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Lehi neighborhood wants to find out what's interfering with garage door openers



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

LEHI — It's a mystery that a Lehi neighborhood wants to solve: What's causing their garage door openers to not function?

Residents in the Sunset Hollow neighborhood just south of Thanksgiving Point said the problems with remote openers started about three weeks ago.

"I was trying to go to my daughter's dance class and we were trying to shut the garage and I thought maybe something was in the way and I moved around and I was able to get up close and push the button and it finally closed," Ashlee Harvey said. "For about a week it was iffy and then it was completely gone and we've had no luck at all."

Ashlee and her husband, Jason, tried all the simple fixes to try to get it working.

"It was at first a mystery but then it turned into a frustration," Jason Harvey said.

"We've changed the battery out several times," Ashlee Harvey said.

It wasn't until the neighborhood started chatting online that they figured out the problem was more widespread.

"Everybody in our neighborhood was commenting, saying they had the same issue, and we were just so shocked," Ashlee Harvey said.

"A large portion of the neighborhood are experiencing the same exact thing," Jason Harvey said.

Jason Harvey works in electrical and computer engineering at BYU and said he quickly realized that something is overpowering their garage door opener's signal.

"It's not just affecting me, it's affecting the whole neighborhood," Jason Harvey said. "It's definitely a frequency issue of interference."

He even emailed the Federal Communications Commission about the issue, only to be told that garage doors don't operate on a protected range and that it may be necessary to buy new controls that operate on a different frequency.

Residents in the Sunset Hollow neighborhood just south of Thanksgiving Point in Lehi are having problems with their garage door openers.
Residents in the Sunset Hollow neighborhood just south of Thanksgiving Point in Lehi are having problems with their garage door openers. (Photo: Josh Szymanik, KSL-TV)

"Many garage door openers use frequencies where the Federal Government has primary rights to use the radio spectrum," said an email response from the FCC that Jason Harvey provided to KSL. "Since federal operations generally were confined to a limited number of areas, most garage door openers do not experience interference."

The email advised to contact the garage door opener manufacturer to see what options are available to correct the interference.

"New mobile communications systems are being installed at a number of military bases to meet the needs of the military," the email went on to say. "As a result, garage door openers near these bases may experience interference. The interference is generally intermittent and may either reduce the operating distance or in some cases prevent the control from working."

KSL-TV reached out to nearby Camp Williams where a spokesperson said they have not changed anything with their communication systems recently and are not conducting any special practice operations.

Public information officer Ileen Kennedy with the Utah National Guard said that the camp's radio frequencies should not be interfering or overlapping with garage door openers.

Without any clear answers, Jason Harvey said that he might borrow some equipment from BYU so that he can track the source of the radio interference.

"Right now we kind of feel a little hopeless that we're not going to be able to use the simplicity of a garage door opener," Jason Harvey said.

"No one's been able to figure it out," Ashlee Harvey said. "Our hope would be that it's something little around the neighborhood somebody got a radio or a new antenna that's messing it up."

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