Originally posted on May 19, 2021. Updated on September 26, 2022.
Garage door sensors are essential safety features of your garage door system. Their main function is to sense objects in the path of the garage door and stop the door from hitting them. This has been a requirement for garage door installation for a long time now. Without it, the garage door could shut on your car, kids, or pets. If your sensors think that something’s in the way, they won’t let your door close. That’s why if your garage door won’t shut, you must ensure that your garage door sensor system is still functioning properly.
Certain issues may affect your sensors, so don’t hesitate to schedule garage door repair as soon as you become aware of any problems. You may wonder how to tell if one or both of your garage door opener sensors are bad. You’ve come to the right place; we’ll explain the mechanics behind how garage door sensors work.
How Automatic Garage Doors Function
Automatic garage door openers use a radio transmitter. When you press the button on your garage door opener, it transmits a radio signal, which is a binary code that matches the receiver in your garage. This is a unique code that will only work with your garage door.
How Do Garage Door Sensors Work?
Garage door opener sensors have two essential parts that allow them to function:
- Photo Eye: A photo eye system works in conjunction with a sensor. The garage door safety eyes are located on either side of your garage door, about six inches off the ground. When you push your keypad or remote, a signal is sent for the garage door opener to operate the door. As this happens, the sensors lookout for anything in the way of the garage door and cause an automatic reversal if they sense anything.
- Infrared Beam: The photo eyes on either side of the garage door form a beam, creating a line of sight along the opening of the garage door. If something is in the way of the beam, it will not continue its operation.
Diagnosing Why Your Garage Door Sensors Not Working
There are a few different ways a garage door can start to malfunction. Here are a couple of issues to keep in mind that revolve around garage door sensors:
1. The Garage Door Refuses to Close
If your garage door won’t close and there is nothing in the way, this could be a problem with the sensors. Another defining factor is if your garage door will open just fine, but can’t close. It may also close and then open immediately after. If you are experiencing this, you want to pinpoint whether the issue is from the garage door sensors. To do this, try the cardboard box test. Place two cardboard boxes over 6 inches tall (since that’s where the sensors are) on the floor, in the way of the garage door. If the garage door crushes the boxes, you know that the sensors are malfunctioning.
2. Photo Eye Sensor Lights are Malfunctioning
Check the photo eye sensor lights on each side of the garage. One sensor should have a green light, the other, red. If the lights are off or blinking, something is wrong. Either there is an interference between them or the sensors are not operating at the same level. If the red light is flashing while the green one is normal, it means their alignment is off. Move them until they are in sync and both working.
Another issue to point out is that sometimes the sun will cause interference between the sensors. When you are testing them, think about carefully placing cardboard in front of the sensors to block out the sun. Overall, you should keep a close eye on your garage door sensor lights periodically.
3. Dirty Sensor Lenses
Over time, the garage door sensor lenses can become dirty. Dust and dirt may accumulate over them throughout everyday use, which can affect their ability to function. Clean the lenses carefully, wiping off the dust and moisture. Sometimes excess humidity and lawn sprinklers can affect them as well. In the cold months, if they freeze, it may cause them to stop working. After you’ve cleaned the garage door sensors, try the cardboard box test again to ensure that it worked.
4. Electrical Issues
Garage door sensors need power to operate, so you need to make sure they haven’t lost their electrical connection. If both garage door sensor lights are off, they most likely are not linked to their power source. Also, check if the cable is unplugged. Once reconnected, the garage door safety eyes should begin working again.
5. Wire Damage
Another common issue that occurs with garage door sensors is wire damage. Inspect your wires to see if any are broken or twisted. If the sensor lights are flashing orange, this is a possible sign of wire damage. The wires need to be connected correctly to the garage door opener. If they are all in disarray, hire an electrician or contact us here at Garage Door Enterprises. It can be extremely dangerous to connect wires if you are not familiar with the process.
Garage Door Sensor Repairs
If you are not able to fix your garage door opener sensors, it’s time to call the experts over at Garage Door Enterprises. We will diagnose the situation and replace your garage door sensors. We do highly recommend having a service technician handle garage door sensor repair and installation, as messing with wiring can be dangerous and must be done correctly, given the essential safety features it provides.
Give us a call here at Garage Door Enterprises. We are confident we can install quality garage door sensors that will keep your garage safe. We handle everything with high attention to detail and customer service. We can also perform your garage door sensor replacement to have your garage door functioning at its best in no time.