3 Surprising Things That Can Interfere With Your Garage Door Function

Posted on: 19 December 2014

Most garage door problems are simple to spot and fix. If your garage door opener won't operate, but the button on the wall works, it's probably just your garage door opener's battery. If the garage door won't operate with either the remote or the hardwired button, then chances are that the power is disconnected or the motor needs to be repaired or replaced.

But what if the door opens and closes on its own, or stops and reverses itself before lowering to the ground, or otherwise behaves unpredictably? In that case, your problem may be a little less straightforward. Check out these three surprising things that can cause your garage door to malfunction.

The Neighbor's Garage Door

If your garage door occasionally opens and closes on its own, for no apparent reason, the most likely culprit is your neighbor's garage door. It's uncommon, but occasionally, two different garage doors will have the same code or be on the same frequency. If your two houses are close enough to each other, then your door might open and close whenever your neighbor opens or closes their garage door.

The simple solution is to change your garage door code or frequency. To change the code on a garage door without a keypad, all that you need to do is remove the cover from the remote control and change the switches inside to set the new code, then move the switches on the motor of the indoor unit to match.

To change the frequency of the garage door opener, check the instructions for your brand of garage door opener. You will usually need to find and hold a button labeled "learn code", "learn", or "smart" to reset the frequency. If you've had an intermittent problem with the garage door opening and closing unexpectedly, this should fix it.

The Sun

Have you ever shut the garage door, only to have it reverse itself partway down and roll back up? If so, you probably checked right away to see if anything was blocking the electric eye sensors on the bottom of the garage door's track. If making sure that everything was moved out of the way of the electric eyes didn't solve the problem, then it might have been caused by the sun – especially if you've only noticed the problem at certain times of the day, like when the sun is at its highest, or when it's aimed directly at your house.

What happens is that the glare from the sun hits one or the other of the electric eyes, causing the infrared line between the two sensors to break. This confuses the sensor, and the safety mechanism that's been built into the garage door stops and reverses the door to protect anything that might be in the door's path. You can fix this easily by installing hoods that shade the electric eyes from the sun's glare. You can purchase these from a hardware store if you want, but you can just as easily make one from a cardboard or rubber tube.

LED Lights

LED lights are a popular choice for safety and security lighting for many homeowners. They become even more popular at Christmas time when they come in handy for certain outdoor decorations. However, they have an unintended side effect that can be more than a little annoying. LED lights actually emit a signal that can cause garage door openers to go haywire. They may not work, or they may work sporadically. You don't even have to have the LED lights in your own yard – LED lights in one yard can cause problems for neighbors in surrounding houses.

You have a couple of choices if you're experiencing an LED light related garage door problem. Changing to a different lighting choice might help, or you may be able to keep your LED lights if you switch to a different brand. In some cases, resetting your garage door opener frequency may also help.

If you have a garage door problem that you can't explain, you may need professional assistance. Contact the company that sold you your garage door, or contact an experienced garage door repair service in your area for more assistance.