How to Manually Open a Garage Door Without Power

automatic garage doors
October 19, 2023

Has your automatic power system failed, making you browse how to open a garage door manually? We are here to spare you the trouble with well-curated steps for opening an electric garage door without power. The automatic garage doors have made the task incredibly convenient for us. However, a power outage can rip you off of the convenience. This blog has elaborated on steps to manually open a garage door, which will get you in and out of the garage in no time. Let’s begin!

Can You Manually Open a Garage Door?

Luckily, yes. You can manually open a garage door when the power system fails to work. An automated garage door comes with an in-built system that allows you to open and close it manually whenever necessary. Such a garage door has a manual opening cord that helps you disconnect the door from the automatic system. Once the cord is disconnected, you can easily lift as well as lower the garage door by hand. 

Safety Tips for Opening a Garage Door Manually

A guide to how to open a garage door manually is incomplete without considering the safety factor. Often, we tend to overlook safety guidelines when using automated garage doors. However, the heavy weight of a garage door and the large amount of tension acting on the door’s torsion springs can make manual handling riskier if approached carelessly. Here are some of the safety factors you need to consider to open a garage door manually:

1. Check the User Manual

Before manually handling the garage door, ensure you are familiar with the system components. For familiarity, you can check the user manual. It will provide you with a general idea of the components and how to use them to open the garage door when the power is out.

2. Disconnect the Garage Door Opener

Always disconnect the garage door opener from the power source before manually opening the garage door to ensure your safety. If you do not unplug the opener while working to open it manually, the system will automatically try to open the door once the power is back. Hence, it might interrupt the process and make the task difficult.

3. Get Help from a Technician

If you find the process difficult, call a technician right away. The garage doors are heavy and are assembled with a complex mechanism. Careless handling can lead to physical injury and cause damage to the system. Therefore, leaving the task to experts is a good idea to avoid any harm.

4. Only Pull the Emergency Release Cord When the Door is Down

Pulling the emergency release cord when the door is open can get dangerous. If you do so, the heavy garage door will move down rapidly and might injure you. So, when the door is open during a power outage, you can either wait for the power to come back or call a technician to close the door.

5. Engage the Manual Lock

The automatic garage lock is out of function when the power is out. Therefore, for security purposes, you have to use the manual lock. This manual lock is generally placed inside the garage beside the door. Once you slide the lock, the door cannot be opened until you slide it back.

6. Visually Inspect the Garage Door Components for Issues

Visually examine if the parts of the garage door, including springs, cables, and rollers, are in the right condition. If there are any faulty components, it might cause physical injury while handling the garage door manually. In case of any defect in the system, do not attempt to open the door without a technician’s help.

7. Do not Leave the Garage Door Unsupervised

During a power outage, the door disengages from the automatic system, and nothing is holding the door in its place. The door can come down, crashing on the floor with great force. So, in this case, if a person stands beneath the door, it can cause some serious physical damage. So, clear the way and don’t let people walk around the door until it is shut.

Steps to Manually Open a Garage Door When Power is Out

In the event of a power outage, your garage door won’t have access to the automatic system. And this disconnection from the power will prevent your garage door from sliding automatically. So, in this case, the manual system comes to the rescue.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to open the garage door manually:

1. Keep the Door in the Down Position

Before you engage in the manual opening of the garage door, ensure it is down entirely. Attempting to disengage the opener when the door is open is hazardous. In such a case, faulty springs may imbalance the door, causing it to bang on the ground rapidly. Therefore, to avoid the risk, always make sure the door is down before you begin the manual process.

2. Unplug the Opener

Locate the opener mounted near the garage door and unplug it by disconnecting it from the power source. The unplugged opener will disengage the door from the automatic system. Once the disconnection is established, it will allow you to perform the manual operation without any interruption, even after the power is back.

3. Find the Emergency Release Cord

The emergency release cord can be found hanging by the ceiling near the garage door. It is a cord with a small red handle and is connected to the trolley. The function of the release cord is to disconnect the garage door from the automatic system and allow manual handling during emergencies such as power outages.

4. Pull the Emergency Release Cord

Now, you can pull down the emergency release cord. Pulling the cord will establish the disconnection between the trolley and the garage door, allowing you to lift the door manually.

5. Manually Move the Garage Door

After pulling the emergency release cord, you can now manually handle the garage door. To move the door, grab it comfortably and slide it in an upward motion. Slide the door until it completely opens and rests on the ceiling.

6. Reconnect the Trolley to the Opener

Now, you have to connect the opener to the trolley to re-engage the automatic system of the garage door. Grab the door and pull it down until it closes completely. Then, pull the emergency release cord. You will hear a snap sound suggesting that the switch has reconnected.

You will have no problem getting in and out of the garage if you stick to the process mentioned above. However, if the steps do not work for you, chances are that your door has some defects. You can contact Express Garage Door to help you with it.

Steps to Reconnect Your Automatic Trolley to Garage Door Opener

To reconnect the garage door to the automatic system, you should reconnect the trolley to the opener. The reconnection will allow the system to access the power source and help the door move automatically when the power is back. Therefore, follow the below-mentioned steps to establish reconnection between the trolley and the opener to enable the automatic system:

Step 1: Shut the Garage Door

The garage door must be entirely closed to begin this process. Pull down the garage door using your hands and close the garage door completely. Check if the door touches the ground, leaving no gap. If you detect any gap, try to push the door further down all the way to the floor.

Step 2: Pull the Emergency Release Cord

The emergency cord, a red cord hanging by the ceiling, connects the door to the trolley. So, after the door is shut, pull the emergency cord. Pulling this cord will re-establish the connection between the trolley and the door for automatic operation.

Step 3: Plug in the Opener

To connect the door to the automatic system, plug the opener into a power socket near the door. The plugged-in opener discharges electrical power to the other components and re-engages the automatic system of your garage door.

Step 4: Activate Using Remote Control

Using the garage door remote will help you check if the door is connected to the automatic system. The door should open and close automatically after pressing the remote control’s command buttons.

Tips to Avoid Your Garage Door from Being Stuck During Power Outage

You can easily slide the garage door with manual operation, even during a power outage. But, it may not be the case all the time. Sometimes, you may have to deal with a stuck garage door during a power outage. However, you can do a few things to avoid this situation.

  • The garage door must be fully closed: If the door is not fully closed before the power is off, opening the door can get difficult, and you might get stuck inside the garage.
  • Timely maintenance of the garage door: The garage door, emergency release cord, and opener must be regularly examined. It will help you detect any issues with the door and save you time and money.
  • Install a backup power system: Install a battery backup for the garage door to keep it running automatically even during a power outage.
  • Get familiar with the manual release system: Almost all garage doors have a manual release system. So, learning how to operate a manual release system will help you to get out of the garage in emergencies.
  • Ensure the emergency cord is reachable: The emergency release cord is usually hanging by the top of the garage door. While installing the cord, you can ensure it is within your reach for manual operation during a power outage.

Call the Technicians at Express Garage Door If Your Garage Door is Stuck

If you are still having trouble with your garage door, contact the technicians at Express Garage Door right away. The team of experts at Express Garage Door are professionals with years of expertise in handling complicated problems and finding the right solutions. To fix any of the garage door problems, contact us at 214-543-2891 or reach us via email at

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You have to use the emergency release cord to manually close your garage door when the power is out. Locate the red release cord hanging by the ceiling near the door and pull it down. It will disconnect the system from the trolly, which frees the door for manual handling. Then, you can move the door down with your hands. After the door is fully down, lock the door using a manual lock beside the garage door to secure the garage until the power is back.

There might be several reasons why you are unable to open the garage door manually. Damage to some parts, clogging of the door, or misalignment of the components are some potential causes. You can use lubrication to avoid clogging or jamming of the parts. But, if you detect any kind of damage, we, Express Garage Door, advise you to get help from a technician.

Yes, you can open your roll-up garage door even when the power is out. First, disengage the opener from the power source and cut the system off of the power supply. Now, pull the emergency release cord and disconnect the door from the trolley. It will free the door for manual handling. Now, grab the door with your hand and push it upward. Your roll-up door will slide up and open manually.

Locate the key slot outside the garage door and insert the key. Turn it 90 degrees to the left or right until it stops moving, and then pull the key out. You will see a cable attached to the key as you pull it out. As you pull the key, you will hear a clicking sound, which suggests that you have successfully disconnected the garage door opener. Then, put the key back into the garage door lock and turn it around. After you pull the key out, you can manually open the door.

Yes. It is possible to open the garage door from outside without electrical power. You will need a garage door key to open the door. The function of the key is to detach the garage door from the automatic system. The detached garage door can be easily opened and closed manually. However, if you do not have the key, a garage door technician from Expert Garage Door can help you fix it.

Absolutely! You can easily open or close the garage door when the power is off. But, to do so, you have to disconnect the garage door opener and pull down the emergency release cord. After you disconnect the garage door from the automatic system, you won’t need electrical power to open and close the door.