Dear Barry,

My garage-door opener (closer) only operates if I press the button continuously until the door is fully closed. If I remove my finger from the button while the door is closing, the door immediately reverses and returns to the open position. I used to simply touch the button and walk away while it kept closing. Is this problem repairable, or do I need a new door opener? – David

Dear David,

Garage-door openers are equipped with an automatic safety reverse feature, to prevent children, pets and other essential beings from becoming trapped, injured, or worse, beneath a descending garage door. Occasionally, this reverse function ventures out of adjustment, as appears to be the case with your door opener. The safety reverse mechanism is stubbornly attempting to prevent the door from closing, needlessly striving to save an imperiled life. When you hold the button, you are over-riding this mechanized altruism. This enables closure of the door, but not with the level of convenience you would prefer.

Older door openers are designed to reverse when an object resists the downward motion of the door. Newer fixtures are equipped with photoelectric sensors. If someone or something obstructs the invisible light beam between the sensors, the downward motion of the door is automatically reversed. In your garage, either the auto-reverse mechanism is too sensitive or the photoelectric sensors are misdirected. A garage-door installer can make the necessary adjustments of corrections and can advise you regarding possible replacement of the fixture, if that proves to be necessary.

Dear Barry,

The home we are buying was scheduled to close escrow, but the seller refused to make final repairs. He fixed the problems reported by our home inspector, but after he vacated the property we did our final walkthrough inspection and more problems were apparent when the furniture was removed. The seller says, “Take the house as is or lose the deposit.” We refuse to sign the final papers and are threatening legal action. But we’re really unsure what to do. What do you advise? – Eric

Dear Eric,

Too many real estate transactions fall prey to needless impasses involving routine physical defects. Emotions can be tense in the final phase of a purchase, and the tendency to take a stand over minor issues can sometimes cloud everyone’s vision of the larger picture. Before going head-to-head with the seller, consider whether the additional repair costs to the home are worth the amount of upset and loss you might incur if you get involved in a protracted legal conflict. Unless the defects involve major, expensive repairs, you might be better off accepting the property as is. If you are uncertain as to the extent of the newly revealed defects, have them reviewed by your home inspector. You might find that the brewing storm is much ado about cosmetics.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at


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