How Do Garage Door Safety Sensors Work?

garage door safety sensors

You know how when something gets in the way of your garage door as it’s closing and then it goes back up again? This is due to your garage door safety sensors. The last thing you want is for your heavy garage door to come down on a loved one or a pet or something else, like your car. Garage door safety sensors are there to help ensure that that doesn’t happen. Sometimes, these sensors can malfunction, resulting in problems such as your garage door starting to close and then going back up again. 

Here’s what you need to know about how garage door safety sensors work.

Are Garage Door Safety Sensors Required?

garage door safety sensors

Yes, garage door sensors are required by law. In 1993, all automatic residential garage doors were required to have safety sensors. This law was passed in order to try to reduce the number of deaths to children who would get caught under automatic garage doors. Ever since then, garage door openers have needed to have safety sensors installed. 

How Do Garage Door Safety Sensors Work?

In spite of the fact that safety sensors have been a requirement for about 30 years, many people don’t know how they work. It’s no surprise – many of us don’t know how many things that we utilize in our day-to-day lives work, and likely don’t learn unless we get curious or run into a problem with them. 

Garage door sensors have 2 essential elements: their photo-eye system and their line of sight. Garage door safety sensors work by using a photo-eye system in order to determine whether or not there’s something blocking their line of sight, and whether or not the garage door should close or go back up. 

Photo-Eye System

The photo-eye system refers to the infrared beam that’s necessary in order for your safety sensors to work. These are placed on either side of your garage door, usually between 2 to 6 inches off of the ground. They work with your garage door opener in order to prevent it from closing on someone or something. 

Line Of Sight

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The line of sight refers to your safety sensors being able to “see” each other. Both of the sensors send infrared beams to each other that relay whether or not the garage door can close. If this beam is interrupted or blocked by something in the pathway, your sensors are no longer able to “see” each other, and then this will cause your garage door to reopen, rather than close.

How Do You Know If Your Garage Door Safety Sensors Aren’t Working?

As you see, your garage door safety sensors play a critical role in the safety of your garage. There are many different problems that can arise with your garage door system, so how do you know if the issue is with your safety sensors or if it’s something else?

There are two main problems that indicate your safety sensors aren’t working properly: your garage door won’t close or it will close, even when there is something blocking its pathway. If there’s an issue with your safety sensors, it’s vital that you have them fixed as soon as possible. 

What To Do If Your Safety Sensors Aren’t Working

If your garage door won’t close, then this could be for a number of reasons, from the lenses of the sensors simply being dirty to the sensors having been knocked out of alignment, as they’re no longer able to “see” each other. 

  • Dirty lenses. Safety sensors can get dirty, which can obstruct their line of vision. You can usually clean dirty lenses yourself with a soft cloth and a mild cleaner. 
  • Misalignment. When it comes to alignment issues, you can try to realign them yourself by tightening the screws. Your sensors will usually start blinking if they are out of alignment and then stop blinking when they’ve been realigned. 
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If your garage door closes even when there’s something blocking its path, this is very serious, as it could easily come down on a person. This is usually the result of pinched wires causing inconsistent operation. You don’t want to mess with any wiring yourself, as you could accidentally create more issues. If your garage door closes even if there’s something in its way, you’ll want to disable your opener until it’s fixed, so as to avoid any injuries or damages. 

Do You Need Help With Your Garage Door Safety Sensors?

Advanced Door can help you fix your garage door sensors. If you’re having trouble with your safety sensors, simply contact us, and we’ll help you fix them as soon as possible.