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.
GE states that you should avoid placing the CFL bulbs near electronic devices. This would most definitely include garage door openers since the light bulbs on a garage door opener are right next to the operators logic board and radio receiver. It's best to stick with the garage door manufacturers recommended incandescent light bulb and wattage to avoid having problems. Most openers can accept a 60w to 100w bulb but you need to check the recommended wattage because if the wrong bulb is installed it can burn or melt the light cover.
In the long run it wouldn't pay to replace the incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb. An equivalent 60 watt CFL bulb will cost between $6 - 8. You can purchase 10 or 12 incandescent bulbs for the same price. And with garage door opener lights turning off automatically after 4-1/2 minutes it's not like the bulbs are burning that long. You'll most likely only have to replace the bulb in the garage door opener once or twice in a 15 year span. So take that CFL bulb out of your opener and put it where it will actually do some good...in your family room lamp.
UPDATE: 07/12/12: It appears that one of the garage door opener manufacturers is paying attention to this apparent problem. Liftmaster/Chamberlain has 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 CFL bulbs. If I come across any other manufacturers I will be sure to make further updates.
UPDATE: 09/01/16: Genie has come out with an LED light bulb for garage door operators that won't interfere with the radio controls on the operator. Read more about the new Genie LED bulb HERE.
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