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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys;
I was visiting my brother today, trying to get his snowblower started.
While working in front of the detached garage, my bro brought up an interesting question:


He has a portable gasoline powered generator he keeps in the garage.
The detached garage has only the ovehread door; no side door.


The garage is locked/unlocked electronically. There is no key or handle outside.


What happens if the power fails? How does he gain access into the garage to get the generator out?


I had a couple of ideas:



I own an APC UPS I use for my computer. It is 1350VA. I don't know whether this would be enough power to run the garage door opener.
Considering the high starting current the motor would draw, I am afraid the UPS overload protection would trip.
But if not, I can wire it to the branch circuit for the garage.
No back-wiring! I would remove the hot and neutral wires for the branch and connect them (plus the ground) to the UPS using a cord and plug.


The only other method I can think of is to force one of the side windows open and crawl in.


A 3rd method would be to purchase and install a shed in which to store the generator, but I don't think my bro wants to go that route.



Your thoughts?
FW
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't think I could do that trick to grab the emergency latch from outside in 6 seconds. I don't own such a piece of stiff wire he used, and having no window in the door to see where the wire is going, it would probably take me longer to open it that way than for the power to be restored.
So far as the door having a keyed release cable, I don't know. I will check for that, and if it does, that my bro has the key.

Honestly, I never realized how insecure these things are.


I think that one day, I am going to try the UPS to power the door opener. Can't really go wrong. If it can't, the overload protection will kick in.
 

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I don't think I could do that trick to grab the emergency latch from outside in 6 seconds. I don't own such a piece of stiff wire he used, and having no window in the door to see where the wire is going, it would probably take me longer to open it that way than for the power to be restored.
So far as the door having a keyed release cable, I don't know. I will check for that, and if it does, that my bro has the key.

Honestly, I never realized how insecure these things are.


I think that one day, I am going to try the UPS to power the door opener. Can't really go wrong. If it can't, the overload protection will kick in.
The wire is much like a coat hanger that you get from dry cleaners.

The catch is dead center of the door and visibility never stops thieves.

Even the lock in the video, the screws should be ones that only screw in, he likely does not have one but one can be added to any door.

There are things that can be done to make the door so they can not be opened that easy, there are videos on that.
 

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That usually works but power is out right now. :biggrin2:
your assuming that 'power' and 'force' are the same :devil3::vs_cool:
 
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Just remember that all GDO's have emergency releases on the inside. Whether or not the installer actually installed the rope and handle.

For your brother, since the garage door is the only method if egress/ingress, having a GDO without some other means of powering it besides electricity is a bit short sighted.

It seems to me that he needs to explore multiple options, and rather quickly. The first is to make sure that the emergency release is attached to the GDO so that he can exit the garage in case the door is down and there is no power.

Second, he needs to make sure that the door can open if there is no power. Whether it be a battery backup to the GDO (an add on like a UPS or a new GDO with a built in Battery back up) or a release of some sort as has been mentioned above. Or an external door.

Frankly I am a bit dumbfounded that a garage was built without only a garage door as the only entrance. But then, I would never design it that way. And, it isn't my garage.
 
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Just remember that all GDO's have emergency releases on the inside. Whether or not the installer actually installed the rope and handle.

For your brother, since the garage door is the only method if egress/ingress, having a GDO without some other means of powering it besides electricity is a bit short sighted.

It seems to me that he needs to explore multiple options, and rather quickly. The first is to make sure that the emergency release is attached to the GDO so that he can exit the garage in case the door is down and there is no power.

Second, he needs to make sure that the door can open if there is no power. Whether it be a battery backup to the GDO (an add on like a UPS or a new GDO with a built in Battery back up) or a release of some sort as has been mentioned above. Or an external door.

Frankly I am a bit dumbfounded that a garage was built without only a garage door as the only entrance. But then, I would never design it that way. And, it isn't my garage.
You take your garages seriously. I respect that. But on the other side of the coin, it's an effin' garage. For most people, temporarily losing access to a plastic basketball hoop, some deflated pool toys, and a couple of broken garden rakes isn't that big of a deal. :vs_smirk:
 

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You take your garages seriously. I respect that. But on the other side of the coin, it's an effin' garage. For most people, temporarily losing access to a plastic basketball hoop, some deflated pool toys, and a couple of broken garden rakes isn't that big of a deal. :vs_smirk:
Not my garages, but, my cars, my workshop. My toys. My place to sleep when I am in the doghouse. :devil3:

On the other hand, what happens if the GDO is down, no power and your wife smells smoke and in a concerned voice, asks where the kids are....
 

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Pulling the release and lifting the garage door is for strong young men. During the 2017 wildfires, we had a number of people that could not physically open their heavy wood double wide garage doors.

Lucky for some of them, neighbors noticed and helped open the doors. Others abandoned their attempt to get their cars out and hitched rides from others that were evacuating. However, between Sonoma and Napa counties, 5 people died in their garages during the fires.

One of the evacuees that had trouble was state senator Bill Dodd. (State senate)
He had difficulty and heard many of the stories from others in the evacuation center. After getting back to Sacramento he worked to get a law passed requiring GDOs to have battery backup after July 1, 2019. It was signed by Gov. Brown in Sept 2018.

2 months later, we had the Camp Fire (Paradise). I've heard stories of some of the older people up there having similar problems.

The point is, make sure that anyone that may need the car to evacuate can get the door open without help. Otherwise, get a backup battery unit.

Edit: the law does not require a GDO. It just says that if you have one it must be battery BU. Existing are grandfathered, but when you replace it, it must be battery BU.
 

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A properly installed garage door with the proper springs will be balanced well and will be easy to open manually. Too many door aren't installed like they should be.

This is especially true if someone has had to install new springs after a failure and got the replacements at one of the big box stores. These springs are unique and have to be selected on door height and weight. A spring for a 6' door will not balance properly when used on a 7' door, they require different length springs. The big box stores sell what they think is a universal spring based on weight only. When a DYIer installs one of those, it will initially not allow the door to stay fully down when disengaged. So they adjust the tension looser so it will stay down. The problem then is it takes a lot more effort to raise the door. It places a much larger load on the motor and gear train so they will fail earlier than they should. And yes, some people may have their car burn up because of it.

A properly balanced door will remain at half up position with the emergency latch disengaged. If you adjust the tension so it does that and it then won't stay fully down while still disengaged, you have the wrong springs.
 

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Back up sounds like the best idea. During evacuation there must be a lot of panic and trying to think of everything. A key lock release that hasn't been used for years and who knows where the key is.


Clear thinking people would have just taken a couple runs at the door with the car until they were free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Problem with battery back-UPS is that the batteries go bad after a few years, and how many HO's are going to know that. Unless you're a computer geek (like me) you probably are not familiar with UPS systems. My APC does a regular self-test, and if the battery fails, I will replace it immediately. But if the UPS is out in the garage, who will know that it has failed its self test? Unless it has WiFi and can send a message to your PC/Mac or phone.
Sure, there's probably an indicator on the UPS itself that will flash if the self-test fails, but who's going to notice that?



About the garage itself:
My bro's garage needed to be completely rebuilt (including a new foundation, as the old one didn't have a foundation, and new code required it) after superstorm Sandy blew down a neighbor's tree into it.
Apparently, code did not require a 'man door'. There are two windows though, so egress would be possible if the door cannot be opened. That is, if the windows aren't stuck!


There is another - unrelated - issue with the construction of his garage:
The electric to the garage is supplied through an overhead cable from the house. That cable is just a length (about 25ft) of type UF #12/2 cable. I'm not a licensed electrician, but have done some reading of the NEC, and know that this type of cable is not rated for unsupported above-ground runs. It must be supported by a 'messenger' wire, which carries the weight of the cable.
IMHO, I would have dug a trench and run the cable underground. There had been an underground conduit, but it would have been impossible to pull out the old wires and pull new ones through.


Anyway, I think the town relaxed some of the code for Sandy construction. That's my take on it anyway.


I will definitely have a look at the GD and check out the emergency release cable. If nothing else, I want to make sure it works properly so no one gets stuck inside the garage!
 

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Ya, regular home, auto, etc. 'wellness' responsibilities are lost on many these days. Maybe new battery back up systems talk to smartphones - many things do now.
Up here, I believe an outside remote release is mandatory unless there is a second entrance.
 
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