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How to Manually Open Garage Door Safely

how to manually open garage door

Interested in learning how to manually open garage door?

Garage doors are essential to many homes, providing convenience, security, and protection for your vehicles and other belongings. However, in the event of a power outage or mechanical failure, you may need to open your garage door manually. Knowing how to do this can save you time, frustration, and potentially even money if you can avoid calling in a professional. 

In this article, you will discover how to manually open garage door, which can be helpful in various situations.

How to Manually Open Garage Door

The specific steps to manually open a garage door may depend on the type of garage door you have, but here are some general steps that may be helpful:

  1. Locate the emergency release cord: This cord should hang from the garage door trolley that moves along the rail. It is usually red and should be easy to spot.
  2. Pull the emergency release cord: Simply pull the cord down and toward the door. This will disengage the door from the automatic garage door opener, so you can manually lift the door.
  3. Lift the door: You can lift it manually once the door is disengaged. You may need to use some force, as garage doors can be heavy.
  4. Hold the door open: It’s important to keep it open once you’ve lifted it manually. Depending on your garage door, you may be able to prop it open with a block of wood or some other object. Be sure to keep your hands and fingers clear of any moving parts.
  5. Reconnect the garage door to the automatic opener: When you’re ready to close the door, simply pull the emergency release cord in the opposite direction to re-engage the door to the automatic opener.

Reasons You Might Need to Open a Garage Door Manually

While garage door openers have made life easier for homeowners, there are various scenarios in which you may need to open your garage door manually. You may need to rely on manual operation, from power outages to mechanical failures, lost remotes, emergency situations, or even moving homes.

Here are seven of the most common reasons you might need to open a garage door manually:

  • Power outage: If your home experiences a power outage, your automatic garage door opener may not work, and you’ll need to open the door manually. This is particularly important if you have an older garage door opener, as modern garage door openers (as of 2018) must have backup batteries according to California law.
  • Mechanical failure: If the garage door opener malfunctions or breaks, you may need to manually open the door until you can repair or replace the opener.
  • Dead batteries: If the batteries in your garage door opener remote die, you may need to open the door until you can replace the batteries manually.
  • Lost or broken remote: If you lose your garage door opener remote or it is damaged, you may need to open it manually until you can get a new remote.
  • Emergency situations: In some emergency situations, such as a fire or other evacuation, you may need to quickly and manually open the garage door to exit the home. This is another reason why, as of 2018, garage door openers must have backup batteries.
  • Maintenance or cleaning: You may need to manually open the garage door to perform maintenance or cleaning tasks, such as lubricating the door or cleaning the tracks.
  • Moving or selling the home: If you’re moving out of your home or selling it, you may need to manually open the garage door if you’ve already disconnected the automatic opener or if it’s been removed.

If your garage door opener does not have a backup battery, consider calling Your Garage Door Guys for information about modern garage door openers.

Related: How to Install Battery Backup for a Garage Door Opener

Safety Concerns to Keep in Mind

Safety should be a top priority when manually opening a garage door to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some safety concerns to keep in mind:

  • Check for obstacles: Before lifting the garage door, ensure there are no people, pets, or objects in the way of the door’s path.
  • Wear gloves: Garage doors can be heavy and pinch or cut your fingers, so wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Lift with your legs: Instead of lifting with your back, use your legs to lift the door, which can help prevent back injuries.
  • Keep your balance: Maintain a stable footing while lifting the door, and avoid leaning or overreaching.
  • Secure the door: Once it is open, secure it with a prop or block of wood to prevent it from falling or closing unexpectedly.
  • Be cautious: When manually operating the door, be cautious of any moving parts, springs, or cables.
  • Don’t override safety features: Avoid overriding safety features or disconnecting safety mechanisms, as these can prevent accidents or injuries.
  • Consider calling for help: If the garage door is too heavy or difficult to lift on your own, consider asking for help from a friend or calling a professional.

By taking the necessary safety precautions, you can minimize the risk of accidents or injuries while manually opening your garage door.

Why You Should Call a Professional First

While manually opening a garage door may seem like a simple task, there are several situations where it’s best to call a professional for assistance. Here are a few reasons why you should consider calling a professional before attempting to open a garage door manually:

Lack of experience: If you’ve never manually opened a garage door before, it’s possible to injure yourself or cause damage to the door if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  • Heavy door: Some garage doors are heavy and difficult to lift, especially for someone not used to lifting heavy objects.
  • Spring tension: Garage doors have springs that provide tension to help lift the door. If the tension is released suddenly, it can cause serious injury.
  • Electrical issues: If the garage door opener is malfunctioning, it may be due to electrical issues that require a professional’s expertise to repair.
  • Warranty concerns: If your garage door is still under warranty, attempting to open it manually may void the warranty.
  • Safety concerns: Safety concerns may be associated with your garage door, such as a faulty emergency release or other safety mechanisms requiring a professional’s attention.

In summary, it’s important to prioritize safety and seek professional help when necessary, especially if you lack experience or encounter any issues with your garage door. Doing so can avoid potential accidents or damage and ensure your garage door operates safely and effectively.

If you need help with your garage door, consider contacting Your Garage Door Guys for help.


Knowing how to open your garage door manually can be a valuable skill for homeowners, especially during power outages, mechanical failures, or other unexpected situations. 

Following the steps outlined in this article and keeping safety in mind, you can manually open your garage door confidently and minimize the risk of accidents or injuries. However, it’s important to remember that some situations may require the expertise of a professional garage door technician. 

Whether you’re moving, dealing with a malfunctioning opener, or just want to prepare for unexpected events, knowing how to open your garage door manually can provide peace of mind and ensure you’re prepared for anything.

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