California garage door opener law Q&A

Published on By Champion Garage Door Repair

What is Senate Bill 969?

Senate Bill 969 is a California law effective after July 1st 2019 which requires all garage door openers in residential applications to be equipped with a battery backup system as standard.

Why was this bill introduced?

In the 2017 California wildfires, at least 5 people were killed when they became trapped inside their own garages. Some couldn’t use or didn’t know how to use the emergency release feature and couldn’t escape due to power cuts which stopped their garage door openers systems from working.

Do I need to get a new garage door opener?

After July 1st 2019, you will need to buy an operator with a battery backup if you’re going to replace your garage door opener. In fact, garage door openers equipped with battery backup will be the only ones legally on sale in California.

What happens if I sell or install a non-battery backup garage door opener in California after July 1st 2019?

You will be fined $1,000 for each opener. This includes garage door openers which were purchased outside of California.

What about non-motorized doors?

Non-motorized doors do not have to be replaced with mechanical doors, assuming that they are functional manually.

Can I still get parts for my existing non-battery backup door opener?

Yes, you can still purchase parts for non-compliant door openers from the manufacturer and can repair an existing garage door opener, however, if the motor needs to be replaced entirely, then you will need to purchase a new garage door opener with battery backup.

Should I wait until July to replace my garage door opener?

If you’re looking to make the switch to a garage door opener with battery backup, it is recommended that you do so before July, as this will give you plenty of time to get the system installed and up and running before the date that the law goes into effect.

How long does a battery backup system last?

You can normally expect a battery to last 1-2 years with normal use, although this could be extended if you disconnect the battery when the door is unplugged for a long time, such as when you’re on vacation or staying out of your home for a while. Once the battery is depleted, your garage door opener should signal this to you. It is then your legal responsibility to replace the battery backup as soon as possible.

Why is the battery backup only available on DC garage door opener units?

Batteries supply DC (Direct Current) electricity, meaning they are only compatible with garage door openers which run on DC. For this reason, AC units are likely to be phased out in California over the next few years.

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