Skip to content

What are garage door safety sensors?

Garage door safety sensors prevent any accidents or mishap caused by the automatic door close mechanism. Since garage doors are extremely heavy, any accidental impact can severely damage any person or object in its path.

Safety sensors have been an integral part of the automatic garage doors systems, made mandatory by the law since 1993. While traditional sensors were mechanical, modern sensors are photoelectric.

Photoelectric sensors use infrared light to detect any object or person standing between two points. Upon detecting any obstruction, the automatic door stops and reverses direction.

Why garage door sensors are quintessential
garage door sensor helps the door to detect any person or object in its path. Typical automatic garage doors are heavy, which can cause massive damage in case of an accident.

With the use of sensors, automatic garage doors have become safer for residential use. It is a quintessential component, which ensures safety of children, pets, and family members.
Can garage door sensors malfunction
Like any other mechanism, garage door sensors can also malfunction. It is not a common occurrence if you keep your garage door in good condition; however, continuous wear and tear can cause the sensors to show anomalies.

There are three main causes when your garage door sensors malfunction:

  • Unclean lenses: Photoelectric door sensors work like a camera lens. The photo eye of the sensors is made of glass, which may accumulate dirt over time. The best way to clean it is by using a soft cloth with a mild cleaner.
  • Pinched wires: Sensors are connected by wires and any loose connection or pinch in the wires can cause the voltage to drop and cause malfunction. Fixing this can be tricky, so calling a garage door expert is the best choice.
  • Misalignment: Misalignment can cause the garage door to stop abruptly even when there is no obstruction. Sometimes the sensors may not detect the obstruction altogether. If one or both the sensors show blinking lights, it means they are misaligned. You can use a screwdriver to tighten its screws to fix the alignment.

Testing your garage door sensors
If you think your garage door sensors are malfunctioning, or you have recently fixed them and want to test them, the easiest way to do this is with some cardboard boxes.

  1. Place the cardboard boxes a few inches higher than the height of your sensors, and check if the door closes. If the sensors detect the cardboard box, the door will not close. If it does, follow the next step.
  2. Check if the sensors are blinking, if they are – you need to align them correctly.
  3. If alignment doesn’t fix it, try using a mild cleaner to remove any dirt from the photo eyes.
  4. If the sensors still don’t work correctly to detect the cardboard box, call an expert.