Operating your Garage Door in a Power Outage

Let’s be honest here, once you go automatic, you don’t go back. I’d way rather click a button than jump out of my car (likely in the rain), to lift that garage door open after a long day at work.

However, power outages may leave you out in the cold, grumbling at your failed technology. Fret no more – if the power goes out and you are able to access the inside of the garage, there are ways of manually operating it.

Pull a Fake-out on the Trigger. Most garage doors have a bypass switch for situations such as when the power goes out, the remote opener dies, or a motor gets frazzled. On most garage door openers a rope with a handle on the end (usually red) can most often be found. This rope can disengage the trolley from the attachment point to the rail.Warning: Pulling on this rope will put the garage into manual mode so if the door is up, it might come crashing down. BE SAFE: always activate the handle when the garage door is closed.Maintaining Manual ModeThe red rope controls the spring attachment in the trolley. You may have to stay in manual mode if the power is going to be out for a long period of time or the opener motor is malfunctioning. It’s important to pull the rope down & towards the back of the garage (or the motor) so that it doesn’t get caught on the tracks.Getting Back to Normal When Power Returns

Yes! crews have restored power to your home. But wait a second…how do you get the automatic door working again?

To reengage the trolley attachment, simply pull down on the cord but this time towards the garage opening to keep the lever from engaging. Pull up on the door until it snaps into place and you’re back in automatic mode. If that’s too confusing, simply hit the button on the remote opener and the track will force the spring attachment back into place.

LiftMaster Opener


A Word of Caution

Switching between manual and automatic operation is not without it’s risks. Be careful and follow these tips to avoid issues:

  • If possible, only use the release cord when the garage is in the down position. This might not be an option if a power outage occurs when the door is up, but when the handle is released the door will come crashing down.
  • If the door must be disengaged when in the up position, use 2X4′s to prop open the door for safe closing.
  • Clear the area of people and objects when releasing in the up position.
  • Don’t hang from the cord if it doesn’t release. It takes some force to disengage the lever but hanging from it could cause damage to the rope or lever.

If you find there is damage to a cable or the door opens unevenly, make sure to contact a garage door expert. Tension springs and other garage features can be dangerous to work with and doing a DIY project could result in irreversible damage.