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How To Manually Open A Garage Door

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

Best Way To Manually Open Garage Doors When You Don't Have Power

Imagine being in a big rush and your garage door refusing to move. Maybe there is a power outage, and you are going to be late to work.

You may have a better situation where there are two different ways to enter and exit your garage. In this scenario, you should enter your garage from the inside of the house. It will be easier to deal with the problem that way.

Once you are indoors, go up to the garage door and locate the mechanism that operates the door. It is usually attached in the middle part of the ceiling somewhere. It will sometimes hang down from the ceiling, or it may be on the ceiling itself when it is low. It will then stretch from the start of the garage door all the way to the back of the garage.

It resembles a long rail, and a red rope or chain hangs off a lever overhead. You just need to pull on the rope so that it goes into the down position, which will allow you to use its manual mechanism.

Pull Down On The Cord

Usually, the cord is red. However, it isn't always. Either way, you can easily find it since the right cable is quite unique.

Pull Down On The Red Cord

Emergency release cord is another name for this red rope. Although it may have a few different names, it has the same purpose. So if you read that in your garage door manual, you can be assured that it is the same part.

The emergency release cord disengages the trolly from the carriage mechanism of the garage door. That allows the door to work when there is no power, so you can manually move it.

Whenever the garage door is in the open position, the emergency release cord and trolly are further into the garage. Similarly, whenever the garage door is in the closed position, its rope will be on top.

After you have pulled the cord, the trolley will be disconnected from the door's carriage mechanism. You will then be able to open and close the garage door quickly.

Be Careful

It is always a very good idea to be extra careful whenever you are manually operating the door since you need to ensure that the door is open at maximum. Otherwise, it may slide back, which could result in you getting injured.

Fortunately, you can manually use the door for as long as needed. Whenever you want the automatic mode to be engaged again, the mechanism will need to be reconnected. This is a very simple procedure, so you don't need to worry about it.

After the mechanism has been reconnected, pull on the emergency release cord in the direction of the garage door. That will almost immediately reconnect it.

Second Way Your Garage Door Can Be Manually Opened When There Is No Power

If your garage does not have a back door, the only way to enter and exit your garage is through your garage door. In this situation, an outside approach will need to be used on the problem.

It has the same mechanism, but the door is completely shut with you on the outside. The only solution available in this case is to pick the lock.

Prepare A Wire

The first thing you need to do is take a long wire and then bend it into shape so it has a hook on the end. To break into the garage, you are also going to need a ladder. As discussed in the previous option, you will need to access the red rope to disconnect the trolley from the garage door's carriage mechanism. However, this time you will be doing it from the outside.

The ladder should be placed in the center outside of the garage door. The door will have a small crack on the frame. It is large enough for your long wire shaped like a hook to go through. It is critical to aim the wire towards the red rope located inside of your garage.

After the wire is inside the garage, hook it to the trolley's handle. It is a small handle that the emergency release rope is hanging from. Once the long wire has been hooked to the handle on the trolley, pull it back.

That will cause the automatic mechanism to disconnect so you can use it manually. It is the same principle, but you will have to be more patience since instead of using your eyes, you will be using your memory.

Make This Process Easier

There are some models of garage doors that have one or several windows on the top part of the door. That will allow you to see the cord and handle and quickly open the mechanism when that is the case.

The principle behind manually opening your garage is to have a ladder outside the garage as well as a long wire.

Be very careful to avoid getting injured during this process. If you don't believe you can do the job, contact a garage door expert to assist you.

Third Way To Manually Open Your Garage Door Without Any Power

Some garage doors come with an Emergency Door Kit. These kits are placed in the doors. They can be used in situations such as electric mechanism malfunctions and power outages and when you would like to switch over to manually opening your garage.

If you would like to have a new garage door installed, I recommend that you buy a model with this feature since it can help you if a problem arises. It is probably the most effective way to get out of a difficult situation that is available to you.

Use Your Emergency Door Kit

You just need to find the door kit if you have one. Insert the key inside the keyhole and then turn it. It has a metal rod that can be pulled out of the keyhole.

The cord connected to the trolley lever will disengage, and the automatic mechanism will be bypassed so it can be used manually. You can disconnect the trolley quickly from the carriage, so you operate the garage door manually.

You can only use this method if your garage door has this emergency key feature. So before you do anything, you need to make sure your door has that feature.

Safety Measures

There are different reasons why your garage door may not be working properly. No matter what the situation is, you need to be careful since it could slam down powerfully and quickly, which could cause you to become injured.

Safety Measures

Close the garage door - The very first thing that needs to be checked is if your garage door is completely closed. It must be all the way down, without any half-ways or openings to prevent it from potentially falling, injuring you, and breaking as you are switching over to manual mode.

Be careful with the mechanism. The mechanisms and rails which open and close the door may sometimes be broken. To avoid it falling down on your head, try to first shut the garage door all the way to the ground. If you are unable to do that, you will need to contact a garage door expert to assist you with solving your problem.

Grease the door chains - It can be helpful to grease the door and chains regularly for quieter and longer use. Follow the instructions in your manual. Be sure to hold onto your guide since you might need it if an emergency occurs.

Turn the electricity off - Like most electric doors that operate on power, it is recommended that you turn the electricity off before you start to work on it—in this way, a potential electrical hazard can be avoided.

If your door does not work properly after the electricity is normal once again, the door should be unplugged from the electricity. Then wait for around 30 seconds before rebooting and plugging it in again. That should fix this problem.


The functionality and luxury of today's mechanisms and appliances allow for a more relaxed, comfortable, and quicker life. However, you do need to stay current with all of the mechanisms and inventions so you can fix problems that arise and get out of difficult situations.

The good thing about getting an ‘in-person’ quote is that should anything go wrong, there will be no questions about who is responsible for damages sustained. Therefore, ensure that you have the garage door salesperson come to your property and to check out the situation before making your order.

The cost of a brand-new 16-ft. garage door ranges from anywhere between $800 to $8,000. Working with a professional garage door salesperson could prove beneficial when searching for a cheap yet quality garage door.

Be Cautious of Wood Doors

While garage doors made of wood look fantastic when new, they tend not to fare too well over time. Wood garage doors typically require a lot of maintenance to remain in top shape, so if you aren’t willing to devote your money and time to maintain such a door, then avoid it. The problem with these doors is that their natural finishes only last a few years before they need recoating. If you wait too long, restoring the door could mean sanding off the finish and starting over.

Fortunately, there are garage doors in the market that aren’t made of wood but have a wood finish that cost a fraction of the money. And the good thing about such doors is that they don’t need any maintenance. One of the best options, which is also one of the least expensive, is embossed steel that comes with a faux wood-grain finish – it costs less than $1,000.

It can be hard to differentiate between a faux wood garage door and a wooden one from afar. If you have a bit more money to spend (upwards of $2,500), consider going for a wood garage door with a fiberglass skin or a wood composite overlay. Composite overlays offer the unique look of real wood with the stability and longevity of plastic.

Upgrade your Insulation

Thinking of buying an insulated garage door to help keep your garage warm or to save energy? Then consider spending an extra 15 to 20% to upgrade your insulation from extruded polystyrene to polyurethane. To know a garage door’s insulation effectiveness, check its R-value. The higher the number, the better its insulation. According to Clopay, replacing 2-inch polystyrene with polyurethane could help raise the insulating value from a meager R-9 to an impressive R-18. That is a lot of bang for your buck.

Sacrifice a Bit More for Beefier Springs

Springs play an integral part in how a garage door opens and closes. Most garage doors in many homes use torsion springs – the coiled springs you see above a garage door. The problem with these springs (standard) is that they’re rated for no more than 10,000 cycles. While that might sound like much, you need to consider the fact that you open and close your garage door about six times a day.

If you do the math, you’ll see that you will reach the door’s 10,000-cycles rating in five years or less. Why go through all that while you can pay an extra $50 and have a 20,000-cycle rated spring installed on your door? This will allow you to use your garage door for longer without needing to replace the spring and at a fraction of the cost.

Remember to Buy a New Opener

When having your garage door installed, ask the person installing the door to also install a new door opener for you. All garage door openers eventually fail, so if yours is showing signs of aging or you want one that operates silently, this is the best time to have it replaced. Not only will it save you money on labor, but it also presents you the opportunity to negotiate a package deal for both the opener and door.

Think Twice Before Deciding to Install a Garage Door By Yourself

While installing a garage door by yourself could save you a few hundred dollars, this is one DIY project that does not have a major payoff. Here is why. For starters, there are tons of parts that need to be assembled (and that alone could take you a day to accomplish.) Secondly, winding the garage door spring requires a lot of arm strength and special tools. Apart from that, the task itself is quite dangerous.

However, when you have a pro handle the installation for you, they’ll deliver the door to your place, remove the old one, and install the new one within about four hours. And the good thing about working with professionals is that you have someone to contact if there is a problem with your door.

Scour Through Manufacturers’ Websites for Door Designs

When shopping for a garage door, you do not have to guess how a specific color and door style will look on your property – all you need to do is check out how different garage doors for sale online look like to get an idea. Most companies that make these doors have software on their websites that allow users to upload photos of their garages and add any of the company’s garage door designs and styles to the photos.

This allows users to choose from different door styles, including design features, add hardware, pick a color, and even choose windows for the door. The good thing about this software is that it also allows you to play around with a variety of styles until you find something that best suits your taste and needs.

Once done, all you need to do is print out your specifications for an accurate price estimate from the dealer. Remember to request quotes from different manufacturers and compare prices for a chance to find a cheap garage door.

Scour Through Manufacturers’ Websites for Door Designs

The right garage door windows can considerably improve how a garage door looks. Apart from adding a touch of style, the right windows can increase light flowing into the garage. Here are a couple of tips for you to consider when choosing glass for your garage door.

- If your garage is heated, consider having insulated glass installed on the windows.

- For extra security and privacy, have the glass installed on the topmost panel.

- Match the glass you get for your door to that installed on your house windows.

- If your door’s opening has angled corners, do not install panes that go behind the corners as that might make your door look awkward.

Need a Quiet Garage Door? Look Out for These Features

If your garage is attached to your home and you don't want to deal with the racket your garage door causes as it opens and closes, consider going for a door with nylon rollers and polyurethane insulation. The insulation will dampen any vibrations that’d be amplified by uninsulated steel. Nylon rollers, on the other hand, are a lot quieter than ones made of metal. If you are thinking of having your garage door opener replaced, too, consider having a belt-driven opener installed as they are quieter.

Go For 24-gauge Steel

If you are considering buying an uninsulated steel door, then make sure it is made from 24-gauge steel, at the very least. A majority of economy garage doors are made using 25-gauge steel or thinner. When it comes to steel gauges, the higher the number, the thinner the steel. To ensure the steel doesn’t get dented, manufacturers use insulation as a backer for the metal. If you don’t intend to buy an insulated garage door, then make sure you go for one that’s made of thicker steel to avoid dents.

Where Can I Buy a Garage Door in Vancouver, WA?

If you live in Vancouver, WA, and are wondering where you can go to find a quality garage door for your home, then look no further than Aaron’s Garage Door Company. We are a licensed, bonded, and insured company that offers all types of garage door services and repairs.

Need a garage door installed? Need a broken spring replaced? Are you looking for new garage doors and openers? We’ve got you covered. Give us a call now for a free estimate and same-day services you can trust in Vancouver, Washington State.

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