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Brian, Architect
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Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
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I have an older liftermaster garage door opener. It only buzzes

Customer Question

I have an older liftermaster garage door opener. It only buzzes when i activate it. Both sensors are on witha green light.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Brian replied 9 months ago.
Hi and thanks for using our service! My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will do whatever I possibly can to give you the most accurate answer.

The humming/ buzzing noise typically means that you need a new start capacitor inside the motor unit. It is probably starting to go. It can also be that the plastic gears are stripped or binding.

You will need to unplug and remove the cover off the motor unit to inspect the gears. You can also inspect the cylinder shaped capacitor to see if it is bulging or leaking fluid.

Another possible cause for the buzzing noise, but rare, can be that the opener may be trying too hard to open the door either because the spring(s) is weak or broken or the tracks/ rollers are bent or need lubricating.

The opener does not do the heavy lifting of the door, the spring(s) does all the work, the opener just aids in moving the door open. I would verify that the cables to the springs are still on the pulleys (if you have this type). I would also verify that the door is not going up slightly crooked, just enough to bind.

You can perform the following tests:

First, I would close the door and then disconnect the door from the trolley and operate the door manually. The door NEEDS to roll smoothly and not bind on anything and it NEEDS to be balanced and stay at any point you stop it. If the door wants to go down by itself the springs are weak/ broken and at fault; have a qualified service technician fix/ adjust them...they can be very dangerous to work with since they are under extreme tension.

Second, operate the opener without the door attached and see if it operates correctly. The trolley will fully go up and down if working properly.

Performing these tests will help narrow down whether the door/ tracks are the problem or the motor unit is giving you the problem. But my gut feeling is you need a new start capacitor.
Brian, Architect
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2978
Experience: Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Hello the door rolls up and down ok. I tend to agree with you. The opener is over 13 years old. Think it is time to replace it.

Expert:  Brian replied 9 months ago.
Hi John. Yeah you could replace the capacitor and wait for something else to break. Or you could buy a new opener. Yours has reached the average life span and I think you will enjoy today's technology and safety features.

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