A Des Moines Garage Door Blog

How to Open Your Garage Door When the Power Goes Out

Posted by Steve Bouchard on Sep 23, 2020 11:24:01 AM


If you’ve lived in the Midwest long enough, you’ll come to understand that the weather can be temperamental. Storms can pop up in an instant and can potentially leave citizens without power.

Just because the power is out doesn’t mean your life stops, however, and suddenly you find yourself with a mile-long to-do list and a car stuck in your garage. So, how do you open your automatic garage door when the power is out?


Opening Your Garage from the Inside 

You can manually open your attached garage door by locating the bypass switch. Simply look for the red rope hanging from the mechanism on the roof of your garage. Once this emergency cord is pulled, the automated opener is released from the trolley, allowing the door to slide freely. You can then carefully lift the door to open. Have someone close by to ensure the door stays open as you back your car out of the garage, then ensure the door is fully closed before leaving.

Before you pull the bypass cord, make sure the garage door is fully closed. If the door is stuck partially open, or a spring is broken, the entire garage door could fall when it’s released, causing much more damage. Contact a professional to assist you if you're in this situation.


Stuck Outside? 

Most garage doors will have an emergency release on the outside, just like the one on the inside. This release is locked, so be sure to keep the key somewhere hidden outside your home. Unlocking the release cord triggers the release mechanism and allows you to move your door manually. Another lock next to the door’s handle keeps the door shut, so with that same key, make sure to unlock and turn the handle so it is vertical to the ground. When these steps are complete, you’ll be able to slowly and carefully lift the garage door open enough to either get in yourself, or drive your car inside. When you and/or your car are safely inside, pull the garage door all the way back down.

If your door does not have an outside emergency release, you can try to release the lever by placing a shim in the weather stripping near the top of the door, then sliding a clothes hanger in to flip the lever. However, before you enact this method, this is obviously a security risk and could damage your door, so you may prefer to call a professional to help you.


Reconnect the Door 

It’s important to remember to take the garage door back into automatic mode once you have power again — unless you happen to enjoy manually opening and closing it each time you need to leave your home.

There are a couple options for reengaging. From the inside of your garage, pull down on the bypass switch (that red cord), making sure you’re pulling it toward the garage door. Pull up on the door until it moves back into place. If that seems confusing to you, or you can’t get the door to reconnect, you can simply use your opener remote, and the track should force everything back into place.

While getting into your home during a power outage doesn’t require a professional, there are some instances that just aren’t do it yourself. If you can’t get your door to close all the way in order to pull the release cord, if you find the door’s springs are worn or damaged, or if you just would feel better with an experienced technician’s help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a company like WD Door.

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About WD Door

WD Door is a privately owned overhead door and operator company with over 25 years experience in both residential and commercial fields. We work closely with both our customers and manufacturers to ensure high quality overhead door products and customer service.

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