California Garage Door Openers Must Work in a Power Outage

garage door openers must work in a power outage

An interesting item tucked away in the local section of the Sac Bee yesterday says California garage door openers must work in a power outage. Automatic garage door openers not operating during a power outage has spurred this effort to save lives. Apparently, during the 2017 wildfires in California, 5 people died because they could not get their garage door open after losing electrical power. This is a new law governing garage door openers sold after July 1, 2019. The new Senate Bill 969 passed the Senate 39-0 and the House 65-7. Our governor signed it into law on September 21, 2018.

Who knew? I sure didn’t hear about this. You’d think that the California Association of Realtors would have published information about this upcoming change. Well, of course, there is still time; but after a bill is signed into law, it’s kinda late to oppose or offer additional insight. The whole reason CAR exists is for political adversary.

Still, it will be a difficult law to impose because it will take a while for things to shake out. The law states a garage door opener sold after July 1, 2019 must include a backup battery. It is the backup battery that can then take over during a power outage and supply power to the garage door opener. I can see it now, nobody will test their backup batteries and they will run out of juice without anybody knowing it. However, the civil penalty is $1,000 if your brand new garage door opener does not work with a backup battery.

Sure, some people will say, hey, can’t you just yank the red cord? That disconnects the garage door opener and frees it so you can manually lift the door. Although the problem with that is some older people cannot manually lift their garage door. If there was ever a reason for seniors to hit the gym, this could be one motivator. I know the day is bound to arrive when I won’t be in a position to open a garage door without help. Unlike my broker friend Barbara Todaro in Massachusetts. She is my heroine.

Are you wondering how will this new law making garage door openers work in a power outage will affect a Sacramento Realtor? It won’t at the moment. However, next year, if a seller replaces her garage door opener after July 1, 2019, it better utilize a backup battery. Or, unless a Realtor is selling a home built after July of 2019, which could happen in our Sacramento resale market a year from next summer. This is one of those new law changes we need to be aware of and make our sellers aware.

garage door openers must work in a power outage

This new California law that garage door openers must work in a power outage made me think about 1996, when my husband and I built a 24 x 24 garage. With our own two hands. One of the most enjoyable times of my life and, based on his “I hate wood” mentality, the worst for my husband. Yes, this is a photograph above of me pounding 2x4s. 

Elizabeth Weintraub

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