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How to operate the manual release on your garage door

From grid overloads on hot days to wild storms or even bush fires, power outages can occur at any time.

For the most part, losing power at home is inconvenient and annoying. However, in an emergency situation when critical household devices, such as the garage door opener, cannot operate properly and impact your families emergency response plan, a power outage can be deadly serious.

While no one can control when a blackout occurs, you can be prepared and in control.

It’s important to have a plan in place to manually open your garage door in the event of a power failure so you can get the family in and out of the garage quickly and safely, particularly in an emergency or during extreme weather.


In a power outage, all Merlin garage door openers can be opened using the red manual release cord.

Every homeowner with a garage door opener should include the following steps in their emergency response plan:

  • All members of the family should be familiar with the red manual release cord’s location and how to operate it
  • Regular checks should be undertaken to ensure the release cord is in good working order – it shouldn’t be frayed and should still have the plastic handle at the end of the cord

Roller garage door openers are usually attached to one side of the garage door, near the garage opening. The red manual release cord is attached to this motor.

Motors for sectional and tilt doors are installed in the middle of the garage ceiling.  The red manual release cord is usually hanging down from the steel rail that connects this motor to the door.

How to operate a manual release cord:

1.    Pull the red cord down firmly once to manually release the door’s locking mechanism, The opener will make a clicking noise.

2.    Walk over to the door to push it up manually. Do not try to pull the door using the manual release cord; it will snap under the load.

3.    Take care when operating the manual release when the door is open, as it may fall rapidly due to weak or broken springs.

4.    When power returns or it is safe to do so, re-engage the opener by pulling the red release cord down firmly.

Some openers, such as the SilentDrive BBU and WhisperDrive, come fitted with a back-up power source to ensure that you can safely access your garage with your automated opener, even without power.

If you have any other questions or need support, contact your Merlin dealer or Merlin on 1800 638 234.