It can be unnerving to hear your garage door opener run when no one’s coming home, or to find the garage door unexpectedly open in the morning or after a trip. When an automatic garage door opener opens and closes the door on its own, it’s called “phantom operation.” Fortunately, the causes and solutions are usually fairly simple.

Phantom Garage Door Operation

Possible Causes

The most common reason garage doors open on their own is an electrical short somewhere in the system. It could be in the circuit board, a remote, the wall button or its wiring, or even the wired keypad.

Older Stanley garage door openers are known for opening and closing by themselves because of a malfunctioning circuit board.

Defective remotes or ones with worn-out batteries will sometimes send out random signals.

Interference from police radios, CB radios, or a radio station or tower near your house can disrupt the signal.

If you store your spare remote in a drawer, the button could accidentally be pressed by other items inside the drawer.

If you live near a military base, there could be electrical equipment operating on the same frequency as your garage door opener.

During a thunderstorm, and electrical surge could damage the electrical components of the transmitter and cause it to randomly open and close the garage door. In this case, it will need to be serviced or replaced.

Unless you have a garage door opener that’s more than 20 years old, it’s unlikely that a neighbor’s remote could trigger your door on accident, because the codes on newer doors change continuously. They use a rolling code system that creates more than 100 million possible code combinations, making it nearly impossible for a door to be activated by the wrong remote. However, older transmitters use nine manual “dip” switches and about 14,000 code combinations, so there’s a slight chance that a home on your street that was built around the same time could get the same code.

Possible Solutions

  1. Try changing the code. To do this, just remove the remote’s cover and use the code wheel to select a new code. Then, change the code on the opener in the garage to match the one you chose just for the remote.
  2. Check for a stuck button on your remote or wall-mounted opener. Look on the opener itself for a flashing light next to the “learn” button. This is an indication that abutton is stuck. Test each remote, and replace the faulty one.
  3. Turn of the breaker or fuse on your electrical panel that’s connected to the garage door opener. Check the wall-mounted control and the opener wiring for damage. If you can’t find any, the opener itself may need to be repaired or replaced.

If you’re not able to find the cause your phantom garage door operation, have a qualified professional find and fix the problem.

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