Lightning strikes from thunderstorms rolling through southern Wisconsin are dramatic. They also threaten door opener damage in your Madison WI area garage. The electricity let loose in a lightning strike can start fires and fry electronics. Its power surges through ground, water and nearby objects. It doesn’t take a direct hit to damage your garage’s door opener.
Homeowners regularly protect valuable appliances and electronics with surge protectors and similar devices. Few garage opener systems get the same consideration. Mostly because the electrical connect is in the ceiling where adding a protector isn’t easy or practical.
Tell-tale Signs Of Door Opener Damage
There’s nothing more frustrating than a garage door failing to work when you need to get in or out. The garage door is the No. 1 entry for most families these days. It has to respond when you need it, right?
Here are a few common signs your garage door opening system has been zapped by a power surge:
- “Ghost behavior” – the door opens on its own, or opens/closes halfway and stops. Any behavior out of the ordinary or that you don’t initiate is cause for concern.
- No response – your key pad or in-car remotes don’t work at all. The first step is to put in fresh batteries. If that doesn’t work the signal from the remote to the controller has been lost. A power surge from a lightning strike is a likely cause.
- Sensor lights out – the safety sensors near the floor at the base of the door’s track are not lighted. If the lights are not on the system isn’t working.
- No action – the opener’s lights go on but nothing moves. There’s a misconnection between the signal and the mechanism.
- Flashing lights – if there are small, flashing lights on the motor unit the system likely has been shut down by some form of electrical failure.
- Smells “hot” – a powerful electrical surge burns or melts wiring. A nearby lightning strike – like on a power line transformer – sends thousands of volts in all directions. Surges easily overwhelm wiring within a garage door opener causing overheating.
Door Opener Backup Plan
Even when you’re lucky enough to escape the direct impact of lightning, thunderstorms often lead to power outages. Going even minutes without power is frustrating. Knowing it can last for hours is more than annoying. You have insurance to protect your family and belongings. Doesn’t it make sense to have a backup plan for your garage door opener if the power’s out?
Sure, you can open it by hand from the inside. But, what if it’s pouring rain, blowing like crazy and you’re outside? There’s no way to release the manual override from outside. Electric garage door openers make life easier – when they work. In rural areas homeowners are opting to install backup generators to power the whole house. In cities and suburbs generators are less common. In either case, they’re expensive to install and maintain. There must be a better way, right?
Almost every brand system for garage doors offers powerful, reliable battery backup systems. Most have simple “plug-and-play” set up. The need no maintenance and no fuel. The system charges while there’s household power. It stores enough power to raise/lower even the heaviest doors several times.
Garage Door Battery Backup Benefits
Not every opener is compatible with a battery backup system. If you’re in an area where power outages are common or last longer than most, check out what’s available. There are systems for doors of all sizes. Some advantages are obvious – the door opens when you want it to every time! Others are more subtle but no less important. Consider:
- Easy installation, set-up – located above the opener’s power unit, the add-on system goes to work after 23-48 hours of charging.
- Long working life – manufacturers report battery systems have a usable lifetime of three maintenance-free years or more.
- No maintenance – connected to the power unit, the backup system keeps its charge via household electrical current. There’s no fuel, no moving parts, nothing to service or maintain. NOTE: It makes sense to test the battery backup every six months or so to be sure the connections to household power have charged it properly. Especially as the system ages. Testing is easy. Just unplug the opener and see if the battery works the door.
- Peace of mind operation – once charged there’s nothing to do. If the power goes out you don’t have to release the manual override, you have service as usual.
- Reliable capacity – you don’t want a battery that opens the door once or twice, right? Modern backup systems are rated to open/close a standard garage door up to 50 times in 24 hours. The door might open and close slower than normal. And the overhead lights will stay off – all conserving power – but you can rely upon the door.
Have A Door Opener Damage Plan
As spring gives way to summer the threat of storm damage and power outages increases. Lightning causes millions of dollars in damage every year. Zapped electronics are high on the list of damages. Your garage opening system is one of the largest electrical systems in your house. Putting together a plan to protect it makes sense. Having a backup plan to keep it working does too. Unfortunately, storm damage isn’t always avoidable. So, having a plan to get fast, reliable garage door and opener repairs makes sense, too, right?
You have many options available when it comes to doors and accessories. Northland Door Systems repairs and installs the best available. From openers that include a battery backup feature to add-on backup systems for the opener you already have. When you need repairs or want to put together a protection plan call or email Northland Door Systems at 608-251-3627. To see the many opener systems we stock visit the Northland Door Systems’ unique garage door showroom in Sauk City. We have the knowledge, experience and skill to repair garage opener damage anywhere in the Madison WI area.