Your garage door is a crucial entry point into your home. Since someone can gain unauthorized access into your home through your garage, it is essential to ensure the garage door is always safe from unauthorized entry.
If your garage door opens on its own, it can be a serious breach of your home’s security. The last thing you want is the sight of your garage door unexpectedly wide open when nobody has been home.
Thankfully, knowing the potential causes of this spooky issue and their corresponding fixes can help you re-secure your home.
- Garage door goes up but not down
- Garage door limit switch problems
- Garage door wall switch not working
- Best roll up garage door opener
Why your garage door opens on its own
Your garage door may open on its own due to an issue or fault with your garage door remote, opener motor, or sensors. Incorrect limit settings, damaged wires, and dirt buildup are the other likely culprits. And if you have a garage door opener made before 1993, an unsuspecting neighbor might be operating your door unknowingly due to overlapping signals.
Some of these causes are more common than others. Then there are some that rarely ever occur. In any case, you will want to know all the possible reasons to be better prepared to secure your garage door and keep your home safe.
Here is a detailed look at the various reasons that could cause your garage door to open by itself. This section will also show you how to fix each of the potential problems.
You will notice that while you can resolve most of these issues by yourself, some of them will require the help of a trained expert.
Jammed control buttons
Like most contemporary garages, your garage door opening system likely features a wall control mounted somewhere inside the garage, near the door. This control opens and closes the garage door and switches on the light on the garage door opener.
Like any mechanical instrument, this wall-mounted control can be defective. This control unit’s most common defect is a button stuck inside.
Such a button could be the cause of your garage door issue. While this problem should be uncommon with new systems, it is likely to occur if your unit is dirty, old, or simply defective.
The button stuck in a ‘pushed-in’ position will trigger the door to open or close continuously.
Thankfully, you can always tell if this is the problem when the door appears to be in constant open-close motion.
Also, if you have kids, one could be pressing buttons on the garage door remote. If the door opens and you do not have the remote with you, a kid might likely be keeping it for you—and sticking their fingers in the ‘right’ place.
How to rectify it
Start by cleaning the button even if it appears clean from the outside. Inspect the edges for any dirt or debris that might be jamming its movement and remove it.
After cleaning, try pressing it a few times to test if the problem is fixed. If it still gets stuck, forcing the door open involuntarily, you may have to open up the whole thing with a screwdriver to inspect it deeper.
There might be an issue with the wiring immediately surrounding the affected button. If you spot the issue and fix it, the better. If the wires look unreliable, you may have to contact a professional electrician for expert advice or assistance.
Malfunctioning remote circuit board
Sometimes the problem is not just a button on the remote that won’t work; it might be the device’s circuit board. The circuit board is like the brain of the remote control, and a defect can cause it to send wrong signals to the unit.
If the remote behaves erratically as to open the garage door on its own, its circuit board might be faulty.
Such faults can result from accumulated abuse. How you handle the remote can significantly influence its health. Often, we do not give much care to the device due to its seemingly sturdy shell and sheer size.
Throwing the remote around or banging it on the floor and other hard surfaces takes its toll over time. This can eventually damage the remote’s circuitry.
The tiny device is generally built to withstand much abuse, but it can sustain some damage due to constant exposure to unfriendly conditions. Eventually, the remote can break down and start sending the wrong signals to the garage door opener unit.
How to fix it
Theoretically, you open the remote and diagnose it for any malfunctions. While you should be capable of fixing any loose or broken cables in it, repairing the circuit board may be something else.
Trying to repair the inner board due to faulty signals may often be unnecessary. Instead, you can resolve the issue by clearing the memory of the garage door motor unit and re-syncing new remote controls. In most cases, this will sort out the problem.
Faulty logic board (in your opener motor)
Just like personal computers and other computing devices have motherboards, garage door openers have logic boards serving as their brains.
The logic board—the equivalent of a motherboard in a garage door opener unit—can wear out over time. When that happens, it may become unable to perform its function correctly.
It can also malfunction due to a manufacturing problem. The other potential reasons that can cause the logic board to fail include a power surge, suboptimal conditions in the garage, including leaks, prolonged wetness, and a lot of humidity.
Regardless of the root cause, the logic board malfunction can cause the door to behave abnormally.
A malfunctioning logic board can cause the garage door to descend on its own or the door’s lights to begin flashing for no reason.
How to fix the problem
When this problem occurs due to a manufacturing defect, the supplier should be able to replace it at no additional charge.
However, if the problem originates from somewhere else, you will need to buy a replacement logic board. These are typically available for most garage door motors in the market today.
If the failure is age-related, you may be better off replacing the entire motor with a full warranty. It should be more cost-effective than replacing just a part of the old motor unit.
Suppose you have a garage door opener made before 1993, and you recently reprogrammed it; overlapping signals might be a cause. In that case, one of your neighbors or somebody nearby was likely using their garage door remote control at the same time it programmed to your garage door opener.
Now when the person uses their remote to open their garage door, it also operates your garage door simultaneously.
These older garage door openers are programmed to respond to signals traveling on a specific frequency. All it takes is someone nearby to have an equally older opener programmed to the same frequency as your own.
While this might have been convenient, it can cause a potential security issue. Whoever’s remote control might have programmed to your garage door will typically be unaware that they are operating your door.
How to rectify the problem
If you have one of two neighbors nearby that you suspect their remote might have synched to your garage door, you can involve them to diagnose the problem. Ask them to open their garage door while you keep an eye on yours.
If your door responds to the command at the same time, you will know what the problem is.
Now, you can fix it by reprogramming your opener. Different opener makes and models have different reprogramming procedures, so consult your user manual or get a professional to help you.
Blocked safety sensors
Modern garage door openers are equipped with sensors as a safety precaution. A sensor is mounted on the tracks on each side of the garage door and has a beam pointing directly at one another.
If an object or person is at the doorway, it will break the beam, alerting the system of its presence. With that, the sensors will prevent the door from closing.
While the sensors are an excellent safety feature that helps prevent the door from causing destruction to property or injuries to pets and kids, they can have their limitations.
If anything blocks the eye of one or both the sensors, they will not send a beam across the doorway, and with that, the door will not close.
You may attempt to shut the door, but it will reverse and return to the open position due to blocked sensors. Ideally, the sensors won’t allow the door to close when they are unable to read the doorway and confirm nothing is there.
This sensor mechanism can especially become a nuisance when there is debris on the doorway. Something like a stick, twig, rock, accumulated leaves, or some other large debris on the garage doorway might trigger the reverse mechanism.
One of the least suspected culprits is snow buildup, which could also cause your door not to close.
How to handle the issue
This should be one of the easiest problems to fix. Simply remove any debris from the garage door. Ensure the sensors have a clear path at all times.
If accumulated dirt has blocked the sensors, wipe them with a clean, lint-free cloth. Be careful while you do this; the sensor eyes have a glass that could break if you don’t handle them carefully.
Misaligned safety sensors
If you have a residential garage door opener manufactured after 1993, the chances are that it has a pair of safety sensors on the garage door flanks.
These sensors have beams that must point in the same direction for them to work. As it is, the repeated opening and closing of the garage door often creates vibrations that can loosen one or both of the sensors over time.
A loosened sensor can sometimes fall out of alignment. When this happens and the sensor points at a different angle, the mechanism will not work properly. The sensors will keep the door open until the sensors are back in alignment.
How to rectify this problem
You need to ensure the sensors are pointing at the same angle for them to work properly again.
Check the alignment by inspecting both sensors. You will notice any misalignment if one is pointing in a different direction.
Re-securing any loose sensor that might have fallen out of alignment and lost its angle should be easy. It does not necessarily require a technician.
All you have to do is measure the height of each sensor’s front-facing end from the ground. Once you have the figure, use a level to reset them to point at the same angle, then test the door to see if the problem is gone.
If your efforts do not bear fruit, you might be looking at faulty sensors; time to make that call to a technician.
Incorrect limit settings
Garage door openers have a component that limits or controls the extent to which the door can travel during opening or closing. This component is called a limit switch.
The component must be set correctly to stop the door once it reaches its fully open or closed position. If the limits are set incorrectly, it may cause problems.
Some of the common problems associated with incorrect limit settings include the door stopping before reaching the floor or the ceiling.
Thankfully, you can always make a few tweaks on the limit switch and fix the problem on your own.
How to fix the problem
You will need to adjust your opener’s limit settings. The approach may vary depending on your specific door’s make and model. However, you can expect to find the limit switch adjustment screws near the motor unit regardless of the make of model.
Once you have located these switches, read the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting the limit settings. Typically, you may have to turn the screw clockwise or anticlockwise a few times to fix the issue.
Damaged control wiring or electrical circuits
The garage door opener is a sophisticated system that uses various components to perform its functions. These components are connected through a system of cables that transmit signals. Some wires run between the motor unit and the safety sensors, while others run between the motor unit and the door.
All of these small gauge wires carry electrical signals, making them susceptible to short-circuiting.
Rodents can always nibble on a cable, leaving it bare or damaging it. Aside from critters, accumulated friction can also damage the wires in your garage door opening system.
Such problems will render the wires unable to perform their roles correctly, and the garage door opening on its own can be one of the resulting problems.
Aside from the wires, unexpected power outages due to thunderstorms, windstorms, heavy rains, or some other inclement weather can damage the circuits in the opener system.
Any of these problems will require fixing for the door to work normally again.
How to rectify the problem
If you can locate the damaged wires, you may be able to fix the problem by yourself. However, a circuitry issue will typically require bringing in a garage door expert.
Any number of things can go wrong if you try to fix the circuitry without prior knowledge and experience in that area. So, it is safer to let a professional help you.
The video below illustrates some of the causes and easy fixes to a garage door that opens by itself.
When the garage door opens on its own, it can be a major cause for concern. Thankfully, most of the causes are easy to fix.
Depending on the cause of your garage door issue, you might get away with resolving the matter without spending a dime on it. Otherwise, we hope this article was informative and helpful.