There is an easy thing to say about an automatic garage door
opener. When the power is out, it will not work. By automating our garage doors, we have simplified our lives in many ways and we have the ability to keep our vehicles safe and warm with the mere push of a button.
A garage really came out of the idea of a horse barn. When people began replacing their horses with vehicles, they moved those vehicles into the stables where the horse used to be and they needed to. Those early cars were open air models and very susceptible to the whims of nature. Later, cars became enclosed, but the garage remained a fixture and people closed the barn door on them, like they did with the horses.
As the population moved first to the cities and then the suburbs, keeping a vehicle safe from thieves became an issue. Then the standard became a house with a-car garage, and to make it easier to use, the electric garage door opener became a sought-after luxury item, and then a standard feature.
And when the power goes out, the garage door opener will not work, and you can't get your car in or out of the garage.
What to Do When the Power Goes Out
Of course, there is a manual override system set up on most garage door openers to let you use your garage when the power goes out. In these systems, most of the power to raise and lower the door comes from the torsion springs which work as a counterweight system, applying pressure equal to the weight of the door. The electric motor is merely there to start the process up and down and to keep the door moving in the right direction.
In the case of a power outage, the door can be disconnected from the motor assembly, usually at the end of the chain. There is an emergency release at the end of the mechanism which can be released with a pull. Once released, the door can be raised and lowered manually. It takes a little pressure to do it, but your car is not stuck eternally in your garage.
Battery Backup: Do I Need One?
It is possible to get a battery backup for your automatic garage door. What this will do is, once the power is off, it will kick in and allow your garage to open and close using the power remote.
Do you need one? It depends. There are some situations where it would be very beneficial to have a battery backup. It would always be convenient, but it would be essential if you lived in an area where you had frequent power outages and you ran an emergency vehicle or had to be able to come and go quickly. You might also need it if lifting and lowering a garage door was beyond your physical capabilities. Or you might need it if your garage door was set up to be lifted higher than you could physically lift. If any of these situations apply, you may well want to have a battery backup for your garage door.
Garage door openers with battery backup are usually slightly more expensive than a normal garage door opener, about $100 orso more in price. However if your home is prone to power outages then that cost will be well worth it when you are not stuck in the driveway!
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