Knoxville Garage Door Blog

Emergency tips for access when the power goes out.

East Tennessee homeowners are susceptible to power outages, which can temporarily trap vehicles inside the garage. Learn how to operate your garage door safely in its manual mode.

How to Manually Open and Close Your Overhead Door

We tend to take it for granted that when we push the remote button, the overhead garage door magically raises or lowers. But at times, particularly in case of a power outage, this routine doesn’t work. Take a few moments to learn how to safely operate your door from inside the garage in a no-power emergency.

Look for a red cord or rope hanging from your Overhead Door assembly. Note the carriage release handle and cord is attached to the curved door arm. The arm is a part of the Carriage Assembly. When you pull the cord, the carriage will disengage from the drive chain or belt. This allows the door to move freely without the motorized assist of the electric opener.

Before using the carriage release

The garage door is the largest moving object in the home. Every year, people and pets are injured around falling garage doors. Please use the utmost caution in operating your door manually. Never attempt this procedure when the door is in the open position.

Make sure your door is fully closed. If the door is partially open, and you release the carriage, the door can fall, causing more damage. If the garage door is stuck open, contact Overhead Door Company of Knoxville immediately to schedule a repair.

Other reminders:

  • Garage door hardware (springs, cables, brackets, pulleys, etc.) are under extreme pressure and tension.
  • DO NOT attempt to repair or adjust door springs or any hardware.
  • DO NOT OPERATE your garage door automatically or manually if the door is improperly balanced or springs are broken.
  • If you suspect any problems with the mechanical condition of the door, contact Overhead Door Company of Knoxville to schedule a service call.

Disengaging the carriage release

Pull the manual emergency release handle straight down, or down and towards the door. You should hear a click or pop, confirming the carriage is no longer connected.

Using both hands, grip and raise the door from the bottom. Stand as vertically as possible, bending from the knees. Be conscious not to strain your back. 

Lift the garage door until it is fully overhead. Be aware the door can slide back down if not opened entirely; such a falling door could cause injury or damage. You may want to prop the door open with a stepladder or long piece of lumber.

Do NOT use the release cord to pull the door!

Inspecting your door

With the carriage released, you should be able to raise and lower your door manually with a minimum of effort. Your door should be moving freely and smoothly. It’s a good time to perform this type of inspection. Make sure children and pets are not near the garage when performing the inspection. Keep the area clear of any obstacles.

Raise your door manually 3 to 4 feet from the floor and release it. The door should remain stationary, or drift slowly closed.

In general, it is best to keep the door down. Remove any props or obstructions and carefully lower the door. The spring mechanism should make this an easy descent. Keep in mind that your door remains unlocked while the carriage is disengaged. To secure it, engage a slide lock if present or employ a bolt or padlock.

Power restored

Once the power is reestablished, you need to re-engage the carriage. Pull the release handle down and away from the door, to establish the “engage” position. Then operate the door for one or two open/close cycles using a remote or wall control. The carriage will reattach itself to the moving drive chain or belt.

Any issues?

Operating your door in its manual mode should give you a good feel for the health of your door. If the springs and tension supported the door safely, that’s good news. If the door seems balanced and level, then rest assured your garage door is in good shape for the season ahead.

On the other hand, if you notice poor tension support or unevenness with your heavy door, it’s time to schedule a service call with one of our Overhead Door Company of Knoxville professionals at 865.635.9320

Let us help

Concerned for your door’s general health? If you live in Knox, Anderson, Roane, Union, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Sevier, Blount, or Loudon county, Overhead Door Company of Knoxville can serve all your garage door needs. Click here or call 865.635.9320 to tell us about your concerns. We will happily provide you with a professional service call or estimate.