How to Open Your Garage Door During a Power Outage

manually open the garage door

An unexpected power outage can quickly make everyday tasks inconvenient. If you have an electric garage door opener, a loss of power can cause the opener to malfunction or stop working altogether, leaving you locked into or out of your garage. In the event of a power outage, use the following steps to safely and easily open and close your garage door.

1. Locate Your Garage Door’s Manual Release

Almost all residential garage doors have an emergency bypass that allows you to open and close the door in the absence of power. Most manual release triggers are a rope with a red handle on the end, located near the center rail. If possible, familiarize yourself with your garage door’s manual opening process before you need to use it. If you are confused about the location of your manual release, refer to your garage door opener’s manual or contact a Portland garage door repair professional.

2. Place Your Garage Door in Manual Mode

Once you locate your opener’s release, it is time to put your garage door in manual mode. With your garage door in the down position, give the release lever a strong pull. Many emergency release levers require a good amount of pressure to engage. If door is still difficult to open, lower it back down and give the release cord another solid pull.

3. Lift the Door

With the garage door in manual mode, it is now time to lift it. Use both hands to lift the door all the way up and have a tall piece of wood on hand that will be used to prop the door open. Even if your garage door seems to hold in place when lifted, any vibration could cause the garage door to shift and fall. If your garage door is large, you may need the help of a family member or neighbor to lift it safely.

4. Keep Your Door in Manual Mode

If the power is going to be out for a significant period of time, it’s a good idea to keep your garage door in manual mode. If you are planning to stay in this setting for a while, make sure to pull the release rope down toward the back of your garage so that it does not get caught on the tracks.

5. Reattach Your Garage Door

When power is restored to your home, you will likely want your garage door connected to power as soon as possible. Ensure that your garage door is down and give the release cord a solid pull to reattach it. It is important to make sure your garage door is unlocked when you are reattaching, as your door’s lock bar can potentially cause damage to your opener if engaged. Once your garage door is reattached, go outside your garage and use your opener to confirm that the garage door is connected and operating normally.

Important Tips to Remember:

  • Do not use your garage door’s manual release when the door is open. If your garage door is open when you use the emergency release, there is a chance that the door will come crashing down. If possible, only engage the release cord when your garage door is in the down position.
  • Make sure your garage door is locked. When your automatic garage door opener is disconnected the door is not securely shut unless you slide the manual lock bar.
  • Ensure everyone in your home is familiar with your garage door’s manual feature. In the event of a power outage, you want to be sure that every family member is able to operate your garage door safely in manual mode.

A power outage may be inconvenient, but knowing how to use your garage door manually will ensure that the outage doesn’t slow you down. If power outages are frequent in your area, you may want to consider investing in a garage door opener that has a battery backup. For more garage door repair tips for Portland and Beaverton homeowners, make sure to visit our blog.