Why is my garage door opening up on its own?
Does your house make strange noises in the middle of the night? Did you just hear a thump from the attic? Does your garage door open of its own volition? Visions of haunted houses aside, your garage door is designed to open on your command; if it decides to do so on its own, something is amiss. Fortunately, you can diagnose and address likely causes with a little DIY-savvy determination.
Check the sensors
Automatic garage doors manufactured after 1993 are required to be equipped with protective sensors that direct the door to open if something is in the way. These sensors are mounted on the tracks on both sides of the door, roughly 6-8 inches above the floor. If the door encounters an obstacle during the closing operation, the motor will reverse direction and head back up. The same thing happens if the light beam between the sensors is broken.
Piled up leaves, snow or ice, or other debris can cause the motor to trigger the open phase, as will sensors that are not properly aligned. Clean away any debris and be sure the sensors are aligned.
Check the opener
Most garage door openers are equipped with a standard push button that runs the motor. They work kind of like doorbells and when they get dirty or clogged with debris, openers can inadvertently get stuck in the open position. If this happens, the door will open and close forevermore, or until you “unstick” the button. Connections and wiring within must also be clean and firmly connected. Any bare wire could cause a short circuit that opens the door.
Control center, we have a problem
A variety of electrical problems in the door opener’s control board might also be a culprit. A power surge can knock the circuit board or transformer out of whack. Check voltage to and from both locations. You might need to replace one of these critical components and in the meantime, it’s always a good idea to install a surge protector to avoid these kinds of issues.
There are several steps you can take to address a garage door’s random bouts of opening. The easiest, of course, is upon departure from your driveway, stall a few seconds to be sure the door stays down. Another option is to employ a bit of technology and install a monitor that confirms the door is fully closed (or not).
Some new gadgets even allow you to open and close your door from your smartphone and receive an email when the door opens.