beam is interrupted by something in its path, this causes the garage door opener to stop and pull the garage door back up. This is a safety feature that helps prevent damage to property and injuries to people and pets.
If sunlight hits these photocells at the right angle, this can interfere with the transmission of the beam and cause the photocells to register a false beam interruption. When this happens, the opener will reverse direction and open the door. Or if the sunlight is at an angle that is constantly shining into the photocell, the opener might not even start until enough time passes to allow the angle of the sunlight to move away from the photocell.
This is a vexing issue that, unfortunately, is difficult to address. There are hoods or shrouds that are available for photocells, but these are mostly used to keep weather off the top of them. Even with these, it would be difficult to prevent sunlight from interfering with a photocell when it is directly shining into the sensor portion. The only real solution, which is just temporary, is to block the sunlight and provide some shade to the photocells. This should be enough to at least get the garage door down for the time being.
Like sunlight, this issue is one that is not often thought of until it happens to you. And similar to the issue described above with sunlight, snow can affect the functioning of the garage door opener by interfering with the photocells.
During the colder months here in Ohio, we’re all familiar with those frigid days when the temperatures are low and the snow is blowing sideways. In these conditions, snowflakes can blow across the path of the infrared beam and cause an interruption sufficient to trigger the safety mechanism. As discussed above, this can cause the garage door opener to reverse the downward motion of the door or even cause the opener to not start if the snowflakes are heavy enough when the open/close button is pushed. Again, this is a safety mechanism and the garage door opener components are doing what they are designed to do. Unfortunately, this creates an annoying situation when it happens and there is not a lot that can be done.
As discussed above, there are hoods or shrouds for photocells, but these devices may be of little to no help in these scenarios, especially if the snow is dense enough and the wind is carrying it sideways. So, the only ready option in these situations is to shield the photocells from the blowing snow long enough to get the garage door down. Hopefully, the weather will clear soon and normal operation of the opener and door can resume.
As we all know, lightning can be a very destructive force of nature. Garage door openers are not immune to this danger and can often times fall victim to lightning storms and indirect strikes nearby. We typically get calls about garage door opener malfunctions after a serious lighting storm. These storms can cause power surges, which can cause damage to circuit boards and other sensitive electronic parts of a garage door opener.
One way to help prevent this damage is to have your garage door opener plugged into a surge protection device. But these devices only go so far in their ability to shield the garage door opener from a serious lighting related surge. If your garage door opener starts functioning abnormally or fails to work at all, it might be the victim of a lightning related surge if there was a recent storm in your area. Many times, the only way to address this is to replace the circuit board or other electronic parts. If the damage was extensive enough, the entire opener might need to be replaced.
Weather impacts our daily lives in many ways, including our ability to reliably use our garage door openers to raise and lower our garage doors. When you are experiencing issues, pay attention to the weather conditions, especially those related to sunlight, snow, and lightning. Although steps can be taken to help address these issues, they can be difficult to manage.
If your garage door opener is experiencing any issues, we are here to help. Just contact our friendly staff today!