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Damaged Garage Door


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Hello! I have been doing home inspections for about 4 years now. I was trained by AHIT. They trained me to test photo eyes and the pressure reverse on all garage doors. WA ST SOP required. To pressure test they taught me to have my hands at waist level and be ready to pull them away if the pressure revers failed.

This Sat, I was inspection a 600K house and it had a 3 car garage, 1 single bay, being used for storage, and the double door used for parking. The seller was there and since there was so much stored stuff on the single car side, I pressure tested it from the outside. In about 1 second of the door touching my hands the door (mostly the top panel) folded in half like a beer can and a glass window shattered. I was shocked, I have never had this happen. I consulted with an AHIT advisor and he told me I should not have tested it due to not being able to test it from the inside due to stored items. He basically said I made a stupid mistake. He said by being inside, I could have been watching the strut for stress and let go. Actually, if I had been inside I could have been hurt by the shattering glass. And it happened so fast, I do not think I could have seen it and let go in time.

Then I talked to the garage door professional who says he does not understand why we test them that way. They are to be tested with a 2x4 block of wood on the floor. I looked it up, and yes that is what the manufacturers advise. However, if the pressure revers fails, it will still crimp the top panel and damage it, so I see the point of using your hands to let go quickly if it fails. But this one broke is a mere second.

I am still waiting to hear how much it will cost to fix the damage, and have asked if the owner would be willing to split it with me. I do not think I was being negligent, but his unit was not operating properly.

I am sure someone out there has had a similar experience. I would appreciate any input. Now I am really nervous pressure testing doors, I really do not want this to happen again, but I need to meet SOP.

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Follow the SOP when you feel it is safe to do so. A door obscured by storage, classic car, expensive boat, think before you test.

There is a cheaper grade of garage door, and we learn to watch for those. I broke a window learning about them, and paid for the repair. One of the hazards.

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Follow the SOP when you feel it is safe to do so. A door obscured by storage, classic car, expensive boat, think before you test.

There is a cheaper grade of garage door, and we learn to watch for those. I broke a window learning about them, and paid for the repair. One of the hazards.

Well said.

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Karen, Don't beat your self up.

Testing the operator force setting is far from unusual, which was what you were doing. Testing from the exterior is not my first choice and would be atypical for me. Yet in reality there is no difference other than being able to see how all of the door components are operating.

If you had confirmed prior to testing that all of the door and operator components were there, including door operator bracing and correct door reinforcement along with inspecting the tracts and installation, then operating the door and testing would be correct. If something was wrong then testing may not be advisable.

If the door and operator were installed correctly then the door failed under testing. ((( not your fault )))).

I have a feeling that the door was not reinforced for the opener correctly. Which if it was a single sided steel door is common, yet wrong.

Take a look at:

DASMA ((check out the pictures))

TESTING AND MAINTAINING THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER:

http://www.dasma.com/PDF/Publications/B ... enance.pdf

Liftmaster:

http://liftmaster.custhelp.com/app/answ ... _the_Force

Test the DOWN (close) force

Grasp the door bottom when the door is about halfway through DOWN (close) travel.

Chamberlain:

http://chamberlain.custhelp.com/app/ans ... l/a_id/246

Step 2: Adjust the Force

Test the DOWN (close) force

Grasp the door bottom when the door is about halfway through DOWN (close) travel. The door should reverse.

Test the UP (open) force

Grasp the door bottom when the door is about halfway through UP (open) travel. The door should stop.

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First make sure the door is properly braced. If not, do not test.

Second, it you use the method you used (which I also use), you need to be ready to let go fast if the door does not reverse with relatively little force.

If I can see that the close force adjustment is set high, I don't test it (or I adjust it, but don't tell anyone).

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...Take a look at:

DASMA ((check out the pictures))

TESTING AND MAINTAINING THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER:

http://www.dasma.com/PDF/Publications/B ... enance.pdf

...

The pressure reverse test recommended in this manual is exactly what you are not supposed to do.

Marc

Marc,

Exactly what do you base that opinion on?

From Jim K's post above:

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... IC_ID=2432

Marc

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Marc, Have to say that your are wrong in your position.

The link is to a January 2006 thread directed at demonstrating the source rational for testing methods. Things change and time has the opportunity of having past practices that were not supported other than by what was actually done in the field made standard practice. Being that installers have for over 25 years performing some variation of the force test using their hands to test the doors force on closing, for a variety of reasons.

The Underwriters Labs did the testing and set the criteria for what was to become the Consumer Products Com. Regs. These Regs were the basis for what many would use as the criteria for the liability incurred during testing garage door operators.

The discussion over correct testing methods has flourished for many years. Yet the discussion would always return to what was stated in the regs and what the manufactures specified as part of their installation instructions and operation manuals. Between the CPSC and the manufactures specifications and directions liability for damage due to failure under testing could be relegated to the owner and their lack of proper maintenance and adjustments of the door and its operator mechanism. Many inspectors and others through the years have tested the doors as the installers did during the original installation, which was to use your hand to test the down force of the door at waist level. Even though it was not specified by the manufactures installation instructions, it was a normal practice.

Recently the DASMA and manufactures have begun to include the use of your hand in the determination of force to reverse or stop the door?s movement in their installation and testing directions. So, inspectors and others now can remove their liability for door failure by referring to the manufacture?s installation instructions and DASMA as the authoritative sources for testing methods.

It has been a long time coming for there to be sources to quote that supported the standard practices that were being used in the day to day installation practices by the installers for decades.

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If you want to perform a nearly meaningless test that risks dropping a door, then go for it. But only do it after you've inspected the entire door and its counterbalance mechanism and after you've performed the 2x4 test. Your hands and your reflexes are nowhere near as sensitive as you think they are.

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Marc, Have to say that your are wrong in your position.

The link is to a January 2006 thread directed at demonstrating the source rational for testing methods. Things change and time has the opportunity of having past practices that were not supported other than by what was actually done in the field made standard practice. Being that installers have for over 25 years performing some variation of the force test using their hands to test the doors force on closing, for a variety of reasons.

The Underwriters Labs did the testing and set the criteria for what was to become the Consumer Products Com. Regs. These Regs were the basis for what many would use as the criteria for the liability incurred during testing garage door operators.

The discussion over correct testing methods has flourished for many years. Yet the discussion would always return to what was stated in the regs and what the manufactures specified as part of their installation instructions and operation manuals. Between the CPSC and the manufactures specifications and directions liability for damage due to failure under testing could be relegated to the owner and their lack of proper maintenance and adjustments of the door and its operator mechanism. Many inspectors and others through the years have tested the doors as the installers did during the original installation, which was to use your hand to test the down force of the door at waist level. Even though it was not specified by the manufactures installation instructions, it was a normal practice.

Recently the DASMA and manufactures have begun to include the use of your hand in the determination of force to reverse or stop the door?s movement in their installation and testing directions. So, inspectors and others now can remove their liability for door failure by referring to the manufacture?s installation instructions and DASMA as the authoritative sources for testing methods.

It has been a long time coming for there to be sources to quote that supported the standard practices that were being used in the day to day installation practices by the installers for decades.

Genie

Liftmaster

Chamberlain

Each of the above manufacturers specifies the 2x4 approach, as does the CPSC.

Manufacturer specs trumps DASMA.

Marc

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Kinda apples and oranges.

(( just for clarity, we are talking about sectional vertical doors with openers that do not have contact strip on bottom of door edge, also it is assumed that that all aspects of the physical installation of the door and operator have been inspected prior to use or testing ))

The force settings are something different than the 2x4 entrapment test. The 2x4 test requires reversal at 1 inch from floor within 2 seconds of contact with object on floor. There is no specification on the amount of force exerted on that object during those 2 seconds. In theory it could be 2 tons of force exerted during those 2 seconds.

Force testing is a function of the movement of the door itself. Meaning the amount of force to overcome friction of the track wheels and door weight. The amount of force that was applied by the motor, in the past, had manual adjustability. As part of the installation the force applied from the motor to the door was set at the discretion of the installer. Typically the installer adjusted so that the minimum yet adequate amount of force was being used to move the door. The reason being that the installer did not want the motor drive to damage the door if it bound up in the tracks or encountered something abnormal in its movement. Or crush the door if the travel limit was set to far. Meaning that the motor would try to drive the door 3 inches into the floor. So the installer would test/adjust the amount of downward force of the door prior to allowing the door to meet the floor. Usually at 3 or 4 feet from floor using their had to create the obstruction and sense the amount of force exerted by the motor drive, totally subjective. Why do this? The installer did not trust that the manufacture setting form the factory would be correct causing potential damage to the door before the settings could be corrected. ((Installer self preservation on buying another door))

((without getting into chapter and verse))

The CPSC requires that the door meeting an obstruction at any point in its downward movement to within 1 inch of the floor to reverse direction. There are no specifications on the amount of force that may be exerted to trigger the reversal function.

The CPSC requires that the door meeting an obstruction at any point on its upward movement stop. There are no specifications on the amount of force that may be exerted to trigger the stop movement function.

Then there is the 1 inch from floor entrapment reversal test. ((2x4 test)) Again, there is no specification on the amount of force exerted during the 2 seconds of contact prior to reversal.

Now with the newer motor drives the manufactures have started to include testing, in their installation instructions, of the force exerted on potential obstructions. Pretty much catching up top what installers have been doing on their own. Which is why I linked to Liftmaster and Chamberlain as a manufacture reference to substantiate my point/position, Genie I will discuss later.

With Chamberlain they specifically state,

http://www.chamberlain.com/CatalogResou ... 4A3165.pdf

, Page #21 HOW AND WHEN TO ADJUST THE FORCES

" 1. Test the DOWN (close) force

Grasp the door bottom when the door is about halfway through DOWN (close) travel. The door should reverse.

Manufacture does trump DSMA, but in the case of chamberlain/Liftmaster they are saying the same thing. Genie and some others motor have preset electronic systems that control force adjustment during the installation and do not have you testing the force manually.

The real bottom line is that the door must reverse at any point of it downward travel when it meets an obstruction. If the force setting/adjustment is set to high the door will be damaged upon meeting the obstruction if the obstruction is a solid mass. Which can be avoided by having a minimal force setting in place.

In the situation of the door with a high force setting and hitting a person it could drive the person to the floor and cause severe injury before the door did reverse, CPSC 2 second specifications.

How do you prevent the door or a car being damaged and also reduce the risk for personal injury? Have a minimal force setting. How do you determine that the motor is set at a minimal less damaging setting. Grab the door as it is closing and perform a subjective test. It should reverse with minimal force applied to the door edge.

When the HI goes to test the door against entrapment they can toss a 2x4 under the middle of the door and hope for the best and expect the worst. When the door is damaged the HI can just write "Failed under CPSC and manufacture testing guidelines". OR, the HI could test the CPSC requirement of reversal prior to meeting the 2x4 by restricting the doors movement using their hand at 3 or 4 feet from the floor. Thereby determining subjectively the potential risk that the door may be damaged when it encounters the 2x4 on the floor.

As a side note, the door travel limits, on older units, have the adjustment to not reverse at a set distance from floor. By example the need to compress a door bulb seal. The operator is set to not reverse at some point during the last 7/8 inch of travel to compress the seal. Though if there is an obstruction the door could be damaged. But that is a story for another day.

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We know that various building codes, testing protocols, CPSC proclamations, inspector "school" directives, and other corporate or governmental humiliations we are forced to endure in this gig are completely stupid, so it's possible the garage door test is also stupid.

I check the electric eye return function. If they aren't working, anything under the door is going to get crushed regardless.

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One of the two adjustment screws found on most garage door openers locally is the maximum proximity to the floor at which an obstruction will result in a 'stop and reverse' response from the door operator. A kid isn't ever going to fit within 1 1/2 inch of space so if it's properly adjusted for that, the door won't remain locked upon the child.

About 30 to 60% of the doors I test aren't properly adjusted for that. About half of the light emitters/sensors I check are over 6 inches. It's about the kids.

Marc

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I understand it's about the kids. 6" + working electric eyes = preclusion of snapped neck regardless of whether snapped neck is entrapped or not. I can measure 6". I can't measure anything else.

No one has established any relevant criteria for what adjustments should be maintained at. Downforce adjustments go out constantly. Different mechanisms behave differently at different times under different conditions. If the industry and all regulating agencies can't come up with equipment that can be adjusted and stay that way, I'm not interested.

It's a meaningless test, and you seem to want to do it. Go for it.

For the OP, my advice is forget what AHIT told you. The place is a swamp. Anyone doing this job long enough has demolished a door.....or a door and other stuff. I took out an entire Buick 20+ years ago. When you demolish a door and other stuff, commentary along the lines of "door failed under testing" is empty blather; you're buying a door or other stuff whether you like it or not.

Expect someone to solemnly blather that they use this defense all the time and it works. Yes, it works when you are working for people too destitute to hire a gumshoe lawyer and you don't care if anyone ever calls you or refers you and campaigns actively to discredit you. No, it doesn't work if anyone involved (seller, realtor, client) has the means for engaging a mildly competent attorney that will bury you in more costs and activity than any door (or stuff) would ever cost.

You seem intent on performing a competent inspection and are looking relevant and concrete direction. You're not going to find it relative to garage door testing. You're going to find folks quoting all the stuff you should be doing. Go back to the 2nd paragraph, then decide what you want to do.

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Saying it is about the kids is fine. The testing methodology is what is important to the HI or anyone else investigating the door's functional operation. Having a rational process is what reduces the liability for the HI and at the same time makes sure that the operation is correct and thus offering the protection to kids or anyone else.

The thread started with KarenK and her disaster. Whether it was correct to subjectively determine the downward force of the door before it reversed. Karen's checking with her mediate sources said that she was wrong, then with additional arguments that this determination should be done as stated by Marc, "The pressure reverse test recommended in this manual is exactly what you are not supposed to do." referring DASMA instructions. CPSC and manufactures have not said that checking the force is prohibited. In fact the manufactures have started to direct checking the force in their installation instructions I have always taken the position to check the force adjustment for many reasons as I have tried to point out.

Knowing what your are doing and doing what you know is what keeps you out of trouble and liability for failures that occur.

I can agree with Kurt that there are many governmental proclamations and CPSC specifications that are done to reverse natural selection. Many are stupid and are to protect the stupid. But I would say the the garage door test is not just another stupid effort. The garage door reversal system is one of the " not a bad idea " efforts.

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Stupid and meaningless are not the same thing.

If results can be reproduced consistently, that's one thing. When they can't, it's another.

Regulatory directives stem from honest conviction and a desire to improve conditions. That doesn't make them either meaningful or meaningless, or stupid. It only makes them well intentioned.

Mixing up all the previous definitions is what makes this confusing.

I don't know what other people's testing has shown. I know what my testing has shown.

I own 5 garage doors with different openers, all relatively new. When I used to care about this, I spent entire weekends "testing" all of them under varying conditions. They all change constantly and I've broken doors, cables, stripped hubs, and snapped a spring "testing" doors with a 2x4. None of the multiple results could be reproduced in any consistent manner.

Tom, my garage door guy, and the person that knows more about how garage door equipment actually works, thinks the test is meaningless. Not stupid. Meaningless.

The only consistent result of all my testing is the eyes always work. I rely on the electric eyes. Everyone can do what they deem appropriate.

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