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zip tie on the garage door opener

Protection From Home Invasions

Zip Tie on The Garage Door Opener

Are you familiar with the phrase “robbing Peter to pay Paul?” It essentially means you’re solving a problem by creating another problem.

When it comes to putting a zip tie on the garage door opener, I can think of no better explanation.

Before I get to why, here is the crux of the situation.

All overhead garage doors with modern sectional configuration are susceptible to break-ins. And really, all it takes is a matter of seconds for criminals to execute their craft.

Here’s how:

Criminal pushes in the top panel of the garage door, and slides a coat hanger through the opening. In doing so, they’re targeting your emergency pull cord, and with a slight tug, release the cord, allowing your door to be easily rolled up by hand. Done deal, they’re in.

It’s that simple.

Zip TIe ON the Garage Door OPENER

You might be thinking, if the emergency cord can be so easily accessed and pulled, there must be just as easy a way to prevent it. And, unfortunately, many would tell you you’re right.

In fact, a simple Google search will yield hundreds of results on the subject, many of which claim that zip tying the emergency release so it can’t be manipulated by hanger is the way to go.

Some of those same articles say to cinch the tie tight enough so that a coat hanger can’t release it, but loose enough so that an adult can still break it should they need to in an emergency.

To say it more clearly, the direction being given is to secure the safety of your garage door – and your belongings and loved ones on the inside – by making the already-in-place emergency mechanism less safe (Peter, Paul).

Now, I can’t debate whether or not an adult would be able to yank the zip tie loose when pulling the cord in an emergency. The point is, though, why chance it? What happens if there is a car in the garage (which if you’re home, there is a good chance there will be) preventing you from getting enough leverage to make a strong yank? And remember, this is during an emergency, and who knows just how frantic such a situation will be.

The International Door Association – operating under the mission to be the “leading trade association representing the door and access system industry by providing advocacy, education, and collaboration…” – also prepared and posted the following:

“Garage doors with operators feature an emergency release device that can be readily identified—just look for the red cord with a red handle. This device is required by law for the purpose of quick disengagement of the operator. It should never be modified, including the addition of a zip-tie for the purpose of security.”

zip tie on the garage door opener 

Never use a zip tie to prevent 6 second garage door break-ins.


“Removing the red handle is not recommended and strongly discouraged. The handle is required by UL 325 and federal law. It is there for emergencies such as a child being entrapped under the door.”

When all is said and done, the intention here is to not use scare tactics to get a point across, but rather to present the other side of the story. No advice should be taken at face value, and this is an instance where deep thought must be given to such a crucial decision.

What to do instead?

So, where do you go from here? Some have mentioned removing the cord altogether, where, if you follow the logic presented above, you probably can’t imagine how this could be a good idea (hint: it’s not).

Another option is to purchase a manual garage door lock that can be added to the interior or exterior of the garage door. But again, how does a garage door lock work? Whichever of the lock options you go for, you’re typically going to have to lock and unlock the door by hand each and every time you’d like to use it.

This means when you leave for work and need to pull the car out, as well as when you return after a long day and need to pull the car in. Anytime you need to use the door, you’ll have to go through the trouble of locking and unlocking by hand.

And then, again, in the event of an emergency, disengaging the lock is an extra step that needs to be taken before the door can easily be opened. With all of this said, you might find a manual door lock then only makes sense if you’ll be out of town for a prolonged period of time, or if you truly aren’t relying on the garage door as an entry or exit point.

So, with dwindling options, where can you turn? The goal is to find a solution that prevents a coat hanger from pulling the release cord, but also leaves your garage door to be easily opened and closed at will.

Enter Garage Shield, which is a simple, durable, and reliable garage door anti-theft device that inhibits the ability for a simple coat hook from accessing the release mechanism and/or emergency rope on the garage opener track assembly.

At the end of the day, if you don’t think you need a Garage Shield, fine, no problem.

Please, though, use extreme care and caution when it comes to “securing” your home, and think twice about the zip tie method. The measures you’re taking to keep the bad out can provide just as detrimental of an experience when you’re trying to get out.

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