Imagine this — you’re running late to work one morning. You race out to the garage, coffee in one hand and briefcase in the other. In spite of everything in your hands, you manage to reach up and press your garage door opener.
You try again.
At this point, panic sets in. You’re already late, and now you have no idea how you’re going to get your vehicle out of the garage and onto the street. You need to figure out how to disengage your garage door opener, but you’ve never had to do it before.
Or, perhaps there’s an electrical storm overnight that leaves you with no power, but you still have to get to work the next morning.
Either of these scenarios sound familiar?
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 WELD 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
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 accessories. Our experienced sales team can help you choose just the right model for your garage door.
Whether you need a garage door opener repair or replacement, we’re ready to help. Contact us today to schedule service!