How To Override The Electric System And Operate Your Garage Door Manually

Owning an automatic garage door is a convenient luxury. There is no greater feeling than being able to simply press a remote to be safely inside your garage, secure and away from the elements.

Most of us are entirely dependent on our automatic garage door openers. They deliver a wonderful convenience for our hectic life’s but we often take them for granted. Those same outside elements that you’re protected from inside your garage can bring with it power outages that can leave your garage door incapacitated. This can leave with you in the inability to get out or in, both are situations that can definitely ruin your day. Whether it is a brutal snowstorm, a hurricane, a windstorm, or another disturbance to the electrical grid, it is important to be prepared for when your garage door becomes useless and therefore a huge inconvenience.

There can be other reasons for an inoperable garage door. Maybe it’s not an electrical fault and you lost the remote, but it is crucial to understand how to override the electric system and operate your garage door manually so that you can carry on with your day to day life with no worries.

The Bypass Trigger

Your garage door is most likely equipped with a bypass trigger that shuts off the automatic opener so that you are able to use the garage door manually. Pretty much all garage door remotes have a bypass trigger for when your garage door is in defect due to a power outage, a dead remote opener or the garage door motor going awry.

The Rope & Handle

Look for a red rope hanging down from your garage door opener system, the rope with a handle connected to the end. That’s your bypass trigger. This is the emergency release cord that disengages the trolley from the attachment point on the rail. Depending on the length of the cord and the height of your garage, you may need a ladder to safely reach the rope.

If however, in the slight chance that your bypass cord is broken or rusted give us a call. You can potentially cut out the old cord and replace it with a new one yourself, but it is vital that you make sure it is secure otherwise you could cause major damage to your door or to yourself.

But before you do anything!

Before pulling the release rope, make sure the garage door is fully closed because if your garage door is even just partially open, the garage door will fall when the bypass cord is released. This could cause serious damage to the garage door and anything that may be underneath the door when it falls as it may slam shut at a violent speed which is dangerous to objects, animals or people standing nearby.

Before attempting any work on your garage door, make sure that the power is fully off to avoid any electrical shocks.

And, if your garage door is stuck open, contact our professional repair servicemen to fix the door safely instead of attempting to fix this yourself. It is a simple low-risk task but there any many elements that can cause serious damage if not executed correctly.

The Process

If the garage door is fully shut it is safe to pull the bypass cord. Make sure to pull the rope down and towards the back of the garage (or towards the motor) as this will prevent the rope from getting caught on the tracks.

When you yank down on this handle, the automated opener carriage that normally opens and closes the door is released from the trolley. This allows the door to slide freely on the trolley without the help of the electric mechanism.

When you’ve successfully disengaged the mechanism, you will hear a “pop” which means the motor is no longer connected to the door. You should then be able to easily lift the garage door. Using both hands, grip and raise the door from the bottom.

If you feel any resistance when trying to lift your garage door, stop and contact a professional, do not use force. If your garage door does not open smoothly after pulling the release cord, this could mean the door is off of its track, or the springs are broken.

Keep lifting the garage door until it is fully overhead. Without the automated lifting mechanism, the door can slide back down if it is not open entirely. When shutting the garage door, make sure you lower it slowly and manually lock it by sliding the lock bar.

Make sure to keep the rope out of the way when the garage door is in manual mode. Pull it back and as close to the garage door opener motor as you can.

You will now be able to open and close your door manually.


It is important to secure the door by propping it open or by having others hold it while you exit out of the garage as the door may not stay open during manual mode and potentially may come crashing down if the springs are faulty.

What To Do When The Power Returns

When your power comes back on you can reconnect the opener but make sure the door is unlocked when the opener is reconnected. If you open the garage door electrically while the lock bar is in place you can cause major damage to your garage door.

Firstly make sure the garage door is closed to avoid it crashing down. Pull down on the handle at the end of the rope again, but this time towards the garage opening to keep the lever from engaging. The next step is to pull up on the garage door until you hear or feel it snap back into place. To do this automatically you can push the button on your automatic opener as the spring attachment will reconnect once the opener reaches a certain point.

It may not start working automatically when the electricity comes back on and may need to be reset. Try unplugging your opener for 30 seconds and then plugging it back in. If it still doesn’t work, there may be serious damage so make sure to contact a professional to take a proper look at it. They will be able to make sure it is reset properly to prevent damage and avoid any future problems with your garage door.

If this does not work, give us a call. The power outage may have made the automatic opener inoperable and our expert garage door technicians will need to assess the situation and make the necessary repairs for you.

If A Power Outage Is Not Responsible

If you are not dealing with a power outage and your garage door stops working, you might be dealing with a more pressing issue that has nothing to do with an electrical fault.

One of the most common garage door problems is torsion or extension springs that are faulty. Garage doors are made of heavy materials such as steel and the torsion and extension springs help reduce the amount of stress on the garage door opener.

You could also be dealing with broken or loose cables, a door dislodged from its track or your garage door remote may be malfunctioning. If you have any questions or worries please give us a call.

If your springs are in good condition, the door should lift easily with little resistance, and the door should stay up when you’ve raised it all the way. However, if your door is impossible or difficult to lift, or if it slides down once you’ve lifted it overhead, you are probably dealing with a springs issue. This means to call us right away as your garage door is in need of repair serviced by professionals.

Knowing how to manually operate your garage door does more than help you avoid day to day inconveniences, it can help you navigate emergencies.

Although you can place the garage door in manual mode yourself, if you at any point feel nervous or worried please give us a call. It may look like an easy fix but nothing is worth getting hurt in the process.

If you have completed all the steps and your garage door is still inoperable, make sure to call us and one of our trained technicians will assess your door to find the root of the problem. We can fix your garage door in a professional and timely manner so you don’t have to worry about manually opening your garage door.

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