Simply put: Garage door safety sensors help ensure your garage door operates safely. They prevent your garage door from closing on anything — like toys, trash cans, vehicles, pets, or people — causing serious injuries or accidental deaths. In fact, it’s required by law for every garage door to have safety sensors (and has been since 1993). Here, we’re sharing how garage door safety sensors work and everything else you should know about them.
How do they work?
Garage door safety sensors have what’s called a photo-eye. They’re infrared sensors placed on both sides of your garage door — typically no more than six inches off the ground. These two sensors help create an invisible line across your garage door that detects when something is in the way. If there is something in the way, the sensors will stop the garage door from closing all the way and reverse its direction.
For obvious reasons, a safety sensor is a critical component of a working garage door, and it should be something that you fix as soon as you notice they’re not working.
How can I tell if my sensors aren’t working?
As with any technology, garage door safety sensors will malfunction from time to time. You can usually tell something is wrong if your garage door won’t close all the way, even if it appears that nothing is in its path. You may also experience your garage door bouncing up and down rather than fully opening or closing.
Your sensors should alert you to any issue through red flashing lights, but it is best to check them if you notice your door acting funny. The good news is, you can usually identify and fix the problem yourself.
There are a few reasons safety sensors stop working, including:
- Misaligned photo-eyes
- Dirty or wet photo-eyes
- Loose sensor wires
- Too much sun exposure
Check to see that your photo-eyes are aligned first, then clean them to get rid of any dirt, debris, or water that could be blocking them. Then, check that the wiring is still intact. If your sensors still aren’t working, they may need replacing.
Where can I find them or have them installed?
Safety sensors are included with every garage that’s purchased or replaced. If you need to replace your sensors, you can typically find them online, at home improvement stores, or local garage door companies. Most brands carry universal sensors designed to work on any type of garage door. However, make sure to confirm with your manufacturer first!
When should I call a professional?
If you can’t troubleshoot issues with your garage door safety sensors, call a garage door technician right away. Safety sensors help prevent tragic accidents from happening and you should address any problems with them right away.
For Denver-area garage doors, turn to American Garage Door. We take your family’s safety as seriously as our own, and we’re here to help. Our trained professionals can inspect, diagnose, repair, or replace your garage door safety sensors — and much more.