It’s hurricane prep season in Houston and the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is about to kick off the 2018 Extreme Weather Ready Expo, which takes place June 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This free, family-friendly event is the perfect opportunity to prepare yourself and your home for worst-case weather scenarios. If you haven’t yet seen it on your social feeds, be sure to also check out the OEM’s Disaster Preparedness Guide for even more tips and advice on what to do during an emergency. Here at NationServe, we believe that you can never be too prepared. We’ve even put together a quick guide of our own to help you get your garage doors ready for Houston’s upcoming hurricane season.

What’s so important about my garage door?

As you get your home hurricane-ready, it’s important that you pay special attention to your garage door. Why? If it were to fail during a storm, the resulting hole would create a pressure change strong enough to blow your roof clear off, leaving your home and its contents exposed to the elements. Although all windows and doors are vulnerable in high winds, your garage door, being the largest, poses the biggest threat to your home. In fact, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, garage door failures were to blame for 80% of damage done to homes in recent hurricane seasons.

Disaster Preparation Kit

How can I prepare my garage door for extreme weather?

Garage doors are rated according to their wind load, which refers to their ability to withstand high-speed winds. In the aftermath of Hurricane Celia in 1970, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association was established to update building codes in areas vulnerable to extreme weather. These enhanced safety regulations introduced mandatory wind load requirements for garage doors. In waterfront areas near Houston such as Aransas and Galveston counties, for example, garage doors must be able to withstand three-second gusts of 130 miles per hour winds. Further inland, that number drops to 110 miles per hour. Improving your garage door’s wind load is an excellent way to secure your home against hurricanes.

Hurricane winds in Houston

If you’re in the market for a new door, we recommend one of Wayne Dalton’s WindSafe models, whose wind load reinforcements meet the Texas Department of Insurance’s standards. You can also call us to have your existing door wind loaded. Although you might be tempted to purchase a wind load kit and install it yourself, we highly advise that you forgo the DIY route and leave this job to the experts. At NationServe, we’ll guarantee you a job well done using only the highest quality materials and procedures. The result: a stronger, more wind-resistant door—and a more peaceful night’s sleep for you and your family in any weather.

How do I open my Wayne Dalton garage door without power?

The weather outside took a turn for the worse, and you’re huddled in your basement with the family. The power is out. You know that the safest thing to do is stay put and wait for the storm to pass, but you absolutely need to get to the drug store to pick up your little one’s medication. Your car is parked in the garage. What do you do?

It’s always a good idea to know how to manually open your garage door without the help of your automatic opener. Here are the steps to follow—why not practice them while the sun is shining?

  1. Enter your garage and look for the emergency release cord that hangs from the center rail of the opener. This cord is typically red with a rectangular red handle.
  2. Pull on the cord. This will disconnect the door from the opener and allow you to open it manually.
  3. Lift the door straight up until it’s fully open. Be careful—garage doors can weigh hundreds of pounds, and you definitely don’t want to find yourself underneath one that’s in a precarious position.
  4. After you’ve retrieved what you need, carefully lower the door back to the floor. Keep in mind that as long as it’s unplugged from the opener, your door is in manual mode and can easily be opened from the outside. You’ll need to use the lock bar to secure it shut.
  5. Reconnect the door to the opener when the power comes back on. Don’t forget to remove the lock bar before opening the door electronically to prevent major damage.

What should I do if my garage door sustains storm damage?

No garage door is 100% immune to hurricane damage. If severe weather leaves your garage door in disrepair, don’t panic—call the experts at NationServe. We’re used to working with Houston homeowners to restore the integrity and appearance of their garage doors after a hurricane. Trust us: fixing a garage door isn’t a task you want to tackle on your own. Instead, sit back and enjoy the post-storm sun while our trained technicians deal with the damage.

At NationServe, our mission is to ensure your garage door is able to fulfill its crucial role of protecting your home from the hazards of the outdoors. For all your garage door installation, service and repair needs in Houston and beyond, call America’s garage door experts at (855) 915 3667 or click here to request a quote.