Garage doors in Prairie Meadows, Illinois, seem to have a mind of their own. In April 2015, a local resident arrived home, tried to click open her garage door and was met with defiant doors that stayed firmly down. She was just the first in time, everyone in the neighborhood found themselves locked out of their garages. A neighbor said, “We asked around the neighborhood and learned the problem is affecting about 20 different homes. One neighbor had a repairman from a garage door company come to his home, but it was no use. They couldn’t figure it out either.”

The frustration went on for five days, with everyone dreaming up a variety of excuses. Batteries were replaced, and some lucky residents were able to opt into manual entry for their garages. However, no repairmen could find a solution. “A garage door man was looking at a garage across the street and couldn’t find a hardware reason for it,” said one neighbor. Thinking the nearby Willard Airport might be causing a disturbance, neighbors looked into it, but, “They determined they weren’t the cause.”

A “Store” Thing

Fortunately the weather is temperate this time of year in Illinois, so nobody is battling heavy snow or hailstorms as they’re stuck parking in their driveway. One neighbor filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, but a prompt reply from the FCC pointed out that the agency doesn’t govern garage door openers. After reaching out to the local Municipal Center, resident Dick Helton said,  “We have no idea what is causing it. I wonder if somebody in the neighborhood has some kind of a jamming device. I’m at a loss for what it might be or how to get answers.”

A non-working garage door isn’t just an inconvenience for homeowners. It also restricts the use of a prime storage space and denies access to the most popular home entry area. It’s unclear whether a device caused the interference — perhaps unintentionally, but it’s the only feasible explanation. After conducting some DIY investigation, one neighbor found that, “It could be wireless interference at 2.4 gigahertz. It might be a cellphone jammer. They operate at that frequency as well. Other than that, I have no real clue.”

Mystery (Kind of) Solved

Five days after the trouble began, neighbors saw their garage doors begin to work sporadically. However, the remotes had to be kept very close to the door, which isn’t possible when backing out of a garage without help. The amateur sleuth said, “I suspect there might be a ham radio operator or some device in the neighborhood, but we can’t pinpoint it.”

A reputable garage door repair service should be able to offer solutions for such woes, or maybe even figure out the root of the problem. For all your garage door repairs and solutions, contact Canyon Overhead Doors to keep your chin  and your doors up.