Can I use energy efficient light bulbs in my garage door opener?

We often have customers call in and ask us if it is okay to replace their garage door opener bulb with an energy efficient light bulb.  The answer is Yes and No…it depends on your opener.

Although this may be good practice for your house lamps it’s not a good idea for all garage door openers. According to recent articles CFL light bulbs can cause interference with the radio receiver and remotes on the garage door operator.  General Electric issued the following statement:

Many electronic devices, such as radios, televisions, wireless telephones, and remote controls, use infrared light to transmit signals. Infrequently, these types of electronic devices accidentally interpret the infrared light coming from a compact fluorescent bulb as a signal, causing the electronic device to temporarily malfunction or stop working. (For example, your television might suddenly change channels.) Fortunately, this only happens when light is produced at the same wavelength as the electronic device signals, which is rare. To reduce the chance of interference, avoid placing compact fluorescent bulbs near these kinds of electronic devices. If interference occurs, move the bulb away from the electronic device, or plug either the light fixture or the electronic device into a different outlet.

Liftmaster, however has been paying attention to this issue and addressed CFL bulb interference on their latest garage door openers: model 8550 and model 8360 DC-motor openers. They claim to have enhanced CFL compatible lighting available on these two models using a max 27 watts C

FL bulbs.  Liftmaster garage door openers offer whole-garage lighting with adjustable light time delay compatible with CFL bulbs.  The energy-efficient operation also consumes up to 75% less power in standby mode.

It’s also important to mention, LED lights.  LED lighting is actually known to create more RF noise than CFL bulbs.  It’s also important to note that RF (radio frequency) noise generated by a bulb can vary by manufacturer and even by bulb. The light bulb industry is not required to do RF testing, which is why the results will vary.

We do encourage the use of energy efficient light bulbs where appropriate. 

DID YOU KNOW, that if every home in America replaced just one light bulb within their home, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for an entire year!  That’s about $600 million in annual energy costs.  This would prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars*.  In addition, these light bulbs last about 6 times longer than regular light bulbs.

*Sources: Energy Star