You go to leave your house, you click your garage door opener and your garage door doesn’t open. You’re already running late to work and the last thing you need is to be stuck in your garage.

For homeowners, It’s common to experience this type of scenario. But it’s also a really good thing to know the reasons why the garage door won’t open. Knowing why something in your home isn’t working properly allows you to tell the repair company exactly what’s going on. It also prevents any unneeded work from a repair company just looking to squeeze more money out of your wallet.

1. Check for Power to Your Garage Door Opener

Always check the power source. This is just for garage doors. If you have an appliance in your home that isn’t working, always check to see if there’s a faulty connection with the power to the unit. Most companies will charge a service fee to come out and check your garage door opener unit so checking this is simple to do and will save you some money.  If all electrical connections look good, move on to number 2.

2. Check for Obstacles

This is one of the most common issues when a garage door won’t open, close or opens/closes a couple inches and then stops.  The photo-eyes are a safety feature for your garage door system and will stop your door from operating if something crosses through the invisible infrared sensors.

First check to see if there’s anything blocking the door. Move anything away from the bottom section of the door. Many people like to put shovels, brooms or other household objects in the corner of their garage near the photo-eye sensors. This increases the chance of knocking your photo-eyes out of alignment.

3. Check the Lights on Your Photo Eyes

If the photo-eyes are aligned properly. The the light on the photo eyes should be solid red/or green depending on the brand you have. If misaligned, go ahead and move them back in place until the light turns solid.

4. Check for Dirt/Dust in the Sensors

If the lights are solid red/green, then the issue could be dirt or dust in the photo eye. Take a rag or paper towel and clean the sensors.

5. Check the Emergency Disconnect Cord (Red Hanging Cord)

If the garage door opener sounds like it’s working, but the door isn’t moving than someone might have pulled the emergency release cord.  Press the garage door remote, and look for the carriage moving up and down the center rail.  If your garage door is disconnected from the opener, read these instructions to re-engage the opener.

5. Check the Lock

Ever try opening a locked door? Just like any door, you have to unlock it to open it. Locking your garage door is a great security feature, but make sure you unlock it before trying to operate your door. Usually when this happens, you will hear the garage door open a little bit and it will sound like it’s stuck.

6. Broken Springs

Once you’ve checked all of the above, it’s time to look a little closer at your door system. Broken springs can be very obvious or hard to spot. When extension springs break, you’ll typically see them hanging loose. If a torsion spring breaks (above your door) then you can also spot the break. We’ve discussed this in more detail in Common Garage Door Repairs and Costs.

7. Remote Control Issues

Always check multiple controls when diagnosing why a garage door won’t open. If the remote in your car isn’t working, try opening your door with the keypad or wall remote. If all of these don’t work, the problem may be with the opener unit.  Garage door remotes have a small battery that may just need to be changed. If you have an older remote, you may need to just purchase a new one.

The remote could also somehow been disconnected. If this is the case, you’ll have to re-program the remote to your garage door opener.