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6 Ways Lightning Strikes Can Damage Your Garage Door System

Lightning Striking Garage Door

Lightning strikes may lack the awe-inspiring destructive power that comes with tornadoes or hurricanes, but they’re deadly in their own right. The U.S. alone experiences over 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes each year, and it only takes one bolt to strike your home. Such a strike can do serious damage to your garage door.

A direct strike isn’t the only way lightning can damage your garage door. An indirect hit can prove just as damaging to openers, photo-eye sensors, and other electrical components that are a part of your garage door. Lightning strikes can impact your garage door’s look and functionality, as explained by the examples listed below.

1. Scorch Marks and Other Physical Damage

A lightning bolt can literally leave its mark on your garage door. A typical bolt packs up to one billion volts of electricity. Which result in a strike that can damage your garage door in a variety of ways, depending on the material it’s made from.

A lightning strike on a steel, aluminum or fiberglass garage door can leave behind noticeable scorch marks on the surface. The sheer force of the lightning bolt’s impact can also cause dents and even burn a hole through the door itself. Wood garage doors can also have their finish damaged by a lightning strike, not to mention the potential for such doors to catch fire after a strike.

Lightning strikes can also affect your garage door’s metal hardware. The brief electrical current can weld metal components together, making it nearly impossible to open the door without your garage door technician’s help.

2. Broken Windows

Garage door window inserts offer a great way of complementing your door’s styling. However, a close-proximity lightning strike could damage your glass in a number of ways. For starters, a lightning strike could damage the window frame. Such damage could cause cracks in the actual window or leave the window loose enough to dislodge or even fall out when the garage door is opened.

The powerful shockwave that accompanies a typical lightning strike also has the potential to shatter nearby windows, including the ones on your garage door.

3. Damaged Circuitry

The most extensive damage done by lightning strikes often goes unseen until it’s too late. Garage door openers are common casualties of lightning strikes and damaged circuit boards typically go with the territory. An indirect lightning strike can produce power surges that travel through electrical outlets in the blink of an eye. These power surges can easily overwhelm unprotected electrical equipment, including your garage door opener.

By the time a lightning strike is over, your garage door opener’s circuitry is toast. The resulting power surge can leave behind burnt electrical traces, destroyed transistors, and damaged capacitors. Unless your electrical outlet or power strip offers surge protection, your garage door opener will always remain vulnerable to lightning strikes.

4. Burnt or Melted Wiring

Lightning strikes can also leave wiring damage in their wake. As lightning finds its way to the ground via your home’s electrical wiring, the resulting power surge can easily overwhelm the delicate electrical wiring inside of your garage door opener. The power surge can then cause the wiring within to overheat and potentially melt or burn.

Burnt wiring not only prevents your garage door opener from working, but it could also pose a serious fire hazard for the rest of your home.

5. Erratic Operation

Not every lightning strike ends with a completely dead garage door opener. In fact, your opener may appear normal — right up to the moment it suddenly starts working with zero input on your part. The opener still works, but the lightning strike fried its electronics just enough to scramble its operation. Garage doors are dangerous in this state due to their unpredictable behavior.

Even the LED indicator lights on your garage door opener aren’t immune to lightning damage. On a damaged opener, the lights may flash out of sequence, display the wrong status, remain lit at all times or fail to light up at all.

6. Controls That Fail to Respond

Lightning strikes can also render your garage door opener controls non-functional for a variety of reasons. A fried receiver will prevent any of your garage door remotes from working properly. A lightning strike can also fry your garage door opener’s hardwired controls, leaving you with little choice but to manually open and close the door until repairs are made.

While your odds of being hit by lightning are fairly remote, the same can’t be said of your home. At least one out of 200 homes will be struck each year. If a lightning bolt out of nowhere puts your garage door out of commission, the experts at Shank Door can get it back on track. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a service visit.

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