Have you been experiencing problems with your garage door opener? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t? Or, do you sometimes feel like there’s a phantom opening and closing your door at random, and you can’t track the problem down? You might look to the type of lights you’re using in and around your garage to find the culprit.
LED (light emitting diode) lights get their efficiency from something called pulse width modulation (PWM), which turns the light off and on more than 15 times per second. The energy savings comes from the fact that the light is actually on for only half the time. You might be wondering why you don’t realize that the light is off part of the time. That’s because of the phenomenon of persistence of vision. But long story short, the heart of your garage door problem may lie in the control circuit that provides the long life that LED lights are known for. LED lights vs. Garage Door Opener
LED manufacturers work with governmental guidelines requiring control circuits to operate on frequencies between 30 and 300 MHZ. Coincidentally, most garage door opener remotes work with frequencies between 288 and 360 MHZ.
A large apartment building we work with began receiving frequent complaints about open garage doors and non-working garage door openers this past Christmas. We were able to track the problem down to a Christmas light display that included a large numbers of LED lights. Every evening when the Christmas lights were turned on, many garage door openers went haywire. Similar frequency issues have been reported by homeowners who made the switch form old school incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent lights in their garage.
The Federal Communications Commission classifies products like garage door openers, radio-controlled toy cars and similar low powered devices with limited range as “license free spectrum or bands.” That means that they are very loosely regulated and that may be where the problem lies. When it comes to controlling the frequency emissions of these products, manufacturers are on the honor system.
But sometimes, signal leakage outside of the range can happen even with the best-designed products. That’s why gas stations ask that you stay off your phone when fueling up (yes, even here in Oregon) and why airlines have such strict policies about keeping cell phones and computers turned off during take-off and landing.
So, what’s a home owner to do? The easiest and least expensive place to start would be in trying a different brand of bulb. The less expensive foreign-made bulbs tend to cause the most issues, so switching to a brand name bulb could eliminate the problem. If that doesn’t solve your garage door opener problems, you might have to change the type of lighting and switch to a less efficient incandescent light setup.
A good garage door tune-up can help determine the problems you face are related to the door and opener system, or a problem with your lights interfering with your opener signal. It will also keep your system in better operating condition for a longer period of time. Call the local garage door experts in Portland, Salem, or Vancouver to schedule your tune-up today!