Garage Safety

How safe is your garage? Does it comply with the new California Law SB969 GARAGE DOOR BACKUP BATTERIES that started 7/1/2019? 

Here’s what the law states: Click here to see the new law California Legislator Bill SB-969 Automatic Garage Door Safety

“Existing law requires an automatic garage door opener that is manufactured for sale, purchased, sold, offered for sale, or installed in a residence to comply with specified safety requirements, including that the automatic garage door opener have an automatic reverse safety device.”

“This bill, beginning July 1, 2019, would also require an automatic garage door opener that is manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, or installed in a residence to have a battery backup function that is designed to operate when activated because of an electrical outage. The bill would make a violation of those provisions subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. The bill would, on and after July 1, 2019, prohibit a replacement residential garage door from being installed in a manner that connects the door to an existing garage door opener that does not meet the requirements of these provisions.”

Cost to fix: 

This is not an expensive fix if your garage opener has the option for a backup battery.

(cost $20-$200 check with manufacturer) 

Back up batteries for garage door openers are small, 12-volt battery units that the opener can use for power in case of a power outage. These batteries will typically recharge when plugged in but may need to be replaced every 3 years or so. This                    back up battery will potentially be able to open the garage up to 10-15 times (see manufacturer’s directions) 

If you have an older model garage door without capacity for back up battery a new opener will need to be installed: (Cost: $150-$500) 

The purpose of the new law: 

              According to the author and law backers the Law was enacted to save lives. during the wildfires that ravished California in 2017-2019 there were more that 5 people who died because they could not get out of their garage. The garage door openers                  would not open due to no power. Thus a backup battery installed would have allowed the garage to open in such a case of power outage. 

What else can save your life in the case of an emergency!  Please review with your families, friends and clients: 

              In the event of a power outage, automatic garage doors have a release mechanism, such as a turning key or pulling a cord from the door that allows the door to opened manually. However, garage doors can be very heavy, and difficult to open                          manually, especially for elderly and disabled, or young people. 

Other Garage Safety Items

If the Garage is an ‘attached’ garage, then the Garage will have a door connecting directly to your home. But if it is a ‘detached’ Garage, then the Garage will only have doors that go outside, and will not have any doors that connect directly to your home.

  1. The “pedestrian door” Should have a “self-closing” mechanism on the hinge of the door. This is a safety item to keep unwanted/ unhealthy vehicle fumes from entering the living space. This is also considered part of the “Fire Wall” in case of a fire. This is also one of the most common problems we see. This “self-closing” mechanism is either broken or missing. We recommend checking doors for this to keep your family safe.
  2. The Vehicle door should have “auto-reverse sensors” that will raise the door when closing if someone or something is in the way when closing. To keep you family safe make sure this is working. Sometimes the sensors may need to be cleaned or adjusted to work properly. Sensors should be installed 4-6” up from the garage floor.

Since your garage has cars driving in and out, it will accumulate significant amounts of dirt and dust, which can easily be tracked into your home.

Maintenance: (yearly)

  1. Check “self-closing: device on Pedestrian door
  2. Check and clean/adjust vehicle door sensors
  3. Lack of lubrication puts additional strain on the garage door leading to premature failure.
  4. For attached garages, poor weather-stripping or leaky windows cause heat losses which increase energy costs.

Make sure to pass these safety items onto your clients to keep their family safe!

If you have questions or need further suggestions please give our office a call.

Mark Harman & Spencer Harman

Your California Central Valley Home Inspectors

Mark Harman & Spencer Harman