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How To Open Garage Door Manually

Manually Lifting A Garage Door

For 99% of us 99% of the time we hit a button and the garage door goes up, we hit it again and the door goes down. This is all thanks to technology, and even more basic than that, electricity. Let’s face it, we live pretty good lifes and take most things like this for granted. It is because of this that when the power goes out and we need to go somewhere a lot of us do not know how to open the garage door manually. No need to worry, we will take care of that now.


So the power is out, whether it was a storm or an unfortunate accident. It doesn’t matter, life doesn’t stop. You can’t just sit at home and wait around to be able to hit the button again.  Now, if you have a battery back-up inside of your garage door opener this will not be a problem for you unless the power is out for days on end. Matter of fact, in California where they have wildfires every year, all new garage door openers being installed must have a battery back-up and this is because people did not know how to manually open their garage doors and power was out and they needed to evacuate. Sadly enough people died this way that it is now mandatory by law. Anyway how to open it manually, 


In most cases this is a very simple process that varies a little bit based on what brand opener you have but the concept is pretty simple. So every garage door opener should have a red cord with a plastic handle on it. This is called the emergency release. On most doors you just need to pull this handle down and it should disconnect from the opener. Now most people think just keep pulling on the cord to lift the door. It does not work that way. Just pulling the cord releases the door from the motor.


Once the door has been released from the motor you can lift it by hand. Just grab a hold of the door by a lift handle or any part of the door you can easily grip and lift up. The door should raise easily. If it does not there could be a couple reasons why.

Door won’t lift after pulling the release? First make sure the door is actually disengaged from the motor. The way you can tell varies from brand to brand. 

For example on a:

LiftMaster garage door opener-  

There is a spring on the lever the emergency release is connected to. If the spring is compressed it is still connected. If the spring is extended it will not lock into place and you can raise the door manually. To get the spring to lock into the extended position when you pull down on the emergency release and pull back slightly.

Chamberlain and Linear Openers –  

Your emergency release cord is attached to a black plastic lever. You will know that you have successfully disengaged the opener when the lever is pointing down to the floor.

Genie or (overhead brand) Openers –  

Genie has made so many different designs for rails and trolleys that this could be the trickiest one, the concept is the same though. All the cords attach to a lever of some kind and that lever needs to be pulled to a new position, the major difference with genie is that some models you will need to kind of pull down and towards the door. 

That covers it, remember, if the door is too heavy to lift easily after pulling the emergency release you springs need attention and you should call a professional. 

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