How to Open Your Garage Door During a Power Outage


If you are lucky enough to have an automatic garage door, than you know nothing is better in inclement weather. Whether it’s freezing cold and has been snowing all night, or that summer thunderstorm rolled in a few hours ago and hasn’t stopped raining since, the ease of push button operation is something that most of us take for granted. Those same types of storms can also be the cause of a major issue when you are trying to get somewhere. Power outages are common place in bad weather, and with no power that great automatic garage door opener doesn’t work so well. So let’s look at how to open your garage door manually, to help get you out of this situation.

garage door power outage tips
Wondering what to do when you need to leave and the power is out? Here are some tips for using the garage door when the electricity is out

Utilize the Release Handle:

Nearly all automatic garage door openers out there have a latch that will allow you to operate your garage door manually. That red cord that dangles from your ceiling is exactly what this is. To use this handle you must first ensure that your garage door is shut, as activating it with the door open will cause it to come slamming down. With the door shut simply pull on this handle to disengage the opener motor and put your garage door into manual mode. (If your door is up when the power goes out, you are still able to use the release cord. Be very careful if this is your only option, and ensure that all people and obstacles are out of the way before doing this.)

Keeping Your Door in Manual Mode:

Sometimes you know the power is going to be out for a while, or maybe your doors motor is acting up. It is likely that you will have to come and go a few times during that period. You know how to put the door in manual mode to get it open once, but after you open it, it’s going to lock back onto the track and want to use the motor again. To keep your door in manual mode, simply pull down on the red handle and pull backwards, towards the back of the garage. Doing this will lock the release mechanism into an open position and allow you to manually open and close your garage door at will.

Getting Back Into Automatic Mode:

Eventually your power is going to come back on, and you are going to want to get back to normal operations with your garage door. To put your garage door back into its normal, convenient automatic mode it very simple. Pull down on the red handle again, but this time you are going to pull down and forward, towards the front of the garage. Doing this is going to allow the locking mechanism that attaches to the door to lock back into place. Once you have done this, simply open your garage door one more time. As you open it that mechanism is going to latch back into place and your garage door should operate just as it did before the power outage.

Things to Keep in Mind:

If you do have to put your garage door into its manual mode while it is open, as mentioned above, ensure the door is clear of any people, pets or other obstacles. A couple 2×4’s propped on the bottom of the door to help hold it in place while you disengage the latch. Using your doors manual mode could identify some issues. Once you have activated your doors manual mode, if opening the door seems unusually hard there might be an unseen issue that needs to be resolved. Misaligned door tracks or weak, worn out broken springs can cause the door to be much harder to open than it should be. If this is the case, contact Baker Door Company and schedule a time for one of their friendly technicians to come out and assess your equipment and answer any questions you may have about the proper operation of your garage door.

What If I Am Outside:

Not everyone has an access door into their garage, and they have to rely on the main door to gain access to the garage. If this is the case and the power has just gone out, you can still get in. Place a shim or something thin in the top of the garage door in the weather stripping. Find a metal coat hanger and straighten it out, insert the hanger through the area you just shimmed, and use the hanger to flip the release lever. This can be a positive or negative, however, it could pose a possible security risk. Consult with your installer or contact a maintenance technician for more information about your options in this situation.

This article has been submitted by the team at Baker Door Company  which is a garage door specialist for residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial applications, proudly serving the York, Harrisburg & Mechanicsburg communities since 1960.

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  1. It’s hard to know when the power is going to go out, but it’s a huge pain if you need your car during that time. Thanks for explaining how to open the garage door. Last time the power went out, we ended up damaging the door trying to open it. I think we forgot to flip the release switch. Whatever we did wrong, we won’t make that mistake again.

  2. With a garage door opener you shall enjoy the same level of ease and convenience to operate your garage door that you enjoy while operating your television. Yes, you can operate your garage door with a single tap of finger on garage door control buttons,or staying away from your garage,even sitting in your car, through the remote control access.


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