Friday, October 21, 2016

The Garage Door Opener Risk

The Lost Coast Outpost tells us of a new program by the Eureka Police to try and reduce vehicle related theft: they're leaving notices on cars telling whether that car passed or failed their security test. They have a list of things to consider based on a cute acronymn:

C – Close all windows.
L – Lock all doors.
E – Eliminate all belongings from plain view.
A – Always take your vehicle keys.
R – Remove garage door openers.

Mention of garage door openers got my attention as we've been having a bit of a headache with that lately with our garage door opening without us having anything to do with it. I can only assume someone else has a garage door opener that works on ours.

As I wrote in the LoCo, years ago- I believe it was on The Today Show, I watched a segment where they pointed out manufacturers generally set all door opener frequencies, by default, to the same frequency. Thus, if someone has the same model door opener, theirs might well work on yours.

Starting probably a couple months ago, our garage door opened mysteriously with neither of us having anything to do with it. I blew it off when the wife mentioned it, then took it more serious when it happened to me. 

I was sitting here at the computer just before noon with the door in the kitchen that goes to the garage open. All of the sudden the garage door opened. Hmmm??? Nobody standing outside so I assumed someone was just driving by trying to see which garage doors he could open so he could come back later and rip us off.

No evidence of anyone having come back, but it had me concerned. What we do now is unplug the motor for the garage door. That way, even if someone has a  compatible opener, the motor won't come on anyway. And that's a pain in the ass as it also means we can't open the door from the outside, either.

I still haven't called the company in town that services our garage door to ask for advice on any alternatives. I know how to change the motor's radio frequency but figure the bad guys can do that, too. Maybe I'll call Eureka Overhead Door today.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger gabriele gray said...

Why not look up the company that made your garage door and see if they have updates on how to make them safer? Looks like it's been a concern since at least 2010 so a reliable company should have a FAQ list about it...
good luck

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Bill said...

I had the same problem. In my case it was a defective remote opener that got stuck in the 'on' position when you didn't know it. It was a mystery. It was an old and sticky remote, so it kept sending out the signal to open when we'd be inside the house and occasionally it did so.

I had to wonder if someone else was opening our door by 'capturing' our remote frequency. The door guy said that can't happen nowadays because remotes and doors now have 'rolling codes', where the frequency rotates to a new code every time it's used.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"The door guy said that can't happen nowadays because remotes and doors now have 'rolling codes', where the frequency rotates to a new code every time it's used"

Hmmm??? First I've heard of that, but it would make sense, except when our door opened we hadn't used our opener and were nowhere near it.

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Bill said...

Our opener was in the car in the garage, and we would be inside the house. It would send out the signal being stuck in the 'on' position-- without our knowledge-- and open the door randomly whenever it thought to be a clever time, usually at 2 in the morning.

The problem of our door mysteriously opening by itself when we'd be inside the house was easily solved. We got a new remote. It was about due to be replaced anyway and the new one works much better. It cost somewhere between $35-50.

But what happened with us may not be the same for you. Call the garage door company and you might get free advice over the phone.


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