Make sure your home and your garage door are as safe as possible for yourself, your children and for anyone else who visits your home. Garage doors are the biggest moving appliance in your house. They’re also the largest point of entry and an often overlooked area of home security. While we take the operation of our garages and garage doors for granted, there are easy things each of us can do to increase garage door safety and security.
Garage Door Safety Tips
Here’s a look at how you can improve garage door safety for your home:
1. Put Things Away
It’s tempting to leave things sitting out when you’re in the middle of projects — especially things like power tools. But to keep your garage as safe as possible, everything must have its place, and power tools and other electronics should be unplugged and put away each day. This measure can protect your garage by making it harder to tell if your garage has any items of value stored there.
It can also make your garage safer for everyday use. By storing power tools safely, you can protect others from getting hurt. Children and inexperienced adults will be unable to tamper with dangerous or sharp power tools. You’ll also be less likely to trip over wires or a messy work station.
2. Childproof the Garage
Make sure your garage is a safe place for children by childproofing it. This process includes using locks on cabinets and drawers that store dangerous materials, placing ladders horizontally rather than vertically, locking car doors and using electric plug covers. If you don’t have cabinets or drawers, pegboards can be useful in trying to keep dangerous items out of the reach of young hands.
Here are some other things you can do to childproof the garage:
- Bar entry to any area where a child could crawl in and hide. Places you may need to look at include washing machines, dryers, freezers, refrigerators, cabinets and recycling and garbage bins.
- Install your garage door opener button out of reach of small children.
- Secure your workout gear or other heavy sports equipment.
- Keep small items such as nuts and bolts out of reach, so kids cannot swallow them or use them as toys.
3. Prevent Fires
Be sure to store combustible materials somewhere besides the garage. These materials could include pesticides, gasoline, paint thinner, fertilizer and similar items. These flammable materials are best stored in an area with better ventilation. Given the closed nature of a garage and the temperature volatility, it’s best to avoid storing flammable materials in it.
Standard safety procedures state that you should not store flammable liquids on high shelves or in direct sunlight. It’s best to keep these items in their original containers. They are best stored close to the floor, so keep all containers sealed and out of reach of children and pets.
4. Avoid Carbon Monoxide
Nobody means to let carbon monoxide build up inside a garage, but it can happen without you noticing. Vehicle fumes build up, and other fuel-burning equipment can accidentally engage. Install carbon monoxide detectors and alarms at every level of your home near sleeping areas, so you and your family can be warned if there’s any sort of build-up of this odorless, colorless gas.
5. Inspect Your Garage Door
For safety’s sake, your garage door must operate at its peak potential. Inspect your garage door regularly for loose hinges and hardware, dust and dirt build-up in the tracks and other areas, wear and tear on springs and pulleys, as well as fraying on the cables. Any of these signs might make your garage door less safe for use.
6. Test Safety Features
By law, your garage door is required to include many safety features that prevent people and objects from being crushed under its weight. These safety features include the photo eyes that shine a beam across the door’s threshold as well as the reversing mechanism that should trigger if your door encounters a person or object before reaching the threshold. Test these safety features to make sure they’re working properly when you need them.
You can test the auto-reverse feature by placing a block of wood beneath your garage door and then closing it. The door should stop and change directions once it makes contact with the object. Test the photo eyes by operating the garage door and then waving a broom in its path. Just like with the block of wood, the sensors should notice something got in the way, and make the door go back up.
Garage Door Security Tips
Garages are often prime targets for burglars. Many people leave their garage door open throughout the day when they are home or forget to close it when they leave. Even when doors are closed, your garage may be vulnerable. Luckily, there are many easy things you can do to improve garage door security. Here’s how you can keep your garage secure:
1. Use Storage
Shelving is great for some items, but it’s best to have cabinets and drawers for sensitive, expensive or powered materials. Using storage will help extend the life and usefulness of tools, chemicals and other items — plus, it will help increase the safety factor in your garage.
Keeping items under lock and key can add another layer of protection and deter theft. Many workbenches and power tool storage cabinets are outfitted with locks. It’s best to lock up expensive items of any kind. Power tools are a prime target for theft, as are bikes. It’s also helpful to keep car doors locked even when the garage is closed, and not to leave valuables in the car.
2. Cover Windows
Burglars often scope out your home before they decide to break in. If they can look into your garage’s windows and see power tools or other valuables, it can make your home a good target for theft. An excellent way to protect your garage is to use blinds or frosted window clings, so people can’t see what’s inside.
3. Close the Garage Door and Lock the Entry Doors
Garage doors can be vulnerable entry points for burglars and trespassers. One of the simplest ways to secure your garage door is to remember to close it. Make sure to close your garage door when you leave the house, and even when you’re home — it’s not difficult for a passerby to even lift something from inside your garage when you’re in the house. Also, make sure to lock the entry door inside your garage. While a good garage door should provide a strong barrier, it’s best to remain as safe as possible by locking this entry door — especially at night.
Another common weak point in home security is the service door to the garage. A hollow door can be easily kicked in, giving easy access to your garage. If you leave your entry door unlocked, this can also provide access to your home. It’s best to treat your garage service door as you would your front door, outfitting it with a sturdy solid core door and a deadbolt. A poor quality garage door can be kicked in or pried apart just as quickly. So, for the best home security, a well-made garage door is a good investment.
4. Keep Opener and Remotes Secure
Don’t let strangers or children handle your garage door opener remotes, and make sure the garage door opener mounted on the wall is out of reach of children. Your garage door opener and its codes are like a key to your home, so the opener and its information must stay in your hands.
It can be a good idea to get a key chain garage door opener rather than one you keep on your sun visor. This way, you take your opener with you wherever you go, and know it’s out of reach for others.
5. Set the Security Switch
Most garage door openers have a safety switch that disengages operation. Use this switch when you’re away for extended periods on vacation to secure your garage when you’re away from your home. This switch is in place to provide further protection when you need it — make sure you take advantage.
6. Protect Your Emergency Cord
Your garage door opener has an emergency release cord. It’s there so you can pull it to open your garage from the inside during a power outage. When your garage door is closed, this cord hangs right next to the overhead frame of your garage door. Many burglars know how to grab this cord using a coat hanger, giving them access to your garage.
You can secure your garage from thieves by attaching a small zip tie to the release lever attached to this cord. A small zip tie will secure it enough, so a coat hanger can’t tug it, and you’ll still be able to access the lever.
Secure Your Home With Quality Overhead Door
At Quality Overhead Door, we are the garage door experts in Toledo and throughout Northeast Ohio and Southeast Michigan. When you want to enhance your garage door and its security, we’re only a phone call away. We are an authorized dealer of Clopay® garage doors and can outfit your home with a durable garage door that can improve your garage door security. As an authorized dealer of Liftmaster®, we can provide enhanced security features. A new garage door opener can send you smartphone alerts when your door opens.
Contact us today about your garage door security.