After the recent wildfires which caused widespread mayhem in California, Senator Bill Dodd has passed a bill, SB 969, which will see all garage door openers being forced to be equipped with battery backup function which will be triggered when a power outage is detected.
The bill comes in response to the wildfires which saw at least 5 people die inside their garages due to becoming trapped. After the power outages which inevitably came with the fires, many Californians found themselves unable to open their garage doors and escape to safety, a phenomenon which senator Bill Dodd hopes will soon become a thing of the past.
According to the legislative counsel’s digest:
“This bill, beginning July 1, 2019, would also require an automatic garage door opener that is manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, or installed in a residence to have a battery backup function that is designed to operate when activated because of an electrical outage.”
Manufacturers and garage door repair companies (among others) who do not comply with these regulations will be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. After July 1, 2019, garage door repair companies such as ourselves cannot legally install a new garage door with a garage door opener system which does not have a battery backup system installed.
Although this is inconvenient for us and many of our customers, it prioritizes safety above all else, and that is ultimately what we want for our customers. Your safety and convenience are our utmost priorities! Now let’s take a more detailed look at these battery backup systems.
A basic guide to backup battery garage door openers
Although the wildfire scenario which caused the bill to get passed is an extreme scenario, power outages can affect you in a myriad of ways, especially if you live in an area which is prone to frequent power cuts. For example, if you cannot open your garage door in the middle of a power cut, you may not be able to access your vehicle in order to get to work and pick your kids up from school. If you live in a rural area, a power cut could effectively leave you stranded.
However, garage door opener with a battery backup features a small 12-volt battery unit which the opener uses as an alternate source of power when the main electrics go down. It’s similar to how hospitals have backup generators in the event of a power cut, except that it’s on a much smaller scale.
Many brands, such as LiftMaster and Chamberlain, already produce garage door openers which comes with a battery backup option, although we’re likely to see many more of these models crop up in the run-up to July 2019. Numerous existing models already have battery units installed within the motor unit, although some can be “updated” and have the feature added on at a later date if they don’t currently have one.
Once a power outage has occurred, a fully-charged garage door opener battery is designed to supply a motor with 24 hours of standby power. During this period, the door can be operated for up to 20 full cycles within an ambient temperature 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. After being fully drained, the batteries recharge in 4 and a half hours, although they are likely to ever be fully drained unless you have an extensive blackout situation.
If you need to invest in a backup battery for your existing garage door opener system, you will be probably be looking at about $100 or so. Similarly, if you need to buy a new garage door opener which comes with a backup battery as standard, you will be spending about $100 more than you would on a standard garage door opener. Of course, as this becomes the norm, the overall price may indeed come down, but for now, you’re looking at paying more for a backup battery system.
California living costs set to rise even further
California is a very popular state to live in, and an awful lot of people want to live here! However, things have recently been reaching a breaking point in terms of the cost of living and the cost of housing, with media companies leaving Hollywood for Atlanta and tech companies leaving Silicon Valley for numerous cities around the country.
It’s no surprise, either. Did you know that you could buy 18 houses in Rochester, NY with the same money that it would cost to buy 1 single house in San Francisco? Similarly, instead of buying 1 house in San Jose, you could buy 11 houses in Memphis, TN.
When property prices are that ridiculously high, it’s no wonder that people are leaving California in droves in search of a cheaper cost of living elsewhere. Unless you’re tied to the state for work or personal reasons, then you might as well buy a home elsewhere and have a hell of a lot more cash to play with afterward!
The recent SB 969 bill is going to be yet another nail in the coffin for California’s exceptional living costs, forcing residents to spend even more money when they get their garage door repaired or getting new garage door installation from scratch. The vast majority of garage doors, of course, can be opened manually with a manual release function, but senators have no real reason to vote against “more safety”, which is why the bill passed 53 to 6.
How this affects local garage door services in Orange County and California
As already mentioned, it will be against the law for us to install and connect garage doors to antiquated systems without battery backup as of July 1, 2019. This may affect the garage door opener repair and installation price of local garage door companies in Orange County and California, as we will be forced to install garage door openers which have backup battery power within them, and these are more expensive than standard garage door openers.
Therefore, when getting a new garage door opener and/or a new garage door system installed, the new law force garage door companies to charge you extra for the installation of a high-end garage door opener that includes battery backup system, meaning that you will pay more money among the already sky-high living costs found in Orange County and California.
Of course, if you already have a garage door opener which is equipped with a battery backup option, then you won’t notice any real difference in price. However, those who previously could not afford a high-end battery backup for their door opener will not be forced to purchase one regardless going forward.
Although you could argue that this is for Californians’ own safety, and that is somewhat true, the extra $50-$150 or more than residents will have to pay when they get their garage doors fitted is going to make life even tougher for those who already live on the poverty line, all because of a draconian bill.
Dorian Currier of Door Dorks in San Diego also noted that this bill could see illegal companies operating more effectively:
“This bill will potentially hurt businesses that are following the law.”
He went on to explain that illegal companies which manufacturer low-quality garage door opener units will be able to do so even more easily by offering low-quality units for low prices which lack a battery backup component inside them. When these low-grade illegal units are compared to the cheapest models of the manufacturers which are following the law, cash-strapped Californians will inevitably be tempted to go with the cheapest option available to them – one which is illegal and dangerous.
The laws regarding garage doors have never been touched since the early 1990s before now, and many local stakeholders in California have found this bill to be “stupid” and typical of Californian politics. Nonetheless, for better or for worse, the law will be enforced throughout the state on July 1, 2019.
A garage door repair service you can trust
Here at Champion Garage Door Repair, we make our prices as affordable and competitive as possible. With the introduction of this new bill, ourselves and our competitors will all be forced to charge more for garage door repair and installation because the new law require you to install a model which follows the new standards.
Nonetheless, we hope that our garage door repair and installation service will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. As a dedicated garage door repair team, we are passionate about garage door openers and can provide you with all the information you need to know about the backup battery openers and how to go about getting one if you don’t already have one installed. Looking for more information on SB 969 and openers with battery backup? Contact us today to find out more and see how we can help!