Garage Door Opener Safety Standards
First let me start off with the “official” description of what meets current garage door opener safety standards. If your garage door opener is older than 1993 then it does not conform to the current federal safety standards and the manufacturers and the government wants it replaced.
Now does that mean that all openers prior to 1993 are illegal or unsafe? No, the legal test for an opener is that it reverses upon contact of a two inch block placed on the floor, if it does reverse then its legal. A few machines prior to 93 also had the safety beams as an option but even without the safety beams many older machines could be deemed safe simply based on the fact that they have been serviced regularly and contain one key item…an RPM sensor, which measures (electronically) the speed of the motor and when the door hits an obstruction the speed slows and the RPM sensor tells the opener to reverse, this reversing system is very reliable and still in use today along with the safety eyes.
The openers that are a problem are the ones without the RPM sensors which rely on a friction type of clutch, now this type of reversing system tends to stick after not having been tested or serviced for extended periods of time, Most times the damage these openers can cause far outweigh the cost of a new updated opener. Now once again….the “official” way to test the reversing safety of your garage door opener is to place a two inch block on the ground and bring the door down onto that block, but if it doesn’t reverse, you now have a damaged door to repair as well. So before doing the “official” test you might want to check it by holding the door from going down by hand first then atleast if its overpowering you can always just let it go, and make adjustments from there.
All openers made after 93 have a third reversing feature…. yes I did say third because most machines already have two, one is the contact reverse, the second is a timer which if the opener doesn’t get all the way down in say between 24 and 29 seconds it will automatically reverse and the third is the safety eyes which is considered a non-contact type of reversing feature, if someone or something breaks the path of the sensors the opener will automatically reverse, these eyes by law should be 4-6 inches off the garage floor.
So with these handy tips you should be able to avoid or at least recognize, any possible future problems with your older or newer garage door opener system. Remember to always keep safety in mind when opening and closing the largest moving item in your house. If you have any questions regarding safety reversing on your garage door opener give us a call. We are located in sunny San Diego.
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