Light Bulbs For Garage Door Openers: Incandescent CFL LED

Garage Door Opener LED

Garage door opener light bulbs are size A19 with maximum wattage of 100W for incandescent bulbs and 10W for LED bulbs.  Exceeding the manufactures guidelines could damage your opener, cause interference or even void your warranty. The best and safest light bulb for your opener is the Genie Universal LED Bulb.

When looking to install a new light bulb in your garage door opener you will have three options: Incandescent (ILB), Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED). Each option carries pros and cons regarding energy efficiency, up front costs and interference issues. Here is a brief summary of my findings.

 

Garage Door Opener Light Bulbs

Incandescent (ILB)

If you have purchased a new garage door opener there is a good chance that the manufacturer has included an incandescent light bulb in the box. Incandescent bulbs are the most reliable option, but are also the most expensive to power. In fact the energy efficiency is so bad that the government passed a law making it illegal to manufacture these bulbs in the United States.

Most people purchase this type of bulb due to the low up front cost, not realizing that they also have the shortest life span and highest energy consumption.

You may want to consider purchasing the “rough service” version of this bulb since they are more resistance to shocks, bumps and heavy vibration. Additional wiring and heavy duty filaments help protect the bulb from damage. Since these are considered specialty bulbs they are not subject to government legislation creating a convenient loophole.

  • Low Up Front Cost
  • No Interference
  • Least Energy Efficient
  • Shortest Lifespan

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

CFL light bulbs are the best option for most garages, but not for automatic openers. They use 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 5 times longer. So you might be wondering, “Why all openers don’t come with CFL bulbs pre-installed?” The major issue is they cause interference between your remote control and the logic board – weakening or completely eliminating the signal.

The other major issue is sensitivity to cold temperatures. If you live in the northern climates with a detached garage in extreme cold this could be an issue for you.

  • 70% More Efficient
  • 5x Longer Lifespan
  •  Interference Issues
  • Poor For Cold Weather
  • More Expensive Upfront

 

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Arguably the best blend of energy efficiency and performance, LED bulbs are a great alternative to CFL and ILB lighting. Interference issues are intermittent with LED lighting, but some manufacturers have tested and developed LED bulbs specifically for openers. The technology has now progressed far enough that interference with your RF signal may be a thing of the past.

One major advantage is that LED bulbs don’t get extremely hot to the touch. If you intend to use your garage door opener as a light source frequently, this will prevent the light bulb from melting the plastic protective casing.

  • Most Energy Efficient
  • Cool to Touch
  • Most Expensive Upfront
  • Can Cause Interference**

 

Light Bulb Compatibility List

If you are determined to install LED lighting in your garage door opener a trial and error method is your best option. After installing your LED light bulb test the remote from various distances to ensure interference isn’t an issue. Don’t forget that other lights in the vicinity of your opener can also cause the same type of interference.

If you want to speed along this process Chamberlain Liftmaster has a non exhaustive PDF Chart of bulbs tested with various models of  their openers. If your brand or model is not listed on that chart you will need to test whatever you install. Here are my top 5 most opener friendly light bulbs with global compatibility:

  1. Genie – LEDB1R (Buy Here on Amazon!)
  2. Cree SA19-08127 (2nd Best Option)
  3. ECOSMART – ECS A19CW
  4. 3M – RRA19B4
  5. Phillips – 425256

Our recommendation is to use whatever light bulb is included with your original garage door opener purchase. After that initial bulb burns out its probably time to invest in a new LED light bulb.

 

2019Genie - LEDPhillips - CFLGE - Incandescent
Price (each)$9.99$4.99$2.99
Lifespan25,000 Hours8,000 Hours5,400 Hours
Annual Cost$1.07$1.69$6.38
Lumens800800380
Interference IssuesNoYesNo
Rough ServiceYesYesYes

 

 

What size bulb can I use in my opener?

The casing and light socket in your garage door opener is designed to accept an A19 light bulb size.  The letter “A” designates arbitrary/standard (classic bulb shape) while the number 19 represents 19/8 in (2 3/8″ or 60mm) diameter. Spiral style bulbs can also be used in your opener.

The maximum length of this model bulb is 4 3/8 (110mm) in length.  The plastic light cover on most openers will measure about 4 3/4 in height. Don’t forget that the bulb will screw into the light socket so less than 4″ of the bulb will actually be exposed. This gives an air space between the top of the light bulb and the opener lens cover to prevent overheating.

 

Equivalent Brightness – Incandescent vs CFL LED Lumens

If you choose to upgrade your light bulb to CFL or LED you may want to consider an equivalent brightness. This comparison chart is based off lumens – comparing the relative brightness of each bulb.

IncandescentCFLLED
60-watt13-watt7-watt
75-watt19-watt9-watt
100-watt28-watt13-watt

 

 

Why Did My Light Cover Melt?

Exceeding the maximum recommended bulb wattage and using the opener as a light source for long periods of time can cause excessive heat buildup. This often results in melting of the plastic lens cover, light socket and the logic board – making for some costly repairs.

Heat can also be caused by poor contacts inside the socket. If your metal contact on the light socket or the bottom of the light bulb appears dirty from oxidation you will need to clean it. Disconnect the power by removing the plug from the outlet. Then using sandpaper, polish both contact points until both are shiny.

  • Exceeding Maximum Wattage
  • Excess Vibration
  • Oxidized Contacts
  • Extremely High Usage

 

Why is my opener light flickering and burning out frequently?

Flickering lights and lights that burn out quickly are most often caused by heat buildup and excessive vibration during use – especially when the opener starts. This vibration causes the light bulb to momentarily lose contact with the socket. You have a few options to fix this issue. Always disconnect the power before attempting to troubleshoot faulty lighting.

  1. Using a flathead screwdriver pry up the metal contacts inside the light socket. The goal is to pry the contact up far enough so the bulb presses solidly against it with a spring action.
  2. Clean the contact points with sandpaper removing any oxidation, dirt or dust. Both points should have the original metallic shine.
  3. Install a vibration resistant rough service bulb vs your standard bulb
  4. Replace your existing opener light socket – 4A1344 & 41C279
  5. Figure out what is causing high vibration of your garage door and fix the source of the problem.

 

 

Why won’t my garage door opener light come on?

The garage door opener lighting can fail for a variety of reasons. Most of the problems originate from either the light socket or the circuit board. Troubleshooting the problem is usually a quick process. Here are the most common reasons that lights fail to come on.

  1. Light bulb is burnt out – Replace with a new light bulb.
  2. The contact inside the light socket is pressed down too far. Pry the contacts up with a screwdriver so that the bulb base presses firmly against the socket contacts.
  3. The contact and bulb base have oxidized and need to be polished. Restore to a shine using sandpaper.
  4. The light socket is bad/melted and needs to be replaced.
  5. The logic board is bad/melted and needs to be replaced.
  6. You have disabled the light by accidentally pressing a setting on your wall control. Find your owners manual and adjust the applicable settings.

Why won’t my garage door opener light turn off?

The light shutoff timer on your opener varies by manufacturer, but averages 3-5 minutes. One of the most well known brands Chamberlain Liftmaster uses a standard delay of 4 1/2 minutes. With technology improving manufacturers have made the light functions adjustable. Newer openers with smart wall controls have adjustable and programmable light settings. Motion detection and shutoff timers can be customized per user needs.

If your light won’t turn off it could be something as simple as a light button on your wall control being accidentally pressed. In other cases it could be an object obstructing the safety sensors. Lights are programmed to turn on when something is obstructing the beam. Consult your owners manual to adjust the light settings for your opener.

Other possibilities include a bad logic board or relay. Often this is caused by a power surge through a nearby lightening strike.

 

 

Do light bulbs cause interference in garage door openers?

CFL and LED light bulbs are well known for causing interference with the remote control signal. Electrical interference usually originating from the ballast can severely limit the signal range of your transmitter – or even eliminate it all together.

Although Chamberlain Liftmaster has compiled a list of opener friendly light bulbs it doesn’t come with a guarantee.  Not to mention, any additional lighting near your garage door opener can cause the same type of problem. Troubleshooting though trial and error testing is the best option.

A few light bulb manufacturers seemed to have cracked the code in eliminating RF interference with LED bulbs. Genie and Cree brands have been getting rave reviews from satisfied customers claiming their remote signal range and homelink was restored with the installation of their bulbs.

Be sure to consider other light sources around your opener when troubleshooting interference – not just the bulb inside the lens cover in your opener. We have an article called Top 5 Way To Increase Garage Door Remote Signal Range explaining the many sources of RF interference and how to fix them. Hint: A few of these sources included a deep freezer in the garage and even a video game system (Nintendo Wii) installed in a bonus room.

What is the maximum watt light bulb I can use in my opener?

Every garage door opener manufacturer has a recommend wattage for their product. This topic is covered in you owners manual which is included with purchase or easily found online. To make things even easier manufacturers often include a printed reminder of the maximum wattage under the light cover, next to the light socket.

As a general rule you should never exceed 100W bulbs, although thresholds vary by brand and model.  Many older units have a maximum rating of 60-watt. If you insist on installing 100-watt or higher make sure you don’t leave the light on for more than a few minutes at a time.

  • 100-watt Maximum – Incandescent (IFL)
  • 26-watt Maximum –  Compact Fluorescent (CFL)
  • 13-watt Maximum – Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

 

Best Garage Door Opener Light Bulb

The Genie LED bulb is probably the best combination of performance and compatibility available. It was specifically designed and tested by Genie Company to be used on all brands of garage door openers with little to no RF interference.

The bulb was also tested to withstand 5G of shaking force which far exceeds anything a garage door will encounter. Being a rough service style bulb it is made to be shatter resistant as well.

Do you live in a climate with extreme cold or humidity? No problem, Genie’s bulb is tested to withstand temperatures of -22F. It is also damp location tested making it ideal for tropical climates.

Don’t worry about performance being sacrificed either. The bulb has a 25,000 hour lifespan and gives off 800 lumens of light  – equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. It uses only 10w of power and costs less than $2 annually to operate.

The only downsides we could find is that the light can’t be dimmed and the bulbs are more costly than standard incandescent bulbs  – $10 for a single bulb and $17.50 for a twin pack.


How to replace garage door opener light bulb sockets

  1. Turn the power to the unit off by unplugging the power cord and battery backup if your unit has this feature. If your opener is hardwired you will need to turn off the power via the breaker box.
  2. Remove the plastic light bulb lens cover by pressing against the tabs or removing any screws.
  3. Then remove the existing light bulb by turning it counter clockwise.
  4. Remove the end panel casing by loosening four screws in the corners of the unit.
  5. Disconnect the two wires (White/Orange) that connect the light socket.
  6. Remove the light socket from the end panel by pressing down firmly on the install tab.
  7. Insert the new light socket in place pushing firmly against the tab.
  8. Reconnect the two wires (White/Orange) that were disconnected earlier.
  9. Using a screwdriver adjust the contacts in the light socket by pulling them towards you. This will help ensure firm contact will be made between your light bulb base and the socket.
  10. Reinstall the end panel by securing it with four screws (one in each corner).
  11.  Install a new light bulb (Genie LED Recommended)
  12. Plug in the opener with the power cord and reconnect the battery backup if applicable.

 

Light Socket Part Numbers