The safety switches on garage door openers should be checked regularly, especially if there are young children or pets in or near the home.
To check the safety, start by operating the switch to bring the door down. Put your hands under the door and push-up against the bottom edge. The door should offer very little resistance and immediately reverse. If the door continues to close or you have to use a lot of strength before it reverses, the downward pressure is excessive.
The Downward force needs adjustment. There should be a small knob marked down pressure. Turn it in the direction marked “less downward pressure”. Reduce the pressure until such time as the door will not go down with ease, and then increase the pressure until such time as the door can close. This is the minimum amount of pressure, and the safest setting. To get the sensitivity setting correct, it may be necessary to raise and lower the door numerous times.
Some openers have a knob or screw – check the rear of the unit for a threaded bar with a screw driver slot and a nut (often plastic) are visible.
This nut regulates the pressure and adjusting it can change the sensitivity of the opener.
Do not adjust the downward TRAVEL knob – this regulates the where the door stops and not the pressure.
The two small boxes mounted on the bottom of the track on either side of the door are another safety device. They should be mounted 4 to 6″ from the floor and are intended to stop the door closing if a pet or child is on the floor beneath the door.
Note: These photo electric beam safety devices can and should be retrofitted to many older model garage door openers for an added level of safety.
If the opener needs to exert a lot of pressure to get the door to close, the door or its tracks may need adjustment or lubrication.
(do not use regular grease – a special non dripping grease is available from garage door opener supply stores)
J-Bar should be at an angle when the door is closed. If the bar is vertical the top of the door can be pulled back from the frame, this is incorrect. The travel and the J-bar length will need to be adjusted.
NOTE: Setting the safety switch involves opening and closing the door numerous times. If you have one of the older style garage door openers that do not have the new auto reverse safety features, it would be a good idea to have a new opener installed.