Any new garage door/opener installation in the state of California is now required to include a battery backup. The near-unanimous passage of Senate Bill 969 in 2018 was in response to the devastating wildfires in 2017 in which several frantic homeowners were unable to get their cars out of garages due to power outages, and subsequently died when flames engulfed their homes. Every automatic garage door already comes with a red emergency cord that, when pulled, frees the door to open manually, but many do not know how to use it or even know what it is for. Some elderly residents are simply not physically able to manually open their doors.
The key points of the new law you need to be aware of:
- The law affects only the purchase and installation of new automatic garage doors and garage door openers.
- Existing openers without battery backup will not need to be replaced unless the garage door is also being replaced.
- There will be a civil penalty of $1,000 for failure to comply. Openers in non-compliance cannot be manufactured, sold, or installed in the state of California.
If you are in the market for a new garage door opener or considering a completely new garage door system, you will need to buy an opener that complies with the battery backup requirement even if you are only looking to replace the door itself. There is no legal way of reattaching an older, non-compliant opener motor to a new door. Automatic Door Specialists will be glad to share with you all the ramifications of the law and review your best options for keeping your garage door system good to operate for years to come.
At Automatic Door Specialists, the safety of our customers always comes first. ADS stocks the latest and best selection of openers that provide battery backup. We are aware that there are unscrupulous installers who may be tempted to cheat on this law in order to use up existing inventory or undercut bids from law-abiding companies. ADS specialists are fully trained to install and service this new generation of openers. Even if you do not anticipate needing to upgrade your opener, you may want to consider the value of a battery backup. Also, the BBUs (battery backups) require direct current (DC), so alternating current (AC) models will be effectively banned from future installation.
We also encourage you, as we have often mentioned in our blogs, to familiarize yourself with that bright red manual release cord and how to use it. A couple of minutes of testing in a relaxed, non-emergency situation may just prove to be a lifesaver. Regardless of the fire risks, there are other times this simple device can save you a lot of trouble. Being well informed and prepared is central to home safety, for this and many other matters.
We welcome your questions, and, as always, will provide full, honest, and knowledgeable answers.