Need to Open Your Garage When the Power’s Out? Here’s How!

Major power outages are a common problem all over the globe. Sometimes, you’ll be in the middle of something, such as trying to entertain fussy kids inside during a storm or preparing an urgent presentation for a big shareholder... and the power will go out.

No matter what it is you were doing, losing power can have quite a few consequences. Some of them you might not even be aware of, and the consequences can be as small as a minor inconvenience or as large as an actual disaster.

Houses with garage doors. Thunder and strike storm

Speaking of potential consequences, one of the things that power outages can take out is your ability to open and close your garage door. If you don’t think that might be a problem, you should think twice.

Ask yourself: what if you’re late for work? Or what if you have to deal with a medical emergency and you need to get the car out of the garage ASAP? If something like this happens to you, being unable to get out of your garage is suddenly going to be a huge problem.

It’s not like the whole world stops as soon as a power outage occurs, and it’s possible that you’ll desperately need to use your garage. But not all is lost!

If you have an electric garage door opener, there are ways to manually operate your garage door in the event of a loss of power. If you learn how to manually operate your door (from the inside or the outside), you’ll be able to do it even if the power goes out.

This guide is a “How To” that could literally save your life.

Not Having Power Is No Longer A Problem!

Your automatic garage door opener uses electricity to work. Thus, the reason you cannot open your garage door during a power outage is because there isn’t any more electricity. During a power outage, there’s literally nothing powering the garage door anymore.

First steps!

When it comes to trying to manually open the garage door, make sure that you get everyone else out of the garage area first. You don’t want your children or pets to get injured if something goes wrong.

Caution Is King!

Your garage door springs are under a lot of pressure all the time, so much so that the smallest shift in its load can cause them to snap. Make sure to be very careful with them when you’re trying to manually open your garage door.

Unplug Your Garage Door Opener

Funny picture: Someone who seemed to have received an electrical shock

This may seem a little silly since there’s no power, but it’s still best practices to disconnect your garage door opener from the power.

Just because there isn’t power now doesn’t mean there won’t be power in just a little bit. Meaning that just in case the power comes back on while you’re manually fiddling with the garage door, you don’t want to get electrocuted.

If the power comes back on while you’re working, you could get an electrical shock or be hit by the moving trolley right in the face. Ouch!

Let There Be Light!

If there’s no power, you’re likely not going to be able to see. How are you going to fix the garage if you can’t see? That’s why, if there’s a power outage, one of your first steps should be to get a flashlight. Or, if possible, it’d be even better to get a LED headlamp so your hands will be free. This way, you’ll have light and two hands to work on the garage.

A picture of Brightest Headlamp, Super Bright 18000 Lumen 6 LED Work Headlight With Red Warning Lihgt 8 Modes Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight

Speaking of headlamps, try your best to have one that stays in the garage and is easy to grab. Keep it in the same place and if you remove it, put it right back!

Having a hands-free light will go a long way towards helping you work on your garage door during a power outage.

It’s also a good idea to have the headlamp or other light source in an easy-to-access location because, in an emergency, you might not be thinking straight. When you are in a hurry, trying to search for something in a dark and cluttered area can waste time in an emergency. It can also be dangerous.

If you’re looking for other things to make surviving a power outage easier, Consumer Reports has great tips.

Manually Open Your Garage from Inside

Step 1. Is the Door Closed?

You’re probably looking at this guide in confusion – surely the garage door is closed... that’s why you’re trying to get it open! Just bear with us.

Image of closed garage door from the inside

You need to check that your garage door is completely closed. If you try to disconnect your garage door opener from your garage door when your garage door is open (even a little bit), you will be courting danger!

Quick note: if you’re not in the middle of a power outage but your garage door still won’t open, you might have an issue with the springs. It’s possible a spring is broken or not well balanced.

The full weight of the garage door can crush you if you disconnect the garage door opener when your garage is open. No one wants that, so be careful!

There are a lot of dangers if your garage door is open and you’re trying to get it closed. Thus, if your garage door is stuck in the open position, you should contact garage door specialists at once instead of trying to handle it yourself. It’s not worth the danger!

Another surprisingly relevant tip:

Unless it’s an emergency and you need to leave the house immediately, don’t start manually disconnecting your garage door.

You should wait a bit and consider other options.

The reason for this is that a majority of power outages don’t last for very long. You might find that you’re in the middle of manually working on the garage door when the power comes back on. That would mean all your work and effort is for naught.

During a power outage, consider other options. You can try to take a different car if you have a second one in the driveway. You can get a ride from a friend.

Just don’t jump immediately to disconnect your garage door opener. Unless you’re an extremely lucky person, you’ll have to undo all the work you’ve already done. What a waste of time!

Step 2. Have You Found the Bypass Handle?

Assuming you have a modern garage door, it should have a bypass handle. This is a rope that hangs near the rail that runs between the opener and the door.

It can be hard to keep your head above water in an emergency. All you need to know is that, when the door is closed, this manual release handle and rope should be near the garage door.

Image of a garage door opener bypass release handle

This handle is often red because, you know, emergency, and it is your garage door opener emergency release handle.

Step 3. Pull the Emergency Release Cord

The trolley is the part of the garage door that connects your door and the opening motor. This part moves whenever the garage door is opening or closing—electrically, not manually

If you pull the emergency cord, however, this will disable the trolley operator and make it so you can’t move the garage door using that method anymore.

One of our garage door installer testing the emergency release cord

When the trolley is disconnected, take the time to slide it back an inch or so, away from the door.

Step 4. Have You Found The Lifting Handle?

This is the part of the garage that can help you lift the garage door. This part is typically installed on the bottommost panel or nearby that location.

An easy way to tell if your spring system is well‑balanced is if it is easy to lift your garage door with only one hand. This test will work if you have a single garage door or a double garage door.


If this happens, you have a larger problem on your hands than you thought!

In this case, carefully close the garage door and make sure no one gets close to it. Consider the garage an unsafe space and keep everyone out until you have your door checked, repaired, or have someone perform maintenance on it.

Give your local garage door specialists a call!

If your garage is hard to lift, this is a clear indicator that there’s something wrong—perhaps you have a broken spring or a system that is malfunctioning in other ways. Maybe it’s time to get a whole new garage door opener (which should be a consideration 5 to 7 years).

If you’re one of the many people who believe that the garage door opener is the part that lifts the garage door up... you’d be incorrect.

The garage springs are the part of the garage that are doing the most work and lifting the door up. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is!

Time For a Physics Lesson

Consider this: your garage door probably weighs around 300 lbs on its own. That means that the torsion springs—which are doing the literal heavy lifting—need to exert a force of 300 lbs to make your door easy to open. This means that the springs are under an insane amount of pressure.

Basic Functioning

If your garage door springs are not functioning properly, that means there isn’t anything working to lift those 300 lbs. This means that your garage door is unlikely to open or close if even one of your springs isn’t functioning as well as it should.

Step 5. Reconnect the power!

If Step 4 went well and you’re still around to talk about it, let’s continue.

After the power outage, when the power is back for good, it’s time to connect the garage door with the opener once again. Luckily, the process to reconnect and reset these things is quite easy.

  1. Confirm the garage door is closed.
  2. Pull the red emergency release handle.

3. Manually lift the door – soon, you’ll hear or feel it connect and snap into place.

Next, you have to reconnect the trolly to the opener. To do this, you have to run the opener to open and close the garage completely once. You’ll see that, as the trolly and carriage go past one another on the rail, they’ll click and reconnect. This means you can electronically use your garage door again!

Opening The Door From The Outside (Manually)

If the power is out and you’re stuck outside—and if your garage does not have an access door—you should consider getting an outside quick release.

Picture of an Outside quick release 1702LM

Without the outside quick release, you’ll only have the one entrance and exit to the garage, which can be dangerous in a natural disaster like a fire.

  1. Find the quick release and put the key into the lock.
  2. Turn the key and pull the lock tumbler to engage the release mechanism on the garage door opener carriage.
  3. Open the garage door manually until it stops moving.
  4. Drive the car inside the garage and lower the garage door manually.
  5. Re-engage the release mechanism by pushing upward on the lever with a broom handle.
  6. Make sure that you have another access point to your home.

Still not enough? Do you want more?

If you want to avoid all this hassle, there’s a way to keep power to your garage at all times… Even during a power outage.

If the idea of manually fiddling with your garage during a power outage fills you with dread, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve been considering getting a new garage door opener (replacement for age or just wanting a change), read on and consider an upgrade.

Picture of an included battery backup 485LM

If you want to chase that modern dream, replace your old garage door opener with a new one with a battery backup included. This way, no matter what happens, your garage will have power. You’ll be able to open and close it without worry.

There are many models of garage door openers depending on what you want to accomplish with it and your garage space.

If you’re excited by the idea of Smart Gadgets, look no further than the new generation of LiftMaster garage door openers! You’ll be able to sync this item with any smart device you own, such as a tablet or a smart phone.

A few years ago, LiftMaster, by Chamberlain, made improvements and advancements with their garage door opener equipment. They began including an option that will let the devices connect to Wi-Fi. This uses their MyQ technology, and it’s now incorporated into most LiftMaster products. You’ll be able to control your garage from a device that has access to the same network.

What you can see on your smart phone when you have an integrated camera on your garage door opener

What you can see on your smart phone when you have an integrated camera on your garage door opener.

There’s a specific product called the LiftMaster 87504-267. This product has an integrated camera with 2-way audio. This will allow you to see what’s happening in your garage in real time. Because of the 2-way audio, you’ll also be able to have a conversation with whoever is in your garage! It is also very quiet.

If you feel that a camera in your garage is a step too far, don’t worry. Try the LiftMaster 87802 instead.

An image of a MyQ alert sent on a smart phone

Here is an example of the alert you would receive on your smart phone.

It includes the MyQ app, which will allow you to check your garage door opener from your smart phone. You’ll get notifications and alerts when it’s time to pay attention. This also includes a battery backup.

Do you have a tricky ceiling, such as one that’s super low, blocked by a beam, or extremely tall? Do you want to use ceiling space for storage?

A picture of a wall-mounted LiftMaster 8500W with included side lock 841LM and LED light 827LM

If any of this sounds like what you want, check out the LiftMaster 8500W. This is a wall-mounted electric garage door opener that will fit all your needs and fit your tricky ceiling, too, because it will optimize your garage ceiling space overhead with its siding installation. It will also mount on whatever wall is most convenient on either side of the garage door.

This model also has features such as built-in Wi-Fi and the MyQ app for smart phone control, an Integrated Battery Backup, and the Automatic Garage Door Lock.

Not sure which choice is best for you?

Contact your local garage door and opener experts now.

Mississauga: 905-569-9133

Georgetown: 905-873-4848

To put it bluntly, we love garage door systems. They’re our passion projects and we have loads of expertise that can help you make the best choice! Even if you already own a LiftMaster or Chamberlain garage door opener, you can still add a battery backup.

Whatever your need, B & M Garage Door Inc team is here to help.

If your goal is to replace your opener with something more modern and quieter, we can help you find the best part while sticking within your budget. And if you want, we can provide you with a free quotation by email.

What if you only need to order a checkup service on your door or your opener? You guessed it—we can help with that as well.

Want to go the distance and completely change your garage door, too?

These garage doors are Princeton P 12, in 9'x7' size, doors and overlays in Ice White Color, 8 lite Panoramic windows. Perfect for the farmhouse and the modern farmhouse styles!

Love this look? These garage doors are Princeton P‑12 Design in 9' x 7' size, doors and overlays in Ice White, 8 lite Panoramic windows. Perfect for farmhouse and modern farmhouse styles!

We have a 3 Styles guide to help you in choosing the best unit for your needs and your desired aesthetic. If you’re looking into more ideas, check out our photo album. From there, you can even use our mobile-friendly Design Centre, which will help you see what your garage doors will look like before you even buy anything.

The Design Centre app lets you switch colors, add windows or decorative hardware, explore our choice of different designs, and many more options!

Whatever you need, we’re here to help.

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