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How to Prevent Your Garage Door Opener from Becoming a Lightning Rod

Updated: Jan. 15, 2020

Don't be sorry you didn't equip your home with one of these!

garage door opener surge protectorFamily Handyman
Installing a surge protection guards agains power surges and lightning strikes.

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Every garage door opener is vulnerable to power surges and lightning strikes. In fact, the wiring for the photoelectric eyes and the wall buttons can act like a lightning rod, pulling energy into the opener, damaging the circuit board and leaving your garage door opener dead. Plus, check out these 51 tips to find ways to make your garage more organized and better to use.

A new circuit board costs $60 or more. Adding a surge protector is a  DIY project that takes about 15 minutes and greatly reduces your risk of surge damage. The units cost about $20 each at home centers, and you’ll need one for each opener. We installed a Chamberlain Garage Door Universal Surge Protector.

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Project Directions:

Unplug the opener from the outlet. Then remove the wall button wires from the opener, noting their polarity. Connect those  wires to the correct terminals on the surge protector. Next, remove the photoelectric eye wires from the opener and connect those to the surge protector, following the same procedure. Finish by stripping and connecting new wires (included with the surge protector) to the surge protector and corresponding terminals on the opener. Plug in the protector and the opener.

garage door opener surge protectorFamily Handyman

1. Connect the Wall Button Wires

Depress the tab on each terminal of the surge protector and insert the wires from the wall buttons in your garage.

garage door openers wiresFamily Handyman

2. Connect the New Wires to the Opener

Insert the wall button and photoelectric eye wires into the correct terminals on the opener, paying attention to the polarity.

For most of us, a garage is a lot more than a place to park. We use it to build big projects, we load it up with everything from Hot Wheels to Harleys, and sometimes we party or just hang out with the guys there. And for all these purposes, you want more than the basic four walls and a roof. You want to make your garage a better place to work and play. So we teamed up with our field editors to show you our favorite garage features. Whether you’re planning your dream garage or just looking to improve your old one, check them out!