Why Is My Garage Door Opening By Itself?

Custom Wood Garage DoorEvery so often someone will come to us bewildered and frustrated, saying that their garage door has been operating on its own at random. “I was sitting in my kitchen having breakfast with my family,” they say, “and all of a sudden I hear the garage door open, completely on its own.” Other times, frantic homeowners will say that they have returned home from vacation to find that their garage door has been open for days.

There are few things worse than losing the peace of mind and secure feeling of having a functional garage door opener. Having your garage door open when no one is home can be a huge security risk, and messing with buttons and wiring can be frustrating, especially if the opener still malfunctions after your best attempt to fix it. 

Here is what may be causing the problem and how you might be able to solve it. 

Garage door openers, especially old ones, can be triggered by a number of things. It’s rare that your neighbor’s remote could open your garage door. The codes transmitted by newer doors are continuously changing with millions of combinations, making it nearly impossible for someone to use their own remote to open your door. However, if your opener is more than 20 years old, the  transmitter most likely has far fewer codes which could make it possible for another remote to open your door. But again, this is very rare. 

Older Stanley openers have a reputation for malfunctioning circuit boards, which cause them to open and close by themselves. If you have a spare remote sitting in a junk drawer, it could be set off by other items in the drawer. If you happen to live near a military base, your opener could be triggered by their electrical equipment that is operating on the same frequency. A thunderstorm or electrical surge can cause damage to the transmitter’s electrical workings and cause the opener to operate at random, in which case you’ll need to have it serviced or replaced. 

The first suggestion for fixing this issue would be to change the code. Take off the cover of your remote, find the code wheel and choose a new code. Then climb up to the opener in your garage and change the code to match the one you set in your remote. If you can’t find the code wheel in your opener, consult the manufacturer manual. 

Also take a look at your remote button and wall mounted button to see if they might be sticking or old. If you are unsure if your buttons are in working order, look on your opener unit for the “learn” button. If the light next to it is flashing rapidly you’ve got a stuck button. Remove the batteries from each remote one at a time to find the faulty button, in which case the remote can be replaced. 

If this doesn’t work, shut off the electrical circuit connected to your garage door opener on your electrical panel, just as long as it doesn’t share a circuit with anything else important.

Do this if you plan to leave for an extended period of time and want to be absolutely sure your home won’t be vulnerable. Inspect the wiring at the wall mounted button and at the opener for damage. If you don’t find a short in the wiring then it is likely the unit itself is the issue and needs to be adjusted, repaired or replaced. In any event, give us a call and we will have your garage door opener working properly again in no time.

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