Are you babysitting your garage door, trying to make sure it goes down and stays closed? That’s definitely not how this is supposed to work!
It turns out, garage door openers have safety features that look out for you by not allowing the door to close. It may sense an obstruction or something in the path of the door, causing the opener to reverse its direction.
Since you’re possibly standing there holding the button to make the door go down, here are a few commonly asked questions we hear from customers when the garage door won’t go down.
These sensors sit near the bottom of the tracks on both sides of the garage door. When something comes between them, it breaks the beam of light they use to make sure the opening is clear. As a result, the garage door opener lights immediately start flashing and the door goes back up, keeping everyone safe.
Tip: To get help troubleshooting, count the number of flashes, and search online for your brand of garage door opener plus how many times it flashed. It usually suggests a more specific cause.
When people have safety eye issues, we usually hear two things:
It won’t close with the remote, and you must hold down the inside wall button to close the door.
You press the remote, and the door barely moves, then the opener lights blink.
In both scenarios, you can check for anything blocking the sensors’ line of sight and make sure they haven’t gotten bumped out of alignment. 90% of the time, something is blocking them, or they only need to be adjusted by hand to point at each other.
It’s not the heat, it’s the sun
Y’all. You don't need us to tell you, but in metro Atlanta, it’s hot. We bask in the sun for the majority of the year. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the safety photo sensors of garage door openers could use a little shade, too.
In fact, strong sunlight can trip the sensors, resulting in a garage door that intermittently fails to close properly. To top it off, this can be a tricky problem to nail down since it doesn’t happen all the time. The good news is that, as the angle of the sun changes throughout the seasons, this problem likely will take care of itself. If it’s a huge problem, you may consider some landscaping options, or even move the sensors further inside the door’s opening to get them out of the direct sunlight.
Sensitivity, also called the force setting, is another safety feature found on garage door openers. This setting controls how much force the garage door opener can apply when it meets resistance. It effectively keeps the garage door from being damaged if there’s an obstruction, or if the garage door becomes wedged or stuck in the opening.
Usually, it’s not necessary to adjust this setting, but there are some factors that might change that.
Everything’s a little slower on a cold morning
If you notice your garage door opener won’t close during cold weather, and you don’t see an obvious reason like something blocking the safety sensors or an obstruction in the door’s path, it’s possible the force setting needs an adjustment.
Cold temperatures cause the grease on the motor’s gear and sprocket assembly to stiffen, resulting in the opener needing more force than its maximum sensitivity setting will allow.
You’ll find plenty of exceptions to that statement, as it could be an issue with the springs or another door component, but it happens often enough for manufacturers to pay attention. Most recently, garage door openers come equipped with thermal sensors that automatically compensate when running in cold weather.
In this case, a slight increase on the opener’s down force will do the trick. The up and down force settings are usually on the back of the motor, and you can adjust them with a flat head screwdriver.
Your garage door is the largest piece of moving machinery in your house, and it can be deadly. It’s essential to keep it well-maintained and working as the manufacturer intended – safely!
You can be ready for the unexpected by familiarizing yourself with your garage door opener’s manual. In it, you’ll find model specific instructions on how to safely troubleshoot, perform regular maintenance, and ensure safe operation.
Still having trouble? Please contact us for expert help with your garage door opener.