How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The garage door is the largest and heaviest moving object in most homes, plus some of its components are under high tension. Improper installation, damage, or poor maintenance creates a dangerous condition that can cause serious injury or even death. So we take garage door inspection seriously. Here’s a summary of the 10 points we check on a garage door during a home inspection:

1) Confirm that the garage door has a manual release handle, and that it is functional.

2) Check the garage door panels for cracks, dents, signs of fatigue, or separation of materials.

3) Confirm that the door has safety warning labels in place.

4) Check that all hardware is securely and correctly attached, no obstruction in the path of the door (such as the attic ladder shown below) and visually inspect the springs for damage. 

5) Verify satisfactory door operation: handles or grip points on the inside and outside of door, door moves freely and is not excessively noisy, and rollers stay in the track throughout the opening and closing.

6) Check that the counterbalance springs have a containment mechanism, such as a center cable or protective shaft.

7) Operate door with wall button, confirming that it is in clear view of the door, at 5-feet above the floor, and safely away from all moving parts. An example of what not to do: the opener shown below is located in the laundry room and garage door not visible when door from laundry to garage is closed.

8) Confirm that the photoelectric safety beam is a maximum of 6-inches above the floor.

9) Test the safety beam (non-contact reversal mechanism), and verify that the door returns to fully open position.

10) Test the contact reversal safety system, and verify that the door returns to fully open position. The mechanism should be set to reverse itself at 10 to 15 lbs. of resistance. 

   The two most common defects we find are: a safety beam set too high, and the contact reversal system set to too high a resistance before it reverses.

   Manually operated and older, tilt-up garage door are evaluated somewhat differently, but with door operation safety as the primary concern. Our inspection sequence is based on Technical Data Sheet #167, issued by DASMA (Door & Access Manufacturers Association International), which is considered an industry standard. You can visit their website for more information at :

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

  To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:

What causes sweating (condensation) on the inside of windows in the winter? 

What is "low-E" window glass? 

What does ANSI 297.1 on glass mean?

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard? 

How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?  

What is an egress window?

Does a home inspector test all the windows and doors in a home? 

How difficult is it to change a window to french doors or a sliding glass door?

How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Why are window security bars dangerous? 

What are the common problems you find inspecting windows?

What is causing a foggy haze on my windows? 

What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean? 

• What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

Why is pressure washing double pane windows an expensive mistake? 

How can I tell if a window or sliding glass door is double or triple pane (insulated) glass?

• Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house? 

• When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

   Visit our DOORS AND WINDOWS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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