New California Law Requires Garage Door Battery Backups

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

Yup, that is a photo of me 22 years ago building the first and only garage I've ever built. My husband did not want to build a garage but he also did not want to pay twice as much (or more) to hire a contractor. Besides, I had presented compelling evidence that it was not difficult to build a garage. He still complained the entire time.

When we got down to the part of installing the garage door opener, turned out the city of Minneapolis (where we lived back then) had deeper depth requirements for our Romex ditch. It needed to be six inches deeper. Although code read 18 inches, our particular inspector demanded 24 inches. Something as simple as digging a deeper hole set us back. That's one thing we don't really worry much about in Sacramento. Freezing ground temperatures.

Then a dayworker, this 6-foot guy a friend of mine from the old band The Castaways found to help, had managed to fall off the metal cans he had strapped to his feet. He was installing the garage door opener. When I suggested he use a ladder, no, that, idea was pooh-poohed. Well, his head put a big dent in our newly poured concrete floor. I don't know what disturbed me more -- the fact that he didn't finish installing the opener or the fact he put a big dent in our floor. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

The fact he could have died on the spot didn't seem that important at the time. You can read more about this in my personal blog today at this link: California Garage Door Openers Must Work in a Power Outage.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

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Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Why ??? You can still operate manually to get in and out of the garage!!!

Sep 23, 2018 08:52 AM #1
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Interesting how many issues there are that need to be fixed by legislation - sometimes we didn't even know they were an issue lol

Sep 23, 2018 08:55 AM #2
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

My first thought, pull the damn cord. Really? Oh well, you bring up a good point about strength...still, what if you can't walk fast enough to exit the house, is there going to be mandatory legislation to have a motorized wheelchair?  I'm with you - take lessons from Barbara - stay strong and accept some responsibility for your own safety and well-being.  Nonetheless, information real estate pros need to know...

( great photo and story about building your own garage) 

Sep 23, 2018 08:58 AM #3
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good can't pull the cord and and use a little strength? I love it when the legislature knows best about our safety and well-being..heaven forbid we take responsibility for our own actions. 

Sep 23, 2018 12:09 PM #4
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Elizabeth- this reminds me of how "bright" someone thought they were when they mandated digital radios. So those wonderful tv/radios that we bought that helped in a power outage went out the window!  And the ones that replace them don't work a flip.  

Sep 23, 2018 04:56 PM #5
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Elizabeth,  maybe not a bad idea to have a battery backup ... most brands sell them for under $100.  

Sep 23, 2018 05:01 PM #6
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Codes are a moving target. They continue to tighten up and make it more difficult to build.

Sep 23, 2018 05:52 PM #7
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Elizabeth, that is a very good idea, have been stuck in the garage without power.  Luckily you just have to pull the cord and open the door.

Sep 24, 2018 06:29 AM #8
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I have mixed emotions about this revelation.  For goodness sake, if you are fit enough to drive a car, then you are likely capable of pulling that little cord.  And, heck, if all else fails in the midst of a wildfire or some other dire emergency, for goodness sake feel free to drive your car through the door to get free.  

You'll remember the two homes across the street from me caught fire and burned in early July.  They are currently rebuilding.  One of the owners tells me that he is required to install triple pane windows.  He also must plumb electrical to accomodate solar panels, and an electric car.  That's even though he has no plans to install solar, or drive an electric vehicle.

Sep 24, 2018 07:56 AM #9
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