It can be creepy to see your garage door going up and down by itself like it just developed a mind of its own.
Many people use their garage door as the main entrance to their house. Unfortunately, when the garage door opens on its own, you no longer have control over its behavior. This can be a huge lapse in your home’s security since it could open for intruders and pests when no one is home.
You could also have difficulty controlling your energy costs if the garage door keeps going up and down randomly.
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Why garage door keeps going up and down: possible reasons
An automatic garage door may open and close randomly if an overlapping signal or radiofrequency is interfering with it. The problem could also result from circuit board issues or stuck control buttons.
While some of these causes are easy to fix with routine maintenance and troubleshooting, others require the help of a trained professional. For instance, a short in the garage door motor’s logic board would need an expert to diagnose and fix.
In any case, knowing the possible culprits and potential solutions can help you save money by diagnosing and solving some of the problems on your own.
Read along to learn the possible reasons why your garage door keeps going up and down on its own.
Your neighbor’s remote programmed to your garage door
If your garage door opener was made before 1993 and you recently reprogrammed it, a nearby neighbor’s remote may be operating it.
While modern garage door openers have rotating codes, those manufactured before 1993 do not have such advancements.
The chances are that a neighbor was operating their garage door while you were reprogramming yours. And with that, their garage door opener programmed to yours, ending up with the same wireless code as your opener.
Now your garage door keeps responding to their remote each time they use it to operate their garage door.
Alternatively, your opener might be responding to a wireless radio signal. Such older garage door openers manufactured before 1993 are programmed to respond to wireless signals traveling on specific frequencies.
So a nearby radio station, a local radio tower, a police radio, or a CB radio can affect your door if they transmit signals on the same frequency as your garage door opener. While this issue is rare, you cannot rule it out due to its likelihood.
Thankfully, it is relatively easy to fix. Start by having your neighbor open their garage door while you keep an eye on yours. If your door begins to move simultaneously, you will have solved the problem halfway.
Next, reset your garage opener to a new code to complete solving the problem.
An exposed spot on the control wiring
Sometimes the small-gauge cable connecting the control button on the wall to your opener’s motor unit can be damaged, leading to short-circuiting.
Rodents and other mechanical issues can nibble the cable, exposing the wires. The exposed spot could easily activate the motor unit each time it brushes against a metallic part such as the door track, causing a short.
An electrical pulse is needed to activate the motor unit, and a bare wire could easily do that, causing the garage door to move involuntarily.
The problem could also originate from damaged sensor cables. Usually, repeated tagging and grabbing on the cables with a broom while cleaning or rodents chewing on them can damage the insulation, resulting in bare parts.
These wires connect the sensors to the motor unit. So, any naked wires can cause a short triggering the door to move.
So, inspect the wires near the sensors on both sides of the garage door tracks. Look for any loose connections, nails piercing the insulation or any parts that have been nicked.
When you find any of these, replace the damaged wires and reattach any loose connection to resolve the problem.
You should be able to find a replacement for these low-voltage wires easily in any hardware or home improvement store near you.
Stuck control buttons
Most modern garage door opening systems have a wall control unit mounted somewhere near the door inside the garage. If this control unit has come of age, the buttons can always get stuck in a pushed-in position.
Stuck control buttons can typically continue to trigger garage door movement and may cause your garage door to go up and down repeatedly.
This problem can be caused by repeated use or dirt jamming the buttons and keeping them from moving freely in their socket.
If this is the case, the Learn button in your opener unit will be flashing. So start by checking the unit for the flashing light.
Cleaning the control unit may solve the problem. If it is old, you may want to buy another one. The same rule applies if the buttons in your remote are stuck and keep jamming in their socket.
Malfunctions in the circuit board or logic board
Problems with the safety sensors on both sides of your garage door typically cause the door to reverse after you attempt to close it immediately. However, problems with the opener’s logic board or motor unit circuitry can involuntarily trigger the door to close.
These circuit boards act like small computers or brains of the opener, and a malfunction can cause it to trigger the wrong signals, including the involuntary opening and closing of the garage door.
When this kind of malfunction occurs, flashing opener lights can sometimes accompany it.
Such logic board or circuitry issues are rare with new openers. If you detect them on a new opener, the manufacturer will likely replace it at no extra charges.
However, older openers can experience such an issue more commonly. Just like a brain can wear out over time, so can the logic board in your opener unit.
When you experience this problem, replacing the garage door opener may be cheaper than hiring a technician to repair the malfunctioning one
An off-track garage door sensor
This problem may be a bit tricky to diagnose since, upon examination, the garage door sensor appears to be in a perfect position. However, you should conduct a physical examination by pushing the sensor to determine if it moves. If it moves instead of sitting securely in its spot, you can simply correct this by fixing it in its right spot.
Activities like moving large equipment or the garbage can have you impacting the sensor, bashing it off the track. Failure of the garage door to completely shut or intermittent closing are just but some of the problems caused by an off-track sensor.
A blocked garage door sensor
The sensor comprises two photo-sensitive appliances on each side of the garage door. These appliances are positioned about 4 inches above the floor and operate by flashing an infrared light beam to the appliance on the other side of the garage door. This operating mechanism allows for the detection of objects to prevent crushing them.
Interruption of this beam of infrared light by blocking means an abnormal operation of the garage door. For instance, if the bumper of your car is blocking the sensors, they will not detect each other, meaning the garage door will open back up. Misalignment of either of the sensors due to vibration will also sometimes deter the sensors from effectively communicating.
A cut wire or faulty garage door sensor
When neither of the above sensor problems is the genesis of the garage door problems you are encountering, a faulty door sensor or cut wire could be suspected. This is quite a unique problem since fixing it will require professional services.
The issue can be traced back to the wiring emerging from the sensor, whereby it might be frayed or cut. The sensor itself could also be broken and therefore is in a malfunctioning state. When this is the case, you might be forced never to shut your garage door until you get it fixed.
An extremely shortly set close-limit sensor
Apart from the two sensors installed 4 inches above the ground on either side of the garage door, another third sensor may be positioned close to the motor. The role of this third sensor is to dictate the extent to which the garage door should move down.
The problem arises when this third sensor is set too short, whereby it manifests as either moving back up of the garage door after hitting the ground hard or failure to completely move down.
This issue stands out as the most common of the featured problems. However, this does not mean that it is beyond saving. In fact, it can be easily repaired. Start by identifying the two screws located on the motor base. You can then fine-tune the setting, keeping in mind that a single turn is equivalent to two inches of door movement in either direction.
A dirty garage door sensor
The two infrared sensors on either side of the garage door can also fail to function properly if dirt obstructs the eye of the sensors. This is because the accumulation of dirt on the sensor deters it from shooting the beam of infrared light, affecting your garage door’s shutting.
How to fix the dirty garage door sensor problem
Start by identifying the lens on the sensor on each side of the garage door. It is likely that you will find the lens joined to a metal bracket that is fastened to the frame of the garage door.
Proceed to look for the small projection on the outer edge of the lens because it mostly harbors bugs like spiders which may have even weaved a nest in this section. Now, with a soft fabric folded around your finger, clean the lens, ensuring that you get rid of any bug or nest if present. This step should get your garage door back in action.
Is neither of the above-featured problems the source of your garage door problem? Is your door still reversing even after cleaning the lens? There are more marginal problems that are probably affecting the proper movement of your garage door. These include;
- Objects adhered to the bottom of the door
Debris, leaves, papers, or spiderwebs tend to adhere to the bottom of the garage door. To check if there is an object stuck on the bottom of the door, open it halfway and examine. If there is an object adhered to the bottom of the door, you should get rid of it because it interrupts the infrared beam when the door goes down.
- Objects on the floor
The garage door is designed to reverse whenever it comes into contact with an object on the ground. In the event that there are objects lying on the ground, your garage door will certainly reverse before completely closing. Get rid of any items present within the perimeter that the door comes in contact with the ground when closed.
- Sunlight interruptions
At times, light may be reflected, directing it into the lenses hence interrupting the shooting of the beam. Bright seasonal sunlight may also make your garage door keep going back up. A remedy for this is standing in a position that shields the lenses from sunlight and then closing the door remotely.
- A defective logic board
The logic board is located inside the garage door opener and counts as the head of the garage door opener. It bears a receiver to enable the remote feature and also other control mechanisms.
The wearing out, breaking down, or defectiveness of the logic board definitely means problems for your garage door like keeping on going up and down or closing then opening again. If this is the case, replacing this component is the best remedy.
The video below shows how to fix a garage door that closes and opens again, keeps going up and down.
Since most homeowners use the garage door as the main entry point into their homes, their security is tantamount to the overall home security.
A garage door that keeps going up and down can easily allow criminals into your house, putting your family and property at risk. So if you notice the garage door opening and closing on its own, it is crucial to address the problem immediately.
We hope this tutorial helps you diagnose and resolve your garage door problem. We will be delighted to hear any comments in the comments section if you have any.