out professional, experienced technicians whenever you need help with your door or its opener. For garage maintenance, repair and replacement solutions, contact us online today. 

10 Savvy Tips to Keep Your Garage Safe and Secure

Tips to Keep Your Garage Safe & Secure

10 Savvy Tips to Keep Your Garage Safe and Secure

Your garage is an important part of your home. It could be where you exit and enter your house the most on a daily basis. It might also be where you keep your lawn equipment, or maybe you use it for storage. 

Regardless of how you use it, you should do everything you can to secure your garage. If it connects to your home’s living space, this is even more relevant. You need to make sure you’re protecting everything in your house, from your valuable items to your family members. Our garage safety tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe here in the Chicago area. 

Checking the Condition of Your Garage Door

Securing a garage starts with the garage door itself. Your garage door is the last line of defense for your house, making it one of the most targeted break-in points for burglars and trespassers. A secure garage door is a deterrent for thieves, so you should make sure your garage is strong and looks like it. If your garage door is old and weathered, thieves may view it as an easy target — and they’ll be correct in their assumption. Old, weak garage doors are easy to break into. 

Here are some common indicators of a weakening garage door:

  • Gaps
  • Leaks
  • Rust
  • Warping panels
  • Cracks
  • Dents
  • Faded paint

If you see any of these signs on your garage door, consider repairing or replacing it. Some burglars are subtle and use tricks to enter and exit a garage without leaving any trace besides missing items. They can use cracks and loose seals in your garage door to unlock it from the outside. Then they can carry out their business without anyone knowing they were there. 

Other times, thieves will use brute force to enter your garage. If your garage door is full of cracks and gaps, an intruder will wait until the time is right to break through the garage door by forceful means. You can avoid these instances by investing in a strong and secure garage door. If a burglar’s attempt to get past your garage door is difficult or lasts too long, they could give up and leave the premises before anyone can spot them.

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10 Tips for Securing Your Garage

Once you make sure your garage door is in good condition, you can take other actions to keep your garage and entire home safe and secure. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your garage safe:

1. Keep Garage Door Sensors Clear

Garage door sensors act as a safety precaution to make sure nothing is under the door when it closes. While sensors do a good job ensuring the space below a garage door is clear of people, pets, toys or debris, they have the potential to malfunction if they get dirty. You could drive away from your home after pressing the button to close your door only to return home to an opened garage door if something triggered the sensor. 

Keep Garage Door Sensors Clear

If nothing was in the way of the garage door, you might have an issue with the sensor lenses. Make sure no dust, leaves or other obstructions are in the way. Then, use an electronic screen wipe or microfiber scratch-resistant cloth to gently wipe the lenses. This should fix the issue of the garage door opening after you attempt to close it. If the problem persists, you may have faulty sensors and should seek replacements. 

2. Add Lighting

Many thieves and burglars prefer to take action at night, since it provides natural protection from the watchful eyes of you or a neighbor. You can use the power of light as a deterrent to keep thieves from approaching your home in the evening. Install motion-activated lights around your home in key locations, such as the corners of the house and above entryways and garage doors. 

Motion lights will stay off when the area is still. Once something enters their area of detection, they will turn on to flood the area with light. This will reveal whatever or whoever is approaching your home.

3. Keep Valuables Out of Sight

Most thieves don’t mindlessly break into homes. They target the exact item they want and its location to ensure a quick and successful operation. Thieves have keen eyes. Imagine you’re doing yard work with your garage open and someone walks down the road in front of your house. They may even offer a friendly wave. 

This person could use this opportunity to see what you have in your garage. If anything is of interest to them, they could return later to get the item that caught their eye. Keep valuable items out of sight — especially around any garage windows — to make sure potential thieves are unaware of any items of interest in your garage. 

4. Protect Windows

Protecting your windows is another way to keep valuables out of sight. If you have windows in your garage or garage door, you may be doing more than letting light into your garage during the daytime. You could be letting potential robbers scope out the interior of your garage. Visibility into your garage allows people to see your valuables.

There are a few ways you can decrease visibility through your garage windows. Curtains or blinds are one easy option to obstruct vision. If you still want daylight to enter your garage, you could choose frosted, glazed or tinted windows to make it harder to see inside while still allowing light to pass through. For added security, you could install bars behind your windows to eliminate them as an entry point for thieves. 

5. Secure Side or Entry Doors

Doorways are consistently one of the easiest places for a thief to break into a garage or a home. People can use force to break through weaker doors, and prybars offer a solution to bypass stubborn latches. Cutting a small hole through a door can even give robbers the opportunity to reach through and unlock it. In the worst cases, robbers turn the handle and walk right into a house because the homeowner forgot to lock the door. 

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If your garage is attached to your home, you need to take extra precautions to bolster the security of your entry door. Add a deadbolt to the door and at least one other lock. Upgrade your hinges with larger, sturdier screws to reinforce the door’s connection to the frame. You could also upgrade your strike plate for added defense against prybars. It’s also important to establish a habit of locking your doors each night. 

Secure Side or Entry Doors

6. Install Security Cameras and Alarms

Have you noticed that people advertise their home’s security system by putting a sign in their yard that says what brand they have? This sign tells potential thieves that the house is not going to be easy to rob. The security system could trigger alarms, call local law enforcement and give away their location. Alarm systems are deterrents and alert inhabitants the moment a break-in occurs. 

Consider installing garage security cameras and alarms. Many security cameras are motion-activated, so they only record when something moves in their area of detection. Like motion-activated lights, the mere presence of security cameras acts as a deterrent to robberies. Some security cameras stream their footage to your smartphone, keeping you updated every time something approaches your windows or doors. Equip your entryways with alarms to scare away thieves and alert you when someone is trying to enter your home. 

7. Protect Garage Door Remotes

Your remote for your garage door opener is like a second key into your home. Many people leave their garage door remotes in their car. All a thief has to do is break into your car and take the remote to have access to your home. If you’re parked in public, they can use the address on your vehicle registration to find where you live before you finish shopping. 

Treat your garage door opener as a key by getting a keychain for it. Attach it to your keyring so it stays on your person at all times. That way, you’ll never leave it in your car as easy bait for thieves. You also may want to think twice before hiding a garage door opener outside your house. 

8. Prevent Fishing for the Release Lever

If you have an automatic garage door, you also have a release lever equipped with it. Locate the red cord or string hanging from your garage door opener to identify this lever. When you pull the string, you’re disengaging the opening system, which allows you to open your garage door manually. Unfortunately, thieves can access this lever from the outside to give themselves manual entry into your garage. It’s as easy as wedging open the garage door and using a wire hanger to pull the lever. 

You can prevent this from happening. One way is to get a lever that pulls down rather than toward the door. This limits a thief’s ability to pull the lever toward them when they are outside your door. You could also use a zip tie to hold the lever in place and cut it off whenever you need to use it. Another option is to install a shield in front of the lever to limit outside forces from pulling it open. 

9. Keep the Garage Door Closed

Many break-ins are a result of homeowners leaving their garage doors open. During busy mornings, it’s common for people to forget to close the door, which could be a costly mistake.

There are more ways to keep your garage door closed than simply remembering to do so. Some garage door openers have timers that automatically close them after a set time. Even if you drive away without closing the garage door, it will close itself after a programmed time period. With smart garage door openers, you can receive alerts that your garage door is open. As long as you have an internet connection, you can close the door from anywhere with the tap of your screen. 

Keep the Garage Door Closed

10. Unplug Openers When Out of Town

Thieves can often tell when you’re not home. A full mailbox, piles of newspapers, no lights and an empty driveway are all signs of vacancy. You can limit these signs with the help of your neighbors, but you should still take some extra precautions when leaving town. 

Unplug your automatic garage door opener before you hit the road. You can even install a lock or bolt for your garage door rails to keep the door from being opened manually. When everything is in place, exit your garage using a separate door and lock it behind you. All these precautions can ensure your home is safer while you’re away, giving you peace of mind. 

A Modern Garage Door Provides Better Security

Old garage doors can look weak, making them a prime target. Having a modern garage door can make all the difference in keeping an intruder from breaking into your home. New garage doors are secure and strong. They can better withstand break-in attempts with their modern materials, sturdy build quality and unique features. 

At Garage Door Specialists, we offer a broad range of Clopay® garage doors to choose from. For example, the RESERVE® WOOD collection MODERN series garage doors are modern options that incorporate the beauty and strength of wood into their design. If you’re interested in the durability of steel, we offer MODERN STEEL™ collection garage doors to provide even more strength against intruders. 

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You should make sure your garage door opener is up-to-date to get the most security features. We offer a range of garage door openers to suit any need or security preference. You may want to select an opener that includes smart technology, timers and other features for added security. Many modern garage door openers use rolling codes to change the access code each time you press the button on your remote. Features like this make it harder for thieves to break in electronically. 

Protect Your Home With the Help of Garage Door Specialists

If you want to improve the security of your Wheeling, Illinois home, remember to update the security features of your garage. It could be as easy as installing a new garage door and opener with modern safety features. Choose Garage Door Specialists to meet your garage security needs in the Chicago area. We have design consultants who will work with you to make sure your new garage door is both safe and beautiful. You can update your security and raise the value of your home with a new garage door. 

We look forward to helping you secure both your garage and home with a new garage door and opener. Contact us online for more information on how to keep a home secure. You can also request an estimate or request service for your garage door today.

Protect Your Home

How to Release & Reset Your Garage Door’s Emergency Cord

How to Release & Reset Your Garage Door’s Emergency Cord (Video)

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When the power goes out, or there’s a malfunction with your garage door, it can leave you feeling panicked. But, take a deep breath and relax. Disengaging a garage door from the opener is a relatively simple procedure. When you follow these steps, you can do it quickly and safely.

How to Disengage Your Garage Door (Step-by-Step)

  • Step 1: Ensure the Garage Door Is in the Down Position
  • Step 2: Pull the Red Cord Down to Release the Door From the Opener
  • Step 3: Pull the Cord Towards the Interior of Your Garage
  • Step 4: Lift the Door Manually If You Need to Get Your Car Out
  • Step 5: Close the Garage Door 

Knowing how to disengage your garage door is important. Besides preventing tardiness to work, knowing how to open a garage door with no power can literally save your life if you find yourself in an emergency situation. Although we hope that you never encounter such a situation, knowing how to disengage your garage door will go a long way toward keeping you and your family safe if trouble arises.

Sure, some newer garage door openers come with a battery backup, or you can install one yourself, but if your garage door opener is an older model, then you may not have the luxury of a battery backup when it matters most. While we do recommend battery backups wherever possible, a lot of our customers don’t currently have this option.

If you’re elderly or disabled, then installing a battery backup system is more than important — it can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. But, if you don’t fall into one of those categories, and you aren’t in the market for an upgrade, then knowing how to manually open a garage door manually is an important part of homeownership.

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Here’s how to disengage your garage door:

1. Ensure the Garage Door Is in the Down Position

To disengage the garage door opener, your garage door must first be in the down position. Why is this important? If your garage door is stuck in the up position, disengaging the garage door opener will release the trolley — a piece of the opener that moves along with the door when it goes up and down — and it could come crashing down. At the very least, this could damage the door. If someone else is standing under the door when this happens, it could injure them because the lack of power will prevent the motion sensors from working properly.

Wondering how to close your garage door manually? Although it’s possible, if your door is stuck in the open position, it can be dangerous to attempt to close it yourself. The best way to prevent injuries is to let a professional garage door company take over. Call Garage Door Specialists, Inc. to request service.

If your door is already in the down position, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

2. Pull the Red Cord Down to Release the Door From the Opener

What happens when you pull the red string on a garage door? Everyone has seen that cord hanging down and wondered what would happen if they pulled it. Here’s the scoop.

Once you have confirmed that the door is in the down position, locate the red cord hanging from the trolley. It doesn’t matter what brand of garage door opener you have, they all have a red pull cord connected to the trolley. You will most likely need a ladder to access this cord. Take proper safety precautions when using the ladder, and have someone nearby to spot you or steady the ladder.

The red cord is connected to the trolley which is connected to the opener carriage — the part of the garage door opener that moves the door up and down. The opener carriage contains a spring that is deactivated — and later reactivated — by the red pull cord.

To release the garage door opener, pull down on the cord. You will hear a click when the garage door opener disengages. When you hear the click, it means that the trolley has disconnected from the opener carriage, and the garage door should be able to slide along the track without assistance from the opener.

3. Pull the Cord Towards the Interior of Your Garage

Pull the Cord

Once you hear the click, the garage door is disengaged, but you’ll want to check to make sure it disconnected correctly. To do this, pull the cord back toward you and the interior of the home. You’ll be able to see that the spring inside of the opener carriage is elongated. This means that the opener is disengaged, and you can safely operate the door manually. You can also pull the cord toward you and the interior of your home to verify that the spring is, in fact, elongated.

Don’t skip this step — you need to verify that the spring and the opener have disengaged before you can proceed with moving your car out of the garage.

4. Lift the Door Manually If You Need to Get Your Car Out

Once your garage door opener has disengaged, you can step down from the ladder and use the handle on your garage door to lift the door. On some garage doors, this handle is located in the middle of the door. Other doors have this handle on the side.

Once you pull the door up just a little bit, the momentum of the door should carry it up to the track the rest of the way.

If the reason your door was stuck is because of a power outage, then you should be able to lift it safely with no problems. However, if you aren’t sure why your garage door was stuck, then practice extreme caution as you are lifting the door. If the reason it was stuck is due to problems with the spring or other parts of the door, you risk the door crashing back down as you open it. If there is someone in the path of the door, this could cause an injury.

Once the door is up, safely back your car out of the garage and park it in your driveway.

Remember to remove the remote to your garage door opener from your car when you park it. Burglars have been known to break into vehicles and use garage door remotes to gain access to houses. Yes, the garage door opener is currently disengaged, but it’s better to keep the remote with you until you’ve re-engaged the system and safely returned your car to the garage.

5. Close the Garage Door

Once you get your car out of the garage, you can reach up and use the handle to pull the garage door shut again. Then, engage the door’s manual lock to ensure that no one can gain entry to your house through the garage. Garage doors can be a vulnerable spot in your home when it comes to break-ins.

If your garage door isn’t opening because of a power outage, it’s a good idea to leave the door in manual mode for the duration of the outage. That way, you can access your vehicle without the hassle of disengaging and re-engaging your garage door opener each time. Sure, it’s inconvenient, especially if you’re facing blizzard conditions or a downpour, but it’s better than fiddling with your garage door over and over again.

If you suspect that your door isn’t working because of mechanical failure, then leave the opener disengaged until a garage door repair specialist can arrive to assess the situation. When it comes to garage doors, always err on the side of caution. These doors can be heavy and have been known to cause serious injury in cases where they malfunctioned.

How to Re-Engage Your Garage Door (Step-by-Step)

  • Step 1: Return the Garage Door to the Closed Position
  • Step 2: Pull the Red Cord Towards the Garage Door and Listen for a Click
  • Step 3: The Garage Door Is Now Re-Engaged

How to Reengage Garage Door

No one wants to deal with the hassle of manually opening and closing their garage door any longer than necessary. If you’re facing a power outage that lasts for several days or you’re waiting for a repairman to arrive, it’s a good idea to move your car out of the garage and keep it out. That way, you don’t have to deal with raising and lowering the garage door over and over again.

Once the power comes back on, you’ll want to put your car back in the garage and then put the garage door back on automatic mode. So how can you re-engage the garage door?

1. Return the Garage Door to the Closed Position

Before you re-engage the garage door, make sure the door is down. Never attempt to re-engage a garage door if the door is in the open position. If it’s stuck, leave the door where it is and call a garage door repair company to assess the problem.

If you’ve opened it to remove your car, close it before attempting these next steps.

2. Pull the Red Cord Towards the Garage Door and Listen for a Click

To do this, climb back up on the ladder, grab the red handle and pull it toward the garage door and away from the motor. You’ll hear a click, and you’ll see the spring retract back into place. At this point, you can either re-engage the trolley manually or remotely. When you pull the red cord toward the garage door, it’s essential to listen for the “click.” This sound tells you that the spring is no longer extended and the garage door opener is once again engaged. To engage it remotely, press the button on your remote control so that the door will move back into place. To engage it manually, slide the garage door along the track until the trolley re-engages. You’ll know the trolley is re-engaged when the door goes up and down on its own.

3. The Garage Door Is Now Re-Engaged

At this point, your garage door is re-engaged. It’s a good idea to use your remote to test it and make sure it’s functioning correctly. If the door was stuck for any reason other than a power outage, you’ll also want to call a reputable garage door repair company. They can figure out the cause of the problem and prevent it from happening again. If you have reason to believe that a mechanical failure is to blame or you suspect another power outage may happen, wait to move your car back into the garage. Although opening and closing the garage door manually is a relatively simple procedure, it’s not one we recommend doing any more than necessary.

Once your garage door is back to proper working order, you can return your car to its rightful spot inside. Close the door, head back inside and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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Preventing Problems From Occurring

Although you can’t predict a power outage or emergency situation, you can take steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Consider upgrading to a garage door opener with a battery backup feature, such as Liftmaster’s WLED model. Featuring LED corner-to-corner lighting, built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to control your garage door opener from any location and a battery backup, this model is a great way to secure your garage and better protect your home.

Even upgrades aren’t going to guarantee that you won’t encounter an emergency of some kind. When the power goes out, Wi-Fi doesn’t work, and battery backups only last for so long. That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the steps for disengaging your garage door and operating it manually. Knowing how to do this in a pinch will save time and trouble when it counts.

However, there are going to be times when something is wrong with your garage door or opener. Although it may be tempting to repair them yourself, it can be dangerous to attempt to fix a garage door because of the weight of the door. If you suspect a mechanical problem with your garage door or opener, we recommend calling a professional repair specialist who can assess the problem and safely repair it.

Garage Door Opener Repair and Replacement

Garage Door Opener Repair And Replacement

Serving the northern suburbs of Chicago, Garage Door Specialists, Inc. is committed to our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. We stand by our work, and if you aren’t happy, we aren’t happy. Locally owned and operated, our team of experienced professionals aims to provide prompt, high-quality service each and every time. We also offer 24/7 emergency repair for those times when it just can’t wait.

If it’s time for a garage door opener replacement, we’ve got you covered too. We offer a variety of Liftmaster garage door openers, as well as matching entry doors and other accessories. Our garage door openers include WLED, Premium Series 8360W, Elite Series 8500W, and more!

Whether you need a garage door opener repair or replacement, we’re ready to help. Contact us today to schedule service!

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