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Garage Door Openers Must Now Have a Battery Backup in California

Some people in northern Calif had difficulty opening their garage doors as a fire approached their homes last year. The problem was the power lines had burned down, so the electrical power was out. Apparently the mechanical disengage pull-rope most automatic garage door openers have was stuck, or the rope broke, or they couldn’t figure it out. So after some complaints the solution the legislature has come up with is to require all garage door openers for sale in California be equipped with a battery backup system. It’s estimated it will add anywhere from $75 to $500 to the cost of a unit.

What do you folks think? To me it seems like the legislature is going a little overboard on this. A better solution imo would be to require garage door openers either have battery back up or a second fail safe mechanical mechanism that would guarantee to disengage when that’s needed.


What do I think? I think you need to start rising up and voting these idiots out of office.

I can’t imagine how the rope would break or how you couldn’t figure out how to pull the release without it. Clearly these same people have never checked their doors for maintenance when you have to disengage the opener. More troubling to me is if you come home and can’t get the door open from the outside to get into the garage. But that’s why I have a house key in a lock box.

Sheesh. Is there no end to the need for regulations for EVERYTHING?


I think ten years will go by and that neglected backup battery will be dead when it’s finally needed.
Better a really good, simple, reliable, and easy to use manual backup system.


I was pretty sure you’d be all over this @Bing!! :slight_smile: I I expect you are right, the garage door hadn’t been properly maintained, nor had the pull rope mechanism been checked. It’s also probably the case in some instances that the door hardware was out of whack , maybe a spring was broken, so a normal size person wouldn’t have the strength to move or open the door without the extra power provided by the opener’s electric motor. So it isn’t even clear that a battery backup would help in that circumstance.

I can see why the state would want to make garage door openers safe in this type of situation , but it seems like there has to be a better alternative.

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How about an intelligence test requirement before buying a garage door opener?

Yes, this is an overreach. This would be another government unfunded mandate. And when it comes down to it, the same yahoos that can’t figure out the mechanical release won’t figure out that batteries, even unused ones, need replacement. And they’ll be in the exact situation they’d be in prior to this law. Except a lot of the more intelligent people in their state will have spent their money on a feature they didn’t need.


How about explosive bolts? :wink:

Or how about this? Every family has the option of having a free inspection once per year to verify the emergency release mechanism working correctly.

My guess would be that some people don’t pay attention to anything mechanical and don’t know their garage door openers have a simple mechanical disconnect via a rope pull.


For that amount of extra cost, I agree that this is going overboard. If they really feel something needs to be done, I’d rather see them require a sticker on the opener that says “Pull emergency rope if power is out” or something like that.

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So enough people could not figure out how to open their garage doors manually that legislators want to add cost and complexity to a new opener???. Wow. Will Rogers said common sense is not so common these days. Still true now.

Add a sticker telling the user to Pull the manual cord, but then we will need a battery backed up light to see the sticker (in 3 languages)

I got new Genie openers 2 years ago and they have battery back. Used 2x during power failures. Works slower but works, nice feature. But please do not force me to buy it. Maybe take an intelligent test and if you do not pass then you have to pay for the battery back up. Put the cost with the idiots where it belongs.

And make Mexico pay for it?

Nothing is free, a staff of government employees to inspect garage doors annually would cost the tax payer more than it would for each person to replace the opener. Buying the battery back-up opener likely won’t be necessary unless the old opener needs to be replaced because of failure.

A public service announcement on how to open a garage door should be all that is needed.

I could use one in Maine. You can lose power in winter. I couldn’t get my spiked shoes for two days and can’t stand on ice. Now they go in the car before October ends.

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Has this bill been passed by both houses of the legislature and has the governor signed it?

I inferred from the original post that it is currently a proposal or in committee or some such phase and is not a law yet.

If so, the title of this discussion is an untrue statement.

A lot of people don’t even use common sense, or they lack a basic understanding of how everyday objects actually work. An excellent example would be my next-door neighbor. Several years ago, I was leaving for work when she flagged me down to ask if my house had lost electrical power about 30 minutes earlier. I confirmed that I had lost electrical power, and she next asked if I had also lost my landline phone service, and I told her that my phone service was intact.

She then asked why she had lost phone service, but I hadn’t. I asked her if she was using a cordless phone, and she confirmed that she was using a cordless handset, and I advised her that this was the problem. She looked very puzzled, and I tried my best (without making myself late for work) to explain why her cordless phone(s) wouldn’t be able to communicate with their base in the event of an electrical outage, but she just couldn’t seem to grasp the concept.


This is exactly how this nonsense comes to life, George.

It has to be a PAID mandated inspection and stiff fines, every 6 months :slight_smile:
Hopefully, then people will finally realize it is an overreach, otherwise they will complaint about raising taxes, but will not connect these two dots in their minds.

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Are these the same people who can get locked INSIDE their cars?!? Let’s see, you’re evacuating to save your life but cannot seem to figure out how to escape this fortress of a garage door. Even the smallest car could drive through a closed garage door if it meant life or death…


We live in Tornado alley so I have handles on both sides of the garage door so I can pull the release and open door easily from either side. If he warning sound really severe I pull the release before the power go out.

The power went out in our neighborhood the other day, and I needed to get my car out of the garage. I could not pull the emergency release hard enough to make it work (I am 79 years old). I had to go find a strong young neighbor to pull it, which worked fine. In examining the J-bar that connects the door to the mechanism that moves it, I saw it was held on by a cotter pin. I plan to put in a smaller cotter pin only slightly bent, so a pull with a pair of pliers will remove it, freeing the door without any damage to the system.

Try lubrication first . Or possibly the door limit switch needs adjusted because it should not be hard to pull.