The garage door systems industry recognizes the important safety role played by home inspectors. This checklist intends to help home inspectors maximize the value of their service to homeowners and home buyers.
This checklist covers the most important parts of a basic inspection of a residential sectional garage door connected to an automatic garage door opener. This checklist does not apply to tilt-up one-piece doors.
The garage door is typically the largest moving object in the house, and many of its components are under high tension. Improper installation or maintenance of a garage door can create a hazardous condition that can cause serious injury or even death.
Because of potential dangers involved, all repairs and adjustments must be performed by a trained door systems technician using proper tools and instructions.
A moving door can cause serious injury or death. Keep people clear of the opening while the door is moving.
High spring tension can cause serious injury or death. Do not try to remove, repair or adjust springs or anything to which door spring parts are fastened, such as, wood blocks, steel brackets, cables or other like items.
These inspection steps assume that the door is operable. If the door appears inoperable, a trained door systems technician should be contacted.
This checklist covers the safest procedures that are supported by DASMA. If a home inspector encounters a problematic situation, we urge you to follow our recommendations. In some cases, you may need to use your best judgment on how to proceed safely.
This 10-point inspection can be performed in a few minutes. To conduct the inspection, you should have (1) a tape measure, (2) a flashlight, (3) a 2×4 piece of wood at least six inches long, and if available, (4) a garage door remote control. Depending on the height of the door, (5) a ladder or step stool may also be helpful.
Sectional Garage Door and Electric Operator
Checklist for Home Inspectors and Consumers
1. Manual Release Handle
Begin inside the garage, with the door fully closed. Check for a manual release handle, i.e., a means of manually detaching the door from the door opener. UL 325 requires that the handle (or gripping surface) be colored red and be easily distinguishable from the rest of the opener system. The handle should be easily accessible and no more than six feet above the garage floor. Does the door have a means of manually detaching the door operator?
2. Door Panels
From inside the garage, with the door fully closed, check the condition of the door panels. Are they free of any signs of fatigue, cracking or separation of materials? NOTE: If the answer is no, the door could present a hazardous condition that should be inspected by a trained door systems technician before proceeding with this inspection.
3. Warning Labels
From inside the garage, with the door fully closed, make sure the door system contains the following warning labels: (1) A spring warning label attached to the spring assembly, (2) A general warning label attached to the back of a door panel, (3) A warning label attached to the wall in the vicinity of the wall control button and (4) Two warning labels attached to the door in the vicinity of the bottom corner brackets. [NOTE: Some newer doors have tamper-resistant bottom corner brackets that will not require these warning labels.] Are all these warning labels present?
4. Spring and Hardware Inspection
With the door still in the closed position, visually inspect the springs for damage.
If a spring is broken, operating the door can cause serious injury or death. Do not operate the door until the spring is replaced by a trained door systems technician.
Visually check the doors hinges, brackets and fasteners. If the door has an opener, the door must have an opener reinforcement bracket that is securely attached to the doors top section. The header bracket of the opener rail must be securely attached to the wall or header, using lag bolts or concrete anchors. Are all these hardware parts securely and appropriately attached?
5. Door Operation
Make sure that the door is in the closed position. If the door has an opener, pull the manual release to disconnect the door from the opener. Without straining yourself, manually lift and operate the door by grasping the door in a safe place where your fingers cannot be pinched or injured. If the door is hard to lift, then it is clearly out of balance. This can be an unsafe condition, and maintenance is required.
Raise the door to the fully open position, then close the door. The door should move freely, not open or close more quickly than the force applied, and it should open and close without difficulty. If the door is difficult to open or close, the door should be inspected by a trained door systems technician before proceeding with the inspection. As the door operates, make sure that the rollers stay in the track. If any rollers fall out of the track, the door system should be repaired by a trained door systems technician before you proceed with the inspection.
Does the door move freely, without difficulty, and not open more quickly than force applied? Do the rollers stay in the track during operation? After conducting this check, reconnect the door to the opener, if present. This is generally done by activating the opener until is reconnects itself to the door.
6. Spring Containment
The counterbalance system is usually comprised of torsion springs, mounted above the door header, or extension springs, which are usually found next to the horizontal track. When springs break, containment helps to prevent broken parts from flying dangerously in the garage. Torsion springs are already mounted on a shaft, which inherently provides containment. If the door has extension springs, verify that spring containment is present. Extension springs should be contained by a secure cable that runs through the center of t he springs. Are counterbalance springs and their attachment components restrained by a cable or shaft?
7. Wall-Station Push-Button
Locate the wall-station push -button and measure the vertical distance between the button and the adjacent standing surface. The button should be at least five feet above the standing surface and high enough to be out of reach of small children. Press the push button to see if it successfully operates the door. Does the garage door have at least one working wall-mounted push-button, and are all push-buttons mounted in clear view of the door, safely away from all moving parts and at least five feet above the standing surface?
8. Photoelectric Eyes Location
[Federal law states that residential garage door openers manufactured after 1992 must be equipped with photoelectric eyes or some other safety-reverse feature that meets UL 325 standards.] This check is for doors with openers. Check to see if photoelectric eyes are present. They will typically be found near the floor, mounted to the left and right sides of the bottom door panel. If photoelectric eyes are present, measure the vertical distance between the photo-eye beam and the floor. Is the beam no higher than six inches above the floor, or can it be verified by the door manuf acturer that photoelectric eyes are not necessary?
9. Non-Contact Reversal Test
This check applies to door systems that are equipped with photoelectric eyes. Standing inside the garage, but safely away from the path of the door, use the remote control or wall button to close the door. As the door is closing, wave an object in the path of the photoelectric eye beam.Does the door immediately reverse and return to the fully open position?
10. Contact Reversal Test
[UL 325 requires this test, but in some rare cases, this test has damaged the door system when the openers force-setting has been improperly set or when the opener reinforcement bracket is not securely or appropriately attached to the top section. If you have any concerns that this test may cause damage, a trained door systems technician should check the entire system and conduct the test.] This check applies to doors with openers. Begin this test with the door fully open. Under the center of the door, place a 2×4 piece of wood flat on the floor, in the path of the door. Standing inside the garage, but safely away from the path of the door, use the remote control or wall button to close the door. When the door contacts the wood, does the door automatically reverse direction and return to the fully open position?
Note: Techincal Data Sheets are information tools only and should not be used as substitutes for instructions from individual manufacturers. Always consult with individual manufacturers for specific recommendations for their products and check the applicable local regulations.This Technical Data Sheet was prepared by members of DASMA’s Commercial & Residential Garage Door Division Technical Committee. DASMA is a trade association comprising manufacturers of rolling doors, fire doors, grilles, counter shutters, sheet doors, and related products; upward-acting residential and commercial garage doors; operating devices for garage doors and gates, sensing devices, and electronic remote controls for garage doors and gate operators; as well as companies that manufacture or supply either raw materials or significant components used in the manufacture and installation of the Active Members’ products.
This sheet is reviewed periodically and may be updated. Visit www.dasma.com for the latest version.
DASMA – Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International