Technology, Weather Can Lead To Garage Door Problems

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It's an issue most homeowners have felt-- the panic and nervousness of leaving a garage door open when heading out for the day. WOWT 6 News spoke with a garage door expert about the times we swear we shut the door, but find it open later.

Andrea Westphal works at WOWT. She says on Tuesday morning her husband texted her, saying she left the garage door open.

"I watched it go down," Westphal said. "I even counted in my head, 'okay, it's closed.'"

She believed thieves may have opened the door. But experts say that's rarely the case.

"It could be that they've got a really old opener or one that's starting to wear out," said Doug Kindig with Norm's Door Service.

Kindig said most people think thieves can open the garage, but usually once the door hits 10-years-old, it's time to upgrade because random openings can happen easily.

"The wireless phones, Internet, cell towers and everything-- if the opener's getting old, it basically can get confused," Kindig said.

For example, if neighbors have the same system, and yours is 10 or more years old, the neighbor's opener can trigger your door accidentally.

On top of that, winter weather can lead to random openings. The cold expands the concrete, making it a bit taller. That can make the door think it came into contact with something other than the ground and bounce back open as a safety measure.

For Westphal, who admits that her system is at the 10-year mark, she's considering an update, especially after a suspected theft last February.

"I don't know what happened. I woke up the next morning, the garage door was open and there were several items missing from the car," Westphal said.

So after hearing tips from an expert, she hopes the upgrade helps and she'll never have to wonder if she left the door open again.

Experts say even if thieves aren't opening the doors themselves, they can use an open door as an opportunity. The only types of doors they can hack into were made before 1993.