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What is California’s New Garage Door Opener Law?

Several years ago, California introduced a new law for garage doors. All new garage doors and garage door opener setups must have garage door openers with a battery backup system so that they can continue to operate in case there is a power outage. The law’s introduction was to ensure a safer system for California residents who need to escape their homes when there is a power outage and leave for safety reasons. The bill was created in response to a destructive wildfire season in 2017 that prevented some homeowners from escaping their homes.

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Why was the law Created?
California decided to pass the legislation following a destructive wildfire season in 2017 that left some homeowners trapped and unable to escape their homes because they could not open their garage doors when the electricity failed. Several people were killed as a result. Approximately 4.5 million homes in the U.S. are at risk of damage or destruction from wildfire in any given year, and about half of those homes are in California. In order to prevent such problems from happening again, Senator Bill Dodd of California introduced Senate Bill 969, which required all new garage doors and garage door openers installed in California to have backup battery power. The bill was signed into law in September 2018, and it became effective on July 1, 2019.

Compliance Mandates and Penalties
As with any law, penalties apply when California’s garage door law is broken. As of the law’s effective date, all garage doors and garage door openers installed in the state must include a battery backup system. Garage door sellers and manufacturers who do not comply with the law can still face penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000 per violation. Garage doors that are already in place must retroactively comply with the law. That means garage doors and garage door openers that are “installed and operational” must be outfitted with a battery backup source of power. Individuals who do not comply with those mandates may be fined up to $500.

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Garage Door Safety
As a homeowner, one of the most important things you can do is understand the safety features of your garage door in Paso Robles and how to safely operate the door when there is no power, or dangerous situations arise. Current UL standards require all garage door openers to come with a safety release mechanism, most commonly identified as a red string that hangs down from the track of the garage door when the door is closed. The garage door can be manually opened by pulling the string, but the door can be heavy and difficult to operate without power, preventing some homeowners from opening the door. However, getting a garage door opener with a source of reserve power through a backup battery, as required by the new California law, solves the problem by providing your garage door with a power source even when there is no electricity in your home. If you have a modern garage door in Paso Robles installed in the past few years, it may already have a backup battery attached. If it does, make sure that you know how to operate the door without a primary source of power before disaster strikes to make sure you can safely and quickly exit the home. The amount of power you’ll get with backup power varies, but many systems will allow the garage door to open and close multiple times for up to 24 hours before the battery power runs out.

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If you are not sure whether or not your garage door opener has backup battery power, start by looking for any labels on the opener or the garage door itself, indicating that there is a source of backup power. If there is a battery backup system on the garage door, unplug the garage door opener and try opening and closing the garage door with either the control panel mounted to the wall or the remote control that comes with the door. Once you’ve tested the garage door with the backup battery system, it’s essential to plug the garage door opener back into its power source to prevent draining the battery.

Checking the Battery
If the battery in the operating system is wearing down, it will need to be replaced by a professional knowledgeable about garage door repair in Paso Robles so that you can continue using the garage door safely in an emergency. Many garage door manufacturers make life easy by installing signals on their garage doors or garage door openers to indicate the battery strength level. If the battery is fully charged, the garage door opener will likely have a green light in the background. If the battery is in the process of charging, the light may be a yellow color. If the battery is red, it means there is no battery power left, and the door opener should be charged right away to ensure you have a supply of reserve battery power when needed. If you see a flashing orange light, the battery is likely not yet dead, but it probably has very low power reserves. Every few seconds, the battery will produce an audible beep if the garage door is operating using only battery power, and you’ll hear a beeping sound approximately every 30 seconds when the battery power is low. The battery needs to be either replaced or recharged.

Replacing the Battery Yourself
A source of battery backup power is supposed to help you out when your garage door won’t open, not cause problems. As with any battery, the battery on a battery backup system can fail and need to be replaced. That usually happens about every 2-3 years. However, the battery may last a little longer or wear out sooner based on other factors such as frequency of use and the climate in which you live. Many backups will indicate that the battery needs to be replaced, such as a red warning light. If your battery system is indicating that the battery should be changed, you can usually contact a professional for Southern California garage door repair to have a new battery installed.

Plan Ahead
Whether you are just looking to buy a home or have a home that already has a garage door installed, you’ll need to make sure that your garage door complies with the law and has a reliable battery backup power source. All residential garage door openers in the State of California must comply with the new mandate as of July 1, 2019, which is when the law went into effect. An automatic garage door opener cannot legally be sold or purchased if it is manufactured after the law’s date and does not have a source of battery backup power.

Contact the professionals today for quality Paso Robles garage door repair to make sure that your garage door complies with the new California State law or make updates to ensure that the garage door is compliant.

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