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Garage Door Safety — Important Tips From CREIA

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September 2002 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) cautions homebuyers and home sellers to make sure they follow proper safety requirements in the ownership, maintenance and operation of automatic garage doors.

Automatic reverse for garage door openers is a vital life saving function, routinely checked in the course of a professional home inspection. A professional, qualified home inspector will test the garage opener and include appropriate findings in the inspection report. Should an opener fail to reverse, it is the responsibility of the inspector to identify the problem and to advise further evaluation and repair by an experienced and qualified technician. 

When a door opener's safety reverse function fails to operate, the problem may be improper adjustment, or it may be something more serious and costly. With some openers, auto-reverse mechanisms may need replacement, not merely readjustment. With older door openers, many were never designed with automatic safety reverse. With these outdated fixtures, replacement of the entire unit is the safest recommendation.

Your garage door should be balanced so that it will stay in place when stopped in any partially opened position. Otherwise, the door could unexpectedly crash to the floor causing injury. It is recommended that garage door operation be checked every 30 days to make sure it is properly functioning, that the fittings are secure and the door in on track. If any problem is discovered, disconnect the automatic opener as specified in the owner’s manual until repair is complete.

Remember to have the wall switch in the garage installed as high as possible from the reach of small children. Likewise, keep the remote control from a child’s access. 

With any technical defect, whether the problem involves a garage door opener or components of the plumbing, heating, electrical, or other building systems, repairs should only be made to an expert. Qualified experts are the only safe and reliable avenues to conscientious evaluation and repair of your home. The primary scope and purpose of a professional, quality home inspection is to provide diagnosis and to recommend subsequent evaluation and repairs by such appropriate specialists.

The real estate safety bulletin is brought to you by the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA). Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities. 

CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, click here.


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