Getting the Garage Door Open When You Have No Power at Home

Some places get lots of power outages. Others only have this issue on occasion. Regardless, we've all gone through it at one point or another. The lightning, thunder, and rain can be a precursor to a sticky situation. It can send you scrambling to find candles and flashlights in a matter of seconds.

However, there are other issues related to having no power, and one of them relates to your garage door. If there is no power, how do you open it?

Houses with garage doors. Thunder and strike storm

It might seem like no big deal to have a garage door you can't open or close. But you should think about that a bit more. Maybe you have an outage when you need to run to work. How are you going to do that? If a family member has a medical emergency, you need the garage door to work correctly – and fast!

The same events that happen any other time can occur when you have no power. As much as you might hope everything goes smoothly, that isn't something you can count on. For those of you who have electric garage door openers, that means you need to be prepared. You should know how to close and open the door both from inside and outside your home. It could make the difference between a minor problem and an emergency sometime down the road.

Don't worry! There are solutions!

Wondering why the door refuses to open when the power is out? It's because the automatic opener needs a connection to electricity. Without power, you don't have that.

Steps for preparation

Ready to go? Keep a few things in mind. First, get all others out of the garage. The curious kids and pets should be somewhere else so you can work.

Stay safe

It's important to know that the springs on a garage door have tons of pressure on them. This can lead to injury and damage if you aren't careful. Take things slow and don't do anything dangerous.

Remove power from the opener

Funny picture: Someone who seemed to have received an electrical shock

Sure, you're dealing with a power outage. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions. You might be hurrying and ready to speed out the door once you can do so. But if you don't bother turning off the power on the opener, what happens if the power comes back on while you work? The answer is not a pretty one. You could end up with a component banging into you or – even worse – be electrocuted. So, make sure to complete this step for your own safety.

Get a little light

Since there's no power, the garage might be dark and creepy. Cut that issue off at the head with a LED headlamp or a flashlight so you can see what's going on around you. The former will keep your hands free, too!

A picture of Brightest Headlamp, Super Bright 18000 Lumen 6 LED Work Headlight With Red Warning Lihgt 8 Modes Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight

Here's a tip: Keep a headlamp in an easily accessible spot in the garage at all times. This ensures you know where to go to get started with finding a solution to your problem.

The next time you need the garage opened immediately, going through all the shelves, hustling up and down stairs, and trying to see things around you in a cluttered home will be a thing of the past. You'll avoid wasting any precious time if you find yourself in an emergency situation. It won't just help you open the garage door; it can prevent you from a whole lot of panic.

Consumer Reports has great tips to add to this one. For example, you can learn the best way to handle spending time at home if the power goes out and stays that way for a prolonged amount of time.

The Process of Opening the Garage Door from Inside

#1 – First, the garage door should be in a closed position.

This might seem obvious to you. You're thinking, "Of course the garage door is closed. That's why I need to get it open!"

Image of closed garage door from the inside

Removing the opener from the garage door if it's open is not recommended. It's highly dangerous!

In a situation where your garage door won't open and there are no power outages to worry about, consider this: It's often based on the fact that the door isn't balanced correctly or a spring is broken.

If you remove the door opener anyway, the entire garage door could come crashing down on you.

So yes, it might seem obvious that the door is closed. But we do not want to take any chances with your health and safety. So, if the garage door is open and refuses to close, the best option is to contact garage door specialists immediately.

Want another essential tip that might not seem that way at first?

Unless there is no other option, avoid going into manual mode.

Take a few breaths and relax to see what comes next. Then, decide whether you have additional options.

Keep in mind the outage may last a short time. It may not even last long enough for you to follow the entire process we outline below.

Is there an alternate vehicle you can take? Can you handle your task later in the day? If so, it's likely not crucial to disconnect the garage door opener. It could end up being a waste of time that you wish you hadn't spent effort on. If the power immediately pops back on, you'll have additional work to do. This isn't anyone's idea of a good time. There's a chance of making a mistake in the disconnection process, as well as the second process to reconnect things.

#2 – Next, find that bypass handle.

Assuming your garage door opener isn't extremely dated, you should see a rope hanging near a rail that goes from the door to the opener. We aren't talking about the garage door tracks but the rails for the opener itself.

This might seem like something else that makes you roll your eyes because it seems so clear. However, sometimes the mind and body act differently than usual in stressful situations. For example, the rope and the bypass handle tend to be right by the garage door if closed.

Image of a garage door opener bypass release handle

This handle is often red because, you know, emergency, and it is your garage door opener emergency release handle.

#3 – Give a good yank to the release cord for emergencies.

The garage door trolley connects to the opener motor and the door itself. Therefore, the trolley will move whenever you electronically open or close the door. The purpose of the yank on the emergency cord is to ensure the trolley operator is turned off and not moving the door.

One of our garage door installer testing the emergency release cord

When the trolley is disconnected, take the time to slide it back an inch or so away from the door.

#4 – Check out the garage door lifting handle and pull up on it.

There's a small handle on the garage door, usually on the bottom panel or a panel near that one.

For those who have a well-balanced spring system on the door, it's nearly effortless to pull up the garage door and only using a single hand! This applies whether you have a 9 x 7-foot single door or a double garage door, which can be around 16 x 7 feet.

Trouble lifting the door? Notice it seems heavy? Stop trying to move the handle! This could indicate a significant issue beyond the scope of this article.

Let the garage door come to a close and move away from it. Nobody else should come into the space, not human or animal, until you have either had the door repaired, had it checked, or undergone maintenance.

Get in touch with garage door technicians nearby as soon as you can!

When this issue occurs, it's often based on a damaged spring. This can occur more often than you expect. Springs may need to be replaced as often as once every five to seven years.

There's a preconceived notion that garage door openers are actually powering the door to pull it up. That isn't true, though. The springs are what handles all the door lifting. If you think we're going overboard with caution, keep reading to understand why that isn't the case.

Think about physics

Let's say the door itself weighs about 250 pounds. That means those springs need enough power to pull up a door of that weight in only a few seconds. If you think about it, that's a massive amount of power. The torsion springs are feeling that level of pressure regularly. It's enough to cause some serious repercussions over time.

And standard functioning

Having issues with how the garage door springs work? This means that you or the door opener are taking all the pressure and weight inside. The issue is that the opener can't handle that without the help of the springs. It isn't made to process all of this weight on its own.

#5 – Put the garage door opener back in place.

If the previous step went off without a hitch, it's time to move forward.

At some point, you'll have electricity again and want to make sure the garage door and opener are connected again. But don't sweat it. This process is more straightforward than you might expect. It only has three steps:

  1. Be absolutely sure that the door is already closed.
  2. Tug on the release handle for the door opener using a stick or broom handle.
  3. Lift up on the door until it makes a sound or sensation of reconnection.

To bring the opener and trolley together, run the trolley once to the top and again to the bottom. When the carriage meets the trolley, a clicking noise will be made. This indicates the connection is there, and you can go back to opening and closing the door electronically.

Manually Opening a Garage Door When You're Outdoors

For those with an access door, use that. If you don't, you'll want to consider investing in an outside quick release.

Picture of an Outside quick release 1702LM

Without one of these things, you're in a tough spot. There's a single way out and in the garage, which can be highly dangerous if a fire happens. It also tends to be highly impractical.

  1. Find the quick release outside and push the key into the socket.
  2. Turn the key while pulling the tumbler out of the lock. This engages a release component found on the carriage of the door opener.
  3. Keep working to open the door by hand until it refuses to budge.
  4. Pull your vehicle inside and manually pull the garage door down.
  5. Now re-engage the release by pressing on the lever with the item you used earlier. Another option is pulling the cord toward the ceiling and the door or motor. Stop when a click is heard.
  6. Scope out an additional way to enter the home before leaving your garage.

Prefer a simpler solution?

Leave or enter the garage door any time you want, whether you have power or not!

The number of steps we've shared might seem overwhelming. Maybe you've been thinking that your garage door opener is getting long in the tooth and never adequately maintained. You might be considering the option of installing a new one.

Picture of an included battery backup 485LM

Put yourself into the future and make life a whole lot easier by choosing a door opener that includes a battery backup. No matter what happens, you'll be ready for it!

Upgrading your garage door opener could be a great solution. There are many models to choose from, so you can prioritize the functions and components that matter most.

Do you like to save time? Spend a lot of time on your smartphone? Want to operate your garage from any place on the globe? This is a pretty good indication that a modern LiftMaster door opener is the right solution for your home.

LiftMaster by Chamberlain has been making tremendous advances and innovations in door opener devices. One of the most impressive is connecting them to wireless Internet. The use of myQ is possible with most items from LiftMaster, which lets you use a tablet, laptop, or smartphone to keep your garage door in the exact right state at all times.

What you can see on your smart phone when you have an integrated camera on your garage door opener

What you can see on your smartphone when you have an integrated camera on your garage door opener.

Want an example? LiftMaster 87504-267 has an impressive integrated camera with dual-way audio. That means you can listen in to the garage, talk to people inside, or otherwise keep an eye on the space. But that isn't the only benefit of this model. It's also whisper-quiet, which is a massive benefit if you have living spaces nearby.

Not sure that you need to go to the extremes of adding a camera to the garage? That might mean that the LiftMaster 87802 garage opener could be the correct answer to your problems!

An image of a MyQ alert sent on a smart phone

Here is an example of the alert you would receive on your smartphone.

This model has myQ for operating and monitoring things from a phone with alerts and notifications. It also has that super handy battery backup for when you need it most.

Dealing with a Cathedral ceiling? Have a ceiling that hangs low? Is something in the way of the ceiling, or would you like to store things up near it?

A picture of a wall-mounted LiftMaster 8500W with included side lock 841LM and LED light 827LM

That's no problem; the LiftMaster 8500W is mounted on the wall and meets all your needs. It gives you a vast overhead space due to the unique position. It can go on either of the walls next to your garage door.

On top of that, it uses the myQ app and has Wi-Fi and a lock and battery backup. It's like a dream come true!

Ready to choose the ultimate garage door opener?

Reach out to a garage opener technician from The Door Company by calling 613-821-2130.

We know garage doors and can help you out. Already have a Chamberlain or LiftMaster opener and want to add battery backup? We can do it in no time!

If you want a completely new opener that is quiet and high-tech, we can also help. We'll give you a free email quotation. We also offer a checkup service for openers and doors.

Want to go wild with a new garage door?

These garage doors are Princeton P 12, in 9'x7' size, doors and overlays in Ice White Color, 8 lite Panoramic windows. Perfect for the farmhouse and the modern farmhouse styles!

Love this look? These garage doors are Princeton P‑12, in 9' x 7' size, doors, and overlays in Ice White, 8 lite Panoramic windows. Perfect for farmhouse and modern farmhouse styles!

Use our 3 Styles to select a perfect garage door. Check out the photo album for inspiration. Our Design Centre also lets you create digital garage doors. Change things out until you find the right solution for your needs. You can upload a photo to see it right on the home!

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