Lightning strikes threaten people and property in southern Wisconsin every year. A nearby strike is a threat to the electric garage opener in your Janesville WI home. Lightning has the power to start fires and destroy electronic components. It surges through the ground, water and nearby objects. It doesn’t take a direct hit to damage your garage door opener.
The garage door is the most likely “front door” for most families. And nothing is more frustrating than a garage door opener that doesn’t work when you need to get in or out. It must respond when you need it, right?
People protect valuable appliances and electronics with surge protectors and similar devices. However, few provide the same protection to their garage door opening systems. With the electrical connect in the ceiling adding a surge protector isn’t practical.
Electric Garage Opener Damage
There are two things for certain when it comes to lighting: There will be plenty of it in Wisconsin, and you cannot predict where it will hit. Lightning is a force of nature capable of serious damage to people and property.
How do you know if unusual behavior from your garage door opener has anything to do with power surges or lightning? When an opener doesn’t work, the most common problem is a dead battery in the remote. Check that first. Second, make sure the unit is plugged in properly – gravity can cause a plug to work loose. Finally, make sure the fuse or circuit-breaker for the outlet hasn’t been tripped. If none of these get the door moving again, look for these common signs of a power surge:
- Sensor lights out – if safety sensors at the base of the door’s track are not lighted the system has no power.
- Lights but no action – when the opener’s lights go on but nothing moves there’s a misconnection between the signal and the mechanism.
- Lights flashing –small, flashing lights on the motor unit means the system was shut down by an electrical failure.
- Motor smells “hot” – a strong electrical surge burns or melts wiring. A lightning strike on something like a power line transformer sends thousands of volts in all directions. A lightning-caused surge overwhelms wiring causing overheating.
- “Ghosts” in the system – behavior out of the ordinary or that you don’t initiate is cause for concern – the door opens on its own or opens/closes halfway and stops.
Power Outage Backup Plan
You might escape a direct hit in a thunderstorm but power outages are common. Even a few minutes without power is annoying. When it lasts for hours it is serious. This is Wisconsin, thunderstorms and threatening weather are facts of life. It make sense to have a backup plan for your garage door opener if the power goes out, doesn’t it?
You can open it by hand from the inside. But what if you’re out in the pouring rain? You cannot release the manual override from outside. Like all appliances, garage door openers make life easier when they work. When they fail or are knocked offline it is a problem. Some homeowners are installing backup generators to power the whole house. That can be an expensive solution. There are less expensive, reliable alternatives.
Most garage door opener brands offer powerful, reliable battery backup systems. They’re “plug-and-play” installations. They don’t need maintenance or any kind of fuel. The battery-powered system charges while there’s household power, holding enough power to raise/lower garage doors several times.
Battery Backup Benefits For Door Openers
If you’re in an area where power outages are common and likely to last longer than most, check out a battery backup. There are battery-powered units for all sized garage doors. Advantages are obvious – the door opens when you need it to every time! When looking for a battery-backup for your garage door opener, consider:
- Installation, set-up – with its power unit mounted above the opener’s, the add-on system works after a few hours of charging.
- Long life – battery systems expect a usable lifetime of 3 maintenance-free years or more.
- Connect and forget – connected to the power unit the system charges with household electrical current. It has no fuel and no moving parts so there’s nothing to service or maintain. However It makes sense to test the backup every 6 months or so to be sure it is fully charged. A test is easy, unplug the opener and see if the battery moves the door.
- Peace of mind – If the power goes out you don’t have to release the manual override, you have service as usual even from outside.
- Plenty of capacity – you want a battery that opens the door more than once or twice, just in case. Backup systems are rated to open/close a standard garage door up to 50 times in 24 hours. The door may open and close slower but you can count on it.
An Electric Garage Opener Damage Plan
Lightning causes millions of dollars in damage every year. Your garage door opener is one of the largest electrical appliances in your house. A plan to protect it makes sense because storm damage isn’t always avoidable. A plan to get fast, reliable garage door and opener repairs makes sense, too, right?
There are many options when it comes to garage doors and accessories. Country Door Systems repairs and installs the best of the best. That includes openers that include a battery backup feature and add-on backup systems for the garage door opener you already have. To review what’s available for your home call or email Country Door Systems at 608-752-9537. Our experienced professionals are ready to install new units or repair your existing electric garage opener anywhere in the Janesville WI area.