How to Open Garage Door When Power is Off?

So, your garage door is closed and your car is outside. There’s a problem with the electricity (power outage) and you’re wondering how to open a garage door manually when the power is off?

The answer depends on what type of garage door opener you have, chain drive, belt drive or screw drive. In any case, it’s not as hard as you think if you follow a few important steps.

Be Prepared and in Control

The first step is always to make sure that you are prepared for the situation and ready to open a garage door during a power outage. Is your car’s battery backup fully charged? Do you have a flashlight with spare batteries?

Lastly, it would be wise not to have any electrical devices off until you’re done opening the garage door because even with the manual emergency release handle things can go wrong.

The Procedure with a Screw Drive Opener

If you have a screw drive opener then it’s not that hard to open the garage door when the power is off.

You won’t be needing any tools for this procedure, but you may need to know how your garage opener works before you start. If you don’t, ask someone who knows or search online what are the steps required for your make and model.

Here is an example of how one would undo the trolley lock system on a screw drive type garage door opener:

  1. Release arm/trolley lock, This may be done first in order to move the trolley up or down so that access is gained into where the circuit board which is normally inside the garage door opener motor.
  2. Unplug and take out the circuit board (can be done in a few minutes), This is where you may need to know your make and model of garage door opener or get someone who does. You could do this quickly, but carefully since the wiring inside isn’t protected by insulation as we see on power tools.
  3. Release the trolley lock again to remove the arm from its resting position
  4. Then just manually open your garage door by pulling down on the release cord that you could have already found during step 2 or if there’s no release cord, pull up just enough so that you can push the bottom section of your garage door so that it tilts and falls apart from the upper section of the door.
  5. Use a small screwdriver to pry out the bottom part of your garage door if you have difficulty pushing it down.
  6. Then just lift up and your garage door may be open.

The Procedure with a Chain Drive Opener

If you have a chain drive garage door opener, then there are 2 options, but one is much easier than the other:

  1. Unplug the motor unit from the wall socket and make sure it’s without power (only if your model allows it).
  2. Then proceed to unscrew or undo whatever mechanism is holding the trolley in place (this would be difficult since most models don’t even allow this without tools). It’s best to ask someone who knows about this step before attempting anything else.
  3. Then just manually open your garage door by pulling down on the release cord and/or handle that you could have already found during step 2 or if there’s no release cord then pull up just enough so that you can push the bottom section of your garage door so it tilts and falls apart from the upper section of the door.
  4. Use a small screwdriver to pry out the bottom part of your garage door if you have difficulty pushing it down.
  5. Then just lift up and your garage door may be open.

The Procedure with a Belt Drive Opener

The procedure is almost identical to chain drive, but this time follows these steps:

  1. Unplug or unscrew or undo whatever mechanism is holding the trolley in place (again, this would be difficult since most models don’t even allow this without tools). It’s best to ask someone who knows about this step before attempting anything else.
  2. Then just manually open your garage door by pulling down on the release cord and/or handle that you could have already found during step 2 or if there’s no release cord then pull up just enough so that you can push the bottom section of your garage door so it tilts and falls apart from the upper section of the door.
  3. Use a small screwdriver to pry out the bottom part of your garage door if you have difficulty pushing it down.
  4. Then just lift the door and your garage door may be open.

How do I Open a Garage Door from Outside Without Keys?

You could check with your local garage door repair company and see if it’s possible to get a replacement key made for you. Maybe they can come down and do this for free.

However, finding the right type of replacement key may be difficult or impossible depending on what kind of lock system you have on your garage door. Most likely, unless you are very lucky, you may probably have to replace the entire locking mechanism in order to gain access back into your garage again.

Removing the Motor Unit

This is usually done by removing the motor unit from the wall so that it’s accessible making it easier for them to reformat or cut a new section of the lock bar which would then fit into place when they reattach the motor unit back onto the wall. However, one person’s motor unit is a completely different shape and size from the next, so it can sometimes be difficult to reattach without making a new hole in your wall.

However, just because you have access to the electrical panel, don’t assume that there isn’t any power going through it. In fact, most of these units still have power running through them even when they are unplugged from the wall socket. So, please be cautious.

How do I Break Open my Garage Door?

In most cases, if you have an emergency situation where you need to break into your home or garage then simply breaking a window would be much easier than breaking open a full-sized garage door unless yours is already inoperable for some reason. However, if you really have no other option then using a garage door breaker is the best way to go about this.

opening a garage door when a power is off
Opening a Garage Door When the POwer is Off

How to Lock a Garage Door During a Power Outage?

For homeowners, this is a matter of life or death because you might think that burglars may just gain entry through the front door during a power outage which is very true. The most vulnerable parts of your house are the garage and backdoors so if you want to re-enforce these areas, then do it now. There aren’t any special procedures for locking your garage door during power outages but follow these tips:

Turn on Lights if Possible

Turn on all available light sources inside your home including torches with long-lasting batteries so burglars may see how well protected your house is.

Emergency Battery Backup

Make sure you have an emergency backup lighting system in place like LED lamps installed with motion detectors so every corner of your house may be lit up at night.

Backup Power Generator

If possible, install a backup power generator. If you have a modern house or a new one, then there’s a pretty good chance that it has a standby power system already installed. Otherwise, talk to an electrician about this matter.

Electronic Garage Door Openers

If you have an electronic garage door opener during the power outage, simply open your garage door manually by pushing down on the release cord or emergency release handle of your garage door and then pulling up just enough so that you can push the bottom part of the door once it tilts from being lifted from its top portion. Use your hands to lift up this section and then slide some heavy objects like furniture on top of it if possible. This way, burglars may take longer to gain entry through your garage because they need to pry off the heavy objects from your garage door first.

Wooden Garage Door

In case you have a wooden garage door without any electronic parts whatsoever, then turn on all interior lights inside your home and also open a window shutter a little bit to make burglars think that someone is at home. This may buy you some time until they try to enter through another part of your house or gather more information about how well protected your home is. Burglars don’t usually work during the day so one way for them to check if there’s no one around is by looking at how many windows are opened or closed. If most of them are closed, they might just go away and look for an easier target but if some windows are open with lights turned on inside, then they may most likely try to break in.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind for Safety

As long as you have a release cord, you can open your garage door manually, so the opener isn’t really needed if it’s just a simple or small burglary attempt. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to get in through the garage if they have the proper tools and skills. They can easily dismantle your garage door from its top portion and then gain entry. Professionals know how to cut open a metal garage door without causing too much noise but some people might still hear them hacking away at the metal with their handsaws or grinding it down with some power tools. Make sure everything is properly aligned when closing your garage.

Precautions

Since some parts of the garage doors are heavy for an average person to lift up after they are opened, it is recommended that you use the garage door opener every time you close the garage door to make things easier for yourself in the long run. If you have a very expensive car in your garage, then better take some measures to protect it. This can be done by simply parking another car in front of yours or even better, drive your car out into the driveway when you’re at home. If there’s no release cord or handle or if all else fails and they manage to get inside through your garage, put something heavy on top of the garage door so it won’t come down instantly after they’ve somehow managed to open it.

When the Power Comes Back on

When you’re sure that the power came back on, then open the garage door completely and drive your car inside.

Get Someone to Assist You

If possible, get someone to come over and help you with this process since it can be dangerous if you do everything by yourself. You can also ask them to stay for a while until they make sure that there’s no one around anymore before leaving your home

Remove Debris Carefully

Don’t forget to properly remove all of those heavy objects from the top of your garage doors once the power is restored because otherwise, it might take its toll when you open a garage door. Keep in mind that the metal parts of the door take up more pressure than wood so they can damage easily if left on top of your garage door for too long.

Make Sure Everything is Properly Aligned

It’s also very important to make sure that your garage door opens and closes normally after this event. If it feels like the force of the door pushing against the object on top of it has caused some damage, then better call a professional to take care of whatever needs fixing. They may most likely include this in your home insurance policy so you don’t have to spend a fortune getting the door fixed.

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