Drive through any neighborhood, and you’re bound to see a handful of garage doors cracked open a bit to ventilate the garage. This has become more common since pets who were once second class citizens have now become the king of the castle.
In this article, we are going to answer some common questions related to leaving your garage door partially open and any risks associated with it.
Does it Hurt the Springs to Leave the Garage Door Cracked Open?
No, it does not. Leaving your garage door cracked open a few inches for ventilation is no different from leaving it in the closed position. When a garage door is in the down position, the spring and cables are under a full load.
Partially opening your garage door, so it’s cracked for pets to come and go, won’t change the load on the spring and cables. As long as your garage door is properly balanced, the cables and spring will be under the same load and the automatic opener will be fine as well.
Leaving Garage Door Cracked Open for a Cat
One of the most common reasons for leaving a garage door cracked open is for pets. This could be for pets you have in a kennel in the garage or more free roaming pets like cats. Either way, it’s very common to do so and it won’t hurt anything.
If you have pets in a garage kennel in the summer, I highly recommend leaving the garage door cracked open and installing a fan to help with ventilation. Garage temperatures can easily get 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which can be dangerous for pets.
Dangers of Leaving Your Garage Door Cracked Open
The number one danger of leaving your garage door cracked open is someone could crawl under your door and enter the garage. Once inside, a person could take what’s inside the garage or worse, enter your home to harm your family.
If a person did enter your garage with a universal remote, they could program it to your automatic garage door opener, so they have access at a later date. People that do this kind of thing will use the remote to gain entry for themselves or sell it to a criminal looking for easy ways to get inside a home.
Last, leaving your garage door partially open could invite pests and varmints to enter, which could cause damage or pose a threat. We have seen on many occasions where raccoons have damaged safety sensor wires, causing hundreds of dollars in damage. Most pests that come into your garage are seeking food or warmth.
A more common pest that we see in garages is snakes. Snakes can easily crawl under a garage door that is cracked open and enter the garage. The more stuff someone has in a garage, the easier it is for them to hide.
This particular snake was harder to see and was hiding behind the garage door vertical tracks. The garage was dark in the corners, and we were able to get a photo with the flash on the camera.
This particular snake got caught up in the operation of the garage door, and the homeowner had no idea. Usually, when this happens, the snake is cut in half or smashed. We have seen occasionally where a snake has caused a garage door to fully come off track.
How To Partially Open the Garage Door
Partially Open Garage Door With Chamberlain or LiftMaster Opener
Leaving your garage door cracked open with a Chamberlain, LiftMaster, or Craftsman opener can be tricky. The reason for this is these openers automatically reverse when the wall button is pressed as they close.
To leave the garage door partially open, you will need to first fully close the door. The next part is the tricky part. You will need to press the button to open the garage door, and immediately press it again to stop it where you want it as it opens from the floor.
Completing this tricky task is easier when using the wall button versus the remote. There will be a bit of delay when using the remote, which can leave the garage door higher off the floor than desired.
Partially Open Garage Door With Genie Opener
Leaving your garage door partially cracked open will be easier if you have a Genie garage door opener. Genie openers will stop right in their tracks (pun intended) when you press the button when they are closing. This allows you to easily stop the door right where you want it.
Improving Ventilation in a Garage
If you’re not comfortable leaving your garage door cracked open, you can install vents in the bottom section, which will move air in the garage. Vents are normally installed on non-insulated garage doors, as it would be pointless to install them on insulated garage doors.
Another option is to have a contractor install a ceiling or wall fan vent that is designed to draw hot air out of the garage in the summer. These fans do a fantastic job at getting rid of excess heat that normally sits stale in the garage.
Does Leaving the Garage Door Open Make Your Home Warmer?
One of the most common complaints we hear from homeowners is the heat in the garage makes their upstairs bedroom warmer. This is mainly because most new homes today are not built to the best standards, and builders will use minimum spec’d products during construction.
Leaving your garage door cracked open to allow the hot air to escape can help keep your home cooler, as you won’t have a hot box sitting right next to your living space. Using fans to push the hot air out can also help.
Keeping Your Garage Door Partially Open in the Summer or Winter?
If there was ever a time to keep your garage door partially open, it would be the summer. By leaving the garage door cracked open, you will help to expel excess heat that is drawn under the garage door.
Leaving your garage door cracked open in the winter does not make as much since. Climates with harsh winters are doing everything possible to keep heat inside the home. Letting freezing cold air into the garage will make it harder for you to heat your home and is not recommended.
Accidentally Leave Your Garage Door Open?
If you have a habit of leaving your garage door open for extended periods of time, you may want to look into a timer to close device. You can purchase products that will connect to your existing garage door opener that will automatically close your garage door after a specified time.
The LiftMaster myQ app also has similar functionality built-in that allows you to schedule a specific time in the day your garage door will close. You can schedule the opener to close the door every evening at 8pm, which prevents your garage door from being open overnight.
Is It Illegal to Leave Your Garage Door Open?
The answer to this question would reside with your Homeowners Association. Different neighborhoods have different rules as to what is allowed.
Being able to leave your garage door open for extended periods of time should not be illegal. But as we all know, HOA groups have become very controlling, and it would not surprise me if it was not allowed in some neighborhoods.
Leaving your garage door cracked open is not going to cause any unneeded stress or premature failure with your garage door as long as it’s running properly. Using common sense as to when to leave your garage door open will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe from unwanted guests.