If your garage is operated by an electric motor, then you may wonder what happens when there’s a power-supply failure. How does the door open? And is the garage still secure? These are understandable concerns, particularly for those who are used to a manual opening mechanism.
Putting the control in the hands of a machine is always a little daunting at first, but fear not – electric garage motors are designed with safeguards in place and we can offer extra emergency release capabilities if your garage is only accessible through the garage door (i.e. if you don’t have an internal door leading into your garage or if your garage door doesn’t have a pedestrian entrance incorporated into it). So how do electric motors work for garage doors, and what happens when the electricity supply is unexpectedly cut off? Of course, you may not be at home when this happens, so it’s good to know that your garage will continue to be fully secure in your absence.
Why Choose An Electric Garage Motor?
Garage door motors which work electronically are an extremely useful invention for many people, particularly those who have struggled with their garage door in the past. Garage doors can be cumbersome things for some people to handle, especially older ones which may not be working as efficiently as they could, thus becoming heavier and more difficult to move. This is particularly troublesome for those who do not possess the strength or the height needed – namely the aged and children, as well as those afflicted by certain health issues.
Garage door motors are also used for those who would prefer to avoid adverse weather conditions when returning home and needing to park their car in the garage. The UK is not known for its calm and warm weather conditions – especially in the winter months – so it can be uncomfortable to have to leave your vehicle, open the garage, and drive it inside. Being able to open the garage from the warmth and comfort of your vehicle does not only protect you from the worst of the cold, wind and rain; it also saves time and is generally more convenient overall.
How Garage Motors Work
Garage motors are usually positioned on the ceiling of the garage on the inside, and use a retractable ‘arm’ to pull and push the door panel open and closed. In the case of roller garage doors, the motor is situated next to the garage door roll which is mounted inside the garage above the lintel, within the opening with a protective security cover (a ‘half box’) or just outside the opening with a full security cover (a ‘full box’). Roller motors are smaller and simply roll the door up and down.
The motor itself is not just for the moving operation of the door. It also works as a strong lock, keeping the door firmly in the closed position and not allowing it to be physically pulled open. This is more secure than a manual door, as an external lock could be picked or compromised in order to gain entry. As garage motors are mounted inside the garage (or within a protective casing as is the case with some roller doors), it’s almost impossible for a thief to compromise the mechanism.
Emergency Release Devices
Having the convenience of a garage motor is great, but they require power in order to work. Those with no electricity supply to their garage cannot enjoy the benefits of a motor, as it will need to be connected to the mains in order to function. This means that if there’s a power cut the motor cannot be used, which may present problems – especially if the power cut lasts for a long period of time. As the weather conditions in the UK continue to become more unpredictable, and with the risk of flooding (and therefore power cuts) higher than ever for some parts of the country, those with electronic motors in their garage may be concerned about how they’d cope should the power drop out unexpectedly.
Of course, if you can access your garage from the inside (if it’s attached to your main property, for instance) or if your garage door has a separate pedestrian door set into it, you will still be able to get inside and use a release device internally. For those who need an external release device, the following are available.
Bowden Cable – For single panel garage doors i.e. canopy or tracked.
This connects to the existing garage door handle (if one is present). It operates by the handle being turned, which is connected to a cable, which then connects to the release device on the operator. You will have a key which would only be used for this manual override, allowing you to open the garage in the event of a power outage.
Barrel Type – For sectional garage doors or for canopy/tracked garage doors without an external handle.
This emergency release device consists of a small hole drilled in the door panel. A key is used to release the device, which should then be manually pulled outwards. A cable will come through the hole in the door which is used to manually move the ‘arm’ which pulls and pushes the door panel.
Winding handle – For roller doors.
This emergency release requires a hole to be drilled through the external wall in which you can insert a handle that connects to an internal winder. It’s operated by using a key to open the lock on the emergency release and using the small handle to wind the door up and down.
If the emergency release solution for your specific door does not appeal, it’s also possible to upgrade to a battery backup system. We would still recommend having a manual emergency release, but the battery back-up can be a useful tool for those who would prefer to be more ‘hands off’ when it comes to overriding the motor. This back up battery will allow the door to be opened approximately 5 times when the power is out, saving time overall and allowing you to get in and out in a hurry if needed.
All of these solutions can be requested at the time of ordering your garage door or alternatively can be added once the door has already been installed. You’re more than welcome to discuss options with us during your free survey, where our engineer will measure up and confirm your specifications.