If you are having problems with your garage door closing, then the most likely culprit is the safety sensors. Safety sensors are installed for an obvious reason- safety. Manufacturers in 1993 were required by federal law to use this safety device on all garage door openers sold in the USA to avoid accidental entrapment. There were 54 deaths by the entrapment of a garage door reported in the previous decade prior to the mandate. Safety sensors are an an important feature that may require a homeowner’s attention from time to time to ensure proper garage door function. A garage door that does not close as a result of the sensors, is a common issue that you can deal with on your own. We have put together a quick 7 step checklist on how to adjust the safety sensors on a garage door.
In dealing with a sensor issue, you should be on the look out for one or more of these clues. If the garage door moves downward only an inch or so, OR the head unit blinks and makes a clicking noise, OR the lights on the sensors are off, blinking, or flickering. These symptoms are a result of the signal from the sensors not connecting to the circuit board of the head unit.
NOTE- If you need to close the door for security reasons, until the issue can be remedied, simply pull the red safety rope to release the door from the operator and close the door manually (SEE VIDEO). You may also be able to hold down the wall console button to begin closing- then release the button just as the door sets down (requires a bit of timing).
If you are having an issue, check to see if any of the following are true: the sensors are misaligned, there is an object in the way of the infrared beam, the wires are broken or corroded.
How to adjust the safety sensors on a garage door
- .One of the first things to check is to make sure that there is nothing in the way of the invisible sensor beam. Look from left to right along a straight line in between the sensors, and move anything that may be in the way such as garden equipment, tools, boxes, and the like.
- Next, check the sensor lenses and clean away dust and cobwebs as needed by using a paper towel or soft cloth.
- Make sure that the sensors are accurately pointed at each other by eye-balling the path and adjusting, or redirecting if needed. Sensors may need slight adjustment even if the LED lights are illuminated on both sides. Sometimes the sensor may be just outside of the margin of error and will show a slight flicker that is not visible while standing. Adjustment can be made by loosening the butterfly nut, redirecting, and then re-tightening securely. (SEE VIDEO)
- Measure from the ground to the sensor on both sides and make sure they are at the same height. Also, measure from the wall the track connects to, and make sure the distance away from the wall is the same.
- Make sure that the vertical track is fastened tightly to the wall and is not wobbly. A loose track can also cause the sensors to vibrate or move slightly during operation of the door.
- Corroded wiring, wires chewed by animals, poorly connected wires, or wires not connected into the head unit above, can also be a cause of the problem.
- One allusive issue could also be that there is a fault in the circuit board or sensors as a result of a power surge, water damage, or another failure. If you are still having an issue after following the steps above, then complete failure is a possibility. This could call for the replacement of both safety sensors, and/or the replacement of the circuit board from the head unit.
WHERE TO BUY SENSORS: If you have determined that your best solution is to replace your garage door sensors, then you may be able to find compatible ones at The Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, or Houston’s “Parts 4 Garage Doors” at 832-834-3477. Make note of the manufacturer and year the unit was made (usually stamped on the motor itself).
PRO TIP: Check the balance of the door by disengaging the opener by pulling down on the pull rope (do this only when the door is down). Lift the door open by hand to the halfway position, and let go to see if the door stays open on it’s own (make sure your feet aren’t directly under the door). Next, lift the door to the open position, and see if the door holds itself open. If either of these tests failed, then your torsion spring(s) are in need of adjustment or replacement. A heavy garage door can lead to the motor head stopping and blinking. If this is the case, call your local garage door repair company in Houston to adjust your springs.
If the door is slightly out of adjustment, it may be causing the door to stop while on the way down, and reverse. The springs should be adjusted or replaced by a professional. The garage door opener was adjusted upon installation according to the conditions of the door at that time. If conditions have changed, then the downward force on the opener may need to be increased slightly until the door works properly.
Safety sensor issues are quite common and fairly easy to troubleshoot by following the steps mentioned above. CAUTION- One should not bypass the safety sensors, as they are an important safety feature of your garage door opener. An occasional adjustment should not be something overwhelming to the homeowner and is a small price to pay for the benefit these sensors provide.
Spectrum Overhead Door has been serving the greater Houston area since 2006 and is happy to assist you with both service and general information relating to your garage door or opener unit. Feel free to call our local Houston office at 281-748-9542.