Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a seasoned veteran at homeownership, sometimes there are problems with household features that aren’t always easy to fix. Sometimes they involve a little investigating. And when it comes to something like a garage door malfunctioning, there could be a variety of reasons why it might not be working properly.
Here are the top nine things to check on your garage door if it’s not opening:
- Transmitter Batteries
One of the most commonly overlooked problems with a faulty garage door is that its transmitter batteries are dead. As simple as it might seem, people do forget to do this or are unaware that changing out the batteries is required. A way to test this is to press the button and watch for a small blinking light on the box where the chain enters and exits. Should the garage door open as you move closer to the box, but fail to open as you get farther away, the batteries are probably running low and needs to be replaced. If you aren’t able to see any blinking light on the box at all, it’s likely that the battery is dead. Be sure to try this simple solution first, before assuming it’s a bigger problem than it might be and creating more work for yourself.
- Outlets/Circuit Breaker
Similar to the dead battery problem, there may be a chance that your operator’s power source has been interrupted. Sometimes people forget that they’ve unplugged their power source and then aren’t sure why their garage door is no longer responding properly. To check if this is the source of the problem, ensure that your garage door opener is plugged into a working outlet. You should also see if your circuit breaker, fuse or GFCI is in working order as well.
- Mode Settings on Transmitter
Another problem that may cause your garage door to be unresponsive is its mode settings. If your door is set to “lock” or “vacation” mode, it will likely not work properly until that has been reset. When set in one of these modes, it may open one time using the remote, but then must be unlocked from the wall control that’s located inside the garage. This may be another simple fix that could be the solution to your garage door issues.
- Photo (or Electric) Eye Sensors
The next thing you might check are the “photo eyes” (sometimes referred to as “electric eyes”). Photo eye sensors are the two sensors that are located on either side of the garage door about four to six inches off of the ground, which serve as a safety feature. The job of one of the sensors is to direct a beam toward the other one. If there’s an object that gets in the way, the sensor breaks the circuit and stop the door from closing. Because these sensors are sensitive and can easily get misaligned, the photo eyes may require some adjustment. You should also ensure that the cord attached to the eye has not been damaged or dirtied in any way, as this can cause the eyes to clog or get blocked from working properly.
- Antenna Wire on Receiver
There’s also a possibility that your garage door isn’t working because of poor or stripped wiring. If the remote only works from the inside of the garage, then it’s fair to assume that the antenna wire on the garage door opener itself may be damaged or out of range. A good way to check this is to see if the antenna is attached and if it’s not hanging from the unit, shift the antenna so it can receive a signal. (*Note: there are some garage door openers that have an antenna placed within the unit.)
- Sensitivity Settings
No matter if you have a new garage door or an older one, it’s easy for the sensitivity settings to get out of whack, which can throw off the whole functionality of the door in and of itself. Test your door’s sensitivity by referring to the instructions on your manufacturer’s guide. Generally speaking, if you adjust the close force and limit switch to the correct settings, the problem can easily be fixed.
- Lock Handle
For those who aren’t familiar, the lock handle is the handle that’s located on the outer part of the door which serves as a security feature. When the lock handle is engaged, it prevents you from being able to open the door automatically, so be sure to check if your door is locked or not before ever trying to open the garage door in the first place.
- Torsion Springs
One of the more common (and more serious) problems that occurs with garage doors are issues with their torsion and extension springs. Torsion springs are springs that can be found across the top of the door and extension springs can be found on either side of the door. Because they function on a certain number of cycles, when they run out or when a spring breaks, the door will no longer be able to be lifted by the motor. You can usually detect this just from the snapping sound (similar to a firecracker or gunshot) that happens when it breaks. When this type of problem happens, it’s important that the springs be replaced. However, it is strongly recommended that a specialist come to replace it.
Garage door cables are those that run from the bottom of the door up to the side of the door. When a torsion spring breaks on a garage door, there’s a good chance that the cables will also snap due to the intense amount of pressure that’s pushed onto them with the break. If your garage door isn’t working, check these cables to ensure they haven’t snapped. And if they have snapped, be sure to call a professional to help you repair them, as this is definitely a more serious problem that should be dealt with by someone with a good deal of experience.