Check out the photo below.  Can you guess what's missing?  Here's a hint: this garage doesn't have a service door, but it does have a automatic garage door opener installed.

Garage Door 

If you said "pizazz" you would be correct, and you might also make for a good home stager, but that's not what I'm talking about today.  This door is missing an emergency release.

If the power went out, the GFCI outlet inside the garage tripped, or the garage door opener failed, the owner would be locked out of this garage.  The fix for this is quite simple – install an emergency release kit.

Emergency Release Kit  

These kits cost about $15, and they take about ten minutes to install, if you really take your sweet time.  This is a very DIY project.  The only tools you'll need are a drill, drill bits, and a wrench.

These emergency release kits are very simple devices – they connect to the pull-cord on the garage door opener, allowing you to disconnect your overhead door from the opener, as shown in the photos below.

Emergency Release In Action 
Emergency Release 

When I inspect old houses in Minneapolis and Saint Paul and I find garages without a service door, I always tell my clients to install an emergency release kit.  It could save a lot of hassle in the future.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minneapolis Home Inspector

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About Reuben Saltzman

Reuben is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Sharlene has worked with Structure Tech since 2000 and Reuben has been contributing to her blog since 2008.

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