A blown light bulb on your garage door opener can easily leave you fumbling in the dark. So now is a good time to replace that blown incandescent bulb with the latest compact fluorescent or LED light bulb, right? As it turns out, switching to the latest in energy-efficient CFLs and LED bulbs is a bit more complicated than just swapping one bulb for another.
The Trouble With LEDs and CFLs
It's no secret that CFL and LED bulbs offer plenty of advantages over their incandescent counterparts. They use far less electricity than traditional bulbs and generate less heat during operation. They also offer a dramatically longer service life than their traditional counterparts and generate light with little to no warm-up time needed. These advantages make CFLs and LEDs a great addition to any indoor space - except when it comes to your garage door opener.
There's a good reason why most CFL and LED bulbs are a no-go when it comes to your garage door opener. Garage door opener remotes utilize radio waves along a certain frequency to tell the opener when to open and close the door. Anything that gets in the way of these radio waves can interrupt the signal and prevent the garage door opener from working properly.
It turns out a significant number of these energy-efficient bulbs also emit radio signals along the same frequency as most garage door opener remotes. The good news is that you can still use your LED or CFL light bulbs normally. The bad news? There's a good chance your garage door opener will no longer work as long as you have your new light bulb installed.
Excess Vibration Can Also Kill Bulbs
CFL and LED light bulbs are largely designed for stable and relatively undemanding applications where constant vibration isn't an issue. The act of opening and closing a garage door, on the other hand, can produce enough vibration to negatively affect the delicate circuitry found inside of a typical CFL or LED light bulb.
Since most CFL and LED bulbs aren't designed to handle the rough and tumble world of a typical garage door opener, the excess vibration can easily result in a shortened lifespan for these bulbs.
Special Bulbs Can Make All the Difference
There's no need to despair if you run into this relatively minor hiccup. CFL and LED light bulb manufacturers have recognized the need for more robust bulbs that can handle the stresses of the garage environment. As a result, many manufacturers have introduced special light bulbs that are designed to be vibration and shatter resistant, giving them a longer lifespan than normal CFL and LED bulbs under the same conditions.
These light bulbs are also specially designed to generate as little radio interference as possible, allowing most garage door opener remotes to work properly without any loss in range or other interference issues. These bulbs are also tested under cold weather and damp conditions to improve durability and longevity in a variety of weather conditions.
Your garage door opener manufacturer may have its own list of recommended CFL and LED bulbs that can be safely used with your particular opener. This list can come in handy if you're having a hard time finding the right bulb in your local hardware or home improvement store.
Alternative Options to Consider
If you can't find a CFL or LED light bulb that's compatible with your garage door opener, it may be time to consider some alternatives. In addition to sticking with incandescent bulbs rated for use with your garage door opener, you may be able to use halogen-based bulbs as an energy-efficient alternative.