Internachi certified professional inspector
Possibly one of the biggest dangers in a home that most homeowners and tenants are unaware of is located in the garage. There are a number of concerns for home inspectors in this area of the home and the most obvious one is the garage door. This is one of, if not the heaviest item in the house and to make matters worse, it is meant to be raised and be suspended overhead.
When it comes to garage doors, I tend to focus on three main issues:
Garage Door Springs
While safety has improved significantly over the years, the simple fact is that torsion springs are always under a significant amount of tension. A spring failure can not only cause significant hand and facial injuries but, given how high these springs are off the ground and how sudden the forces of a broken spring are, can easily knock someone off a ladder. Garage floors are usually made of hard concrete, and falls can be fatal from even a small height.
Defective or Missing Auto-Reverse Sensor
All garage doors need to have an auto-reverse sensor to not only protect children and animals but also against items that are accidently placed under garage doors. Many years ago, I saw the result of someone leaving a heavy object under a garage door without a sensor and the damage to the door was significant and costly. We usually test this by sweeping a small piece of a 2X4 under the door to ensure a closing door immediately reverses.
Particularly on manually operated doors, a handle is of the utmost importance. Without a handle, fingers can easily get into a pinch point when closing a garage door and cause significant injury to that area. While obviously not as dangerous as the first two issues it is still something to be aware of.
It bears repeating that garage doors are heavy, and their springs are under an incredible amount of tension even when at rest. Unless you are trained and experienced, never attempt to do a DIY repair on a garage door or spring and always leave it to the professionals. While an Indiana Jones style slide looks great, it should stay in the movies where it belongs.
Fortunately, garage doors generally don’t need a lot of maintenance: as long as the tracks are kept lubricated and any unusual noises are not ignored, you will enjoy safe travels to and from your home for many years to come.