Tis the season to decorate! Many of our festive customers are decorating their homes inside and out in time for the holiday season, but what you might not have heard is that decorating your home can actually impact the function of your garage door opener! Although many homeowners won’t have any problem, certain brands and models of garage door openers can be interfered with by LED lights nearby. This might sound crazy, but the radio frequency that your garage door opener uses may be shared by some other electronics in your home, including holiday lights, and this radio wave interference can cause your opener to not operate correctly! Fortunately for you, we’ve got the scoop about what you should do to ensure that your opener is still functioning as intended.
The short explanation for the problem is that LED lights can produce radio frequencies, and these frequencies can jam your opener so that it cannot receive the signal from your remote. Most openers can only respond to one signal at a time, so if your opener is actively receiving a signal from some other piece of electronics close to it, it may not be able to detect your opener’s signal.
If you’re experiencing some problems with your remote not operating the opener, you might be able to blame your holiday decorations. First, check if the door opens at all. If you have a wall keypad or button, that should still operate the opener. If it doesn’t, it is likely that your problem may run deeper than just a blocked radio frequency. If the button still works, check the batteries in your remote. Even if the remote is brand new, change out the batteries and make sure that they are inserted properly.
If you’ve ruled out those simple fixes, you might want to look at trying to isolate the signal responsible for the problems with your opener. When LED lights are turned on, they are usually not constantly powered on. Through a process called Pulse Width Modulation, LEDs are turned on and off very quickly, several times in a second. These flashes are too quick to be observable by humans, but they do save energy and can be used to dim the light coming out of the LED. This flashing behavior causes the power supply for the LEDs to generate radio interference, which could be what is preventing your door from opening.
The obvious first step is to start unplugging any LED decorations that you have around the house, testing your opener after removing each one – this should let you know which light is the culprit, although it is likely to be the one closest to the opener. Make sure that you’re testing your remote from a reasonable distance away, since even with radio interference your remote might still work if position right next to the opener.
Holiday decorations and LEDs aren’t the only thing in your home that could be getting your wires crossed – quite a few normal parts of your home, or even features of the surrounding landscape, could also be affecting your opener. Local airports or transmission towers can interfere with your signals, in addition to power lines, appliances like Microwaves or clock radios, computers or wireless phones, motion detectors and timers for your exterior lights, thermostats, car battery chargers, and even old Ham Radio transmitters.
If you look at your opener, a newer model might have a light to indicate when its receiving a signal, which should light up when you press the remote. If the button is lighting up or even flashing without you needing to send a signal, it is a likely indicator that the opener is being triggered by radio interference!
Once you know what to look for, solving the problem of radio interference is a relatively quick ad easy fix – just remove the source of the interference! There are also options for replacing whatever it is that is causing the problem with a version that uses a different frequency, but if your holiday lights are the cause of the problem, you’re probably better off just moving them.