We often take for granted the convenience of automatic garage doors, that is until they stop working properly! Sometimes it seems these garage doors take on a mind of their own and it can be tricky to discover how to fix them. There are a handful of reasons why your garage door could be opening on its own and some quick tricks to fix it.
Some explanations for your garage door opening on its own are misaligned sensors, stuck buttons, or bad weather. You may need to simply clean your sensors, change the frequency of your opener, or replace the internal logic board. If you are working with your garage door, be sure to unplug the system so no accidents can occur.
Since there can be a lot of explanations for why your garage door is acting on its own, you will need to do a bit of investigating to figure out the source. By following along with this article, you will get a good sense of the various problems you could be experiencing and the best ways to fix them!
Common Reasons Your Garage Door Opens By Itself
This list contains 8 different reasons your garage door is on the fritz. If you work through this list and still have a problem, you will need to call a true professional to figure it out. However, these are the most common reasons so you should be able to solve it on your own!
A Short Circuit
A short circuit is one of the most common and most complicated issues with garage doors. This happens when there is a technical issue with the logic board that operates the garage door. Circuits can get damaged over time, so if you have an old garage door this could be a likely explanation for the malfunction.
The logic board is found in the box that hangs from the ceiling above your garage. If you are proficient with electric circuits, you could be able to replace the specific problem on your own. For those who aren’t, you can also replace the whole logic board for much cheaper than a professional. We will explain how to replace the logic board later in the article!
Interference with Radio
Garage door openers (such as the Genie garage door opener) operate with radio waves to communicate to the system’s logic board. So radio interference could be a cause for your door seeming to have a mind of its own. Radio waves from a local radio station, radio tower, police radio, or even a neighbor using the same frequency can all interfere with your signal.
If this is the problem with your garage door it can easily be fixed by changing the frequency or code. Since it is hard to prove if this really is the problem, it may be one of your trial-and-error solution methods. We will also outline this solution later in the article.
You are probably familiar with the safety sensors that prevent the garage door from closing when there is someone underneath it. This photoelectric system will automatically send the door back up if it detects something is in the way. If these sensors are dirty or not set correctly, it can cause the door to reopen when it should not.
Cleaning out your garage and realigning the beams is a simple way to help this problem. Try to align the sensors so they point directly across from their position. If this does not help, you may need to give the sensors a quick wipe down in case the problem is debris on the lens.
This one is certainly not one you would expect, but major weather can interfere with your garage’s operations! Electrical surges from lightning or heavy rains can cause electrical problems in your home as well as your garage. Other events such as heavy snow or ice can damage the operating system or block the garage door sensors.
If you know a big storm is coming, be sure to keep your garage door closed to help prevent this weather from causing more problems. So if you have noticed your garage starts acting out after intense storms, that bad weather could be the explanation!
Another reason your garage door is acting strange is because of your remote. Dust and dirt can find their way in between the cracks of the operating buttons over the years, causing them to get stuck. If you look at your opener unit and see a ‘Learn’ button flashing, this will let you know an operating button is stuck!
You should be able to fix this by cleaning your remote and placing new batteries in it. However, if you know this is the problem and it does not seem to help you may need to buy a new remote. The cost of that new remote is a lot cheaper than a professional telling you that was the problem all along!
The Limit Settings Are Broken
The majority of garage doors have open and closed limit settings. This mechanism tells your garage door how far to pull the door up when it is open and how far down to keep it closed. If these settings are off, your door may close or open midway through the track.
A more dangerous indication that this is the problem is if the garage door keeps pushing it once it reaches the ground, causing it to slam into the cement. Of course, the same can happen if it pulls too far up and damages your overhead tracks. Unfortunately, you will not be able to fix this problem on your own. You should call a professional to be sure this is the issue and allow them to fix it safely.
The Control Wiring
Your garage door system will have several different electrical wires around to help it operate. If one of these wires has a bare spot where you can see the copper, then that could be a reason for your garage door opening or closing on its own.
This can happen for a lot of reasons. A mouse could have chewed through it, a nail could have pierced it, or just a lot of friction worn away over time. If this seems to be the problem, you need to call a technician. Electrical wires can be dangerous if you are not sure what you are doing, so it is best to call someone trained to fix the problem.
Someone is Opening Your Garage Unsuspectingly
Finally, if nothing else seems to be the problem someone may be opening your garage without knowing. Whether your garage door opener was left with a neighbor, radio interference, or a prankster, the problem could simply be human error.
Best Fixes For a Garage Door That Opens Itself
Some of the problems with your garage will be easy to fix, while others might be a bit more complicated. Luckily there are many fixes you can do without calling an expensive repairman!
If you have gone through the problem checklist and think you know what the issue is, here are the descriptions of how to solve them on your own.
Replace the Logic Board
Fixing the logic board is probably the most complicated fix to your garage door problems. Once you have found the correct replacement logic board, you will need to follow these safety steps to remove the motor unit to begin the replacement. The first step is to close the door, disconnect the power to the system, and pull the red emergency rope to keep yourself safe.
Your first step is to remove the fastener ring from the straight door arm connected to the outer trolley. Then remove the clevis pin while supporting the straight arm to disconnect the garage door from the outer trolley. You should use a helper for this step!
Then lower the straight and curved arms down and rest them against the garage door. Now you will need to open the light cover to access the motor unit. It is important to take a digital photo of the wall control and safety sensor wires connected to the motor unit to refer to later. Then disconnect the wall control and safety sensor wires from the motor unit.
Now it is time to remove the nuts, bolts, and lock washers that secure the motor unit to the ceiling bracket. Once you have done this support the motor unit as you remove the final bolt and lower it down. Now you will need to remove the rail from the header bracket to be able to set it level with the motor unit as you work on it.
Now that all the pieces are in place, you will install the new logic board, and reinstall the garage door opener as instructed by the manual. Then just reconnect the power!
Change the Limit Settings
As we mentioned earlier, the incorrect limit setting could be the reason for your door not opening or closing the full distance. This can be fixed on your own by recalibrating these settings. Adjusting the limit setting of your garage is slightly different depending on each model. However, you will typically encounter a pair of limit switch adjustment screws next to the garage door opener’s motor mechanism.
After you have found these screws, you will take a flathead screwdriver and turn the up limit screw clockwise to raise it at a rate of three inches per turn. Then you will need to do the same action to the down limit screw. Use a trial and error method (or be precise and do the math) to adjust these limit screws until the garage door operates normally.
Clean Your Sensors
Blocked sensors are probably the most common explanation for your garage doors’ poor behavior. If this is your problem, you will need to clean out your garage thoroughly in the area around the sensors. Boxes, trashcans, leaves, ice, and even a well-placed dust bunny can trigger these sensitive sensors. So clean them away!
To be extra throughout, you may want to wipe down the sensors themselves too to be sure some dust is what is setting them off. However, if you think that the sensor or connected wires are damaged, you may need to replace them. Hopefully, the problem is not that severe and a good clean will be an easy fix!
Change Your Frequency
There are two ways to approach a frequency problem. One is finding an interference within your home, and the second is resetting your garage code system. If you suspect some radio device in your home is an interference problem, here is how to find it. First, you will need to check for sources of radio interference. Start by turning off any devices that use radio transmissions and test your remote. If it works normally, you know the interference is coming from your house!
Now, one by one, turn these devices on and test the remote after each one. This can help you find the source of the interference! Once you have found the culprit, just keep it turned off or away from the garage when you need to open it. If you do not find anything you can test your electrical circuits. Turn off the circuit breakers to various parts of the house, then test the garage door opener after turning each breaker back on.
If those options did not help, you should try resetting the code. The way this works is garage door openers and exchange new codes with the garage door opening system each time you open the door. By resetting the code manually you can reestablish the connection between the motor unit and the remote.
Here is how to reset the code. First, look for a button that says “learn” on the remote control. Hold down this button until you see a light and let it blink for about six seconds. Next, press the learn button again while also pressing the button on your garage door keypad.
This should reset the system. You may want to look at your garage door manual if you have a specific system, but these steps should work for most of them. However, if none of these solutions work for you, you may need to upgrade your system.
If you check for all the different issues in this article you have a great chance of solving the garage door problem on your own! But if you are still at a loss, then it is officially time to call in a professional. At least you will be able to tell them what certainly is not the problem!
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.