Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Don't Get Locked Out Of Your Garage

Check out the photo below.  Can you guess what's missing?  Here's a hint: this garage doesn't have a service door, but it does have a automatic garage door opener installed.

Garage Door 

If you said "pizazz" you would be correct, and you might also make a good home stager, but that's not what I'm talking about today.  This door is missing an emergency release.

If the power went out, the GFCI outlet inside the garage tripped, or the garage door opener failed, the owner would be locked out of this garage.  The fix for this is quite simple - install an emergency release kit.

Emergency Release Kit  

These kits cost about $15, and they take about ten minutes to install, if you really take your sweet time.  This is a very DIY project.  The only tools you'll need are a drill, drill bits, and a wrench.

These emergency release kits are very simple devices - they connect to the pull-cord on the garage door opener, allowing you to disconnect your overhead door from the opener, as shown in the photos below.

Emergency Release In Action  Emergency Release 

When I inspect old houses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul and I find garages without a service door, I always tell my clients to install an emergency release kit.  It could save a lot of hassle in the future.

 

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 13 commentsReuben Saltzman • June 01 2010 06:08AM

Comments

Great info!

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

 Herman Cain quotes

Posted by Barbara Kornegay, Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes (REMAX Essential) about 8 years ago

Reuben, I was not aware of the emergency release kit. Thanks for the great tip.

Posted by Mary Kay Hopkins, e-PRO,GRI,CRS (Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB) about 8 years ago

Great advice. . specially when you arrive home and there is no power . . .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 8 years ago

Thanks Barbara.

Mary Kay - glad to help.

Fernando - my neighbor just had to use hers when her landscaper accidentally took out the power to her garage!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

So thats what that thingy is??? Thanks for the information!!

Posted by Pat O'Reilly (RE/MAX..214-289-6176 Irving and all of Dallas Fort Worth) about 8 years ago

Reuben, great post----I either find the doors without the kit or no one knows where the heck the key is :)  Either way it is a good heads up for the buyer to either get one installed or to find the key----or get one made----or replace the thing.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

I have had people call me at 6am to ask how to get OUT of their garage door!  No power, no opener, what to do?  The outdoor kits are even more rare around here than the indoor red cord...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Pat - as Charles said right after you, now you just need to find the keys.

Jay - How to get OUT of the garage?  You've gotta be kidding me.  That sounds a lot like locking yourself IN your car.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

No Reuben.  There was no power in the neighborhood and the people didn't know to pull the red cord!  That's what I meant by, no power, no opener, what to do?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

I see.  But still... I guess we just take some of this stuff for granted.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Can't say I can recall seeing one of these in a very long time. Good reminder about these gadgets.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

A little investment to save a lot of money in the long run.  Do they still build garages without another entrance?  I would be surprised if that passed fire code.

Posted by Aaron Silverman, Improving Real Estate Experience through Education (SuccessfulRental.com, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC) about 8 years ago

These things are great and definitely saves a lot of hassle.  Thanks Reuben I am going to use for a reblog. 

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) about 8 years ago

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