New CA Law On Automatic Garage Door Openers Having A Battery Backup: What You Need To Know

For the longest time now, automatic garage doors have been powered directly by the mains power. This has meant that in the event of a power outage, the door can no longer be opened using the wall panel or the remote opener. Of course, there is the manual operation option which requires that you lift or close the door physically.
However, starting July 1 2019, this will change – at least in the state of California. This is after Senate Bill 969 was passed (mostly unanimously) back in 2018. And now the new law is set to take effect in just a matter of days.
What does the new law say?
The new law requires that all automatic garage door openers manufactured, sold, purchased or installed on July 1st or after must have a battery backup. The openers should be able to function even without direct power supply.
Anyone found in the state of California after this date manufacturing, selling, or offering to sell a garage door opener that contradicts this new law shall be liable for a civil fine of $1,000 per unit. And any ‘installed and operational’ contravening unit will attract a fine of $500. The latter could apply to installers, contractors, builders, and home owners/landlords.Do I have to replace my old garage door opener now?The new law does not require every home owner in CA to go out and buy a new garage door opener with the battery backup function. Not at all. You can keep using your unit as is. However, should you need to replace your garage door or your garage door opener then you will need to purchase a new opener that does have a battery backup.But you don’t have to wait for all that in order to upgrade. You can get yourself one of these garage openers today.

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They range at between $250 and $400 with some units selling for much higher due to added features such as smartphone operation or secure garage deliveries.What brought about the new law?The Senate Bill 969 was inspired by the devastating wildfires of 2017. These fires caused damage worth hundreds of millions, killed about 45 and injured roughly 200 people. In the bill hearings it was heard how power outages due to the fires hampered the smooth evacuation of some residents especially the disabled, the sick, and the elderly. Four people reportedly died because they could not manually operate their doors at this time.It is hoped that switching to garage door openers with a battery backup function will help avoid a reoccurrence of the same in the future. The bill also fully recognizes that it will take some time before all the homes in CA have the new garage door openers.If you would like to learn more about the Senate Bill 969, click here.