Garage door sensors are an important part of the garage door system. Because garage doors can be heavy and the springs loaded with torque, it would be easy for the garage door to crush something or someone important. It is the garage door sensor’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen. In short, it is the safety mechanism that keeps people, animals, and vehicles safe. That means it’s extremely important that the safety sensors work properly. If you suspect your safety sensors are not working properly, here is a quick guide to troubleshooting your garage door safety sensors.
Why Do We Have Garage Door Safety Sensors?
First, let’s go into why we have garage door sensors at all. This safety feature, like many safety features, was created out a need. Prior to the garage door sensors, some garage doors had a type of pressure-sensitive mechanism such that if the garage door was impeded from closing in some way (such as it was pushing against an object, a person, a car) then the door would stop and open up again. Because this was not a standardized feature and did not always work, tragic incidences would happen with garage doors. This led to legislation in the 1990’s that federally mandated that automatic garage doors be controlled by these photosensors. They have since likely saved lives AND property damage as they perform their job with each and every push of the button to close the door.
How do Garage Door Sensors Work?
Garage door sensors are 2 small little devices with lenses on the front that are positioned about 6 inches off the ground on either side of the garage door track. Garage door photosensors are constantly firing a tiny laser beam from one to the other and their job is to ensure that nothing is in the path of this beam. If the laser beam is broken (because someone is standing there, or a car is in the way etc.) then the garage door will not close.
Testing Your Garage Door Safety Sensor
To test your garage door sensor, you will need an object like a cardboard box. Place the box in the line of the sensors and try to close the garage door. If the door reverses after sensing an obstruction, your door is functioning correctly. If the door closes on the box, you will want to troubleshoot your garage door safety sensor
Troubleshooting Your Garage Door Safety Sensors
If you find your door not wanting to close, it is possible that these photosensors think something is in the way and are performing their duty. Here are a few tips to help get your door working as needed once again.
Make sure that anything stored near these sensors is moved well away from them. An errant broomstick or misplaced box can block the laser OR knock the sensors out of alignment if they hit one.
Clean the sensor lens so it is free of dirt and debris. Dirt and even spiderwebs can block the lens from sensing correctly and prevent the door from shutting.
Measure from the ground to the garage door safety 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.
Check to see if the sensors have been bumped. It is possible they are simply out of alignment and need to be adjusted slightly so they’re again “looking” directly at each other. You can try adjusting the photosensors slightly, but if any real force is needed, you might want to call a professional who has experience working with these sensors as they are very fragile and if damaged, they will cease working altogether.
Check your garage door track to make sure it is stable and not loose. If the track is even slightly loose, it could vibrate the garage door sensor, causing it to malfunction.
Also, check to see if the sun at any pot of the day is hitting the sensor. If it is, it can confuse or blind the sensor. If this happens, consider putting a paper tube around the sensor to block the sun.
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.
Faulty garage door sensors can become a pain. If you suspect your garage door sensors have become faulty or your garage door does not close all the way and need help with your garage door repair, Spectrum Overhead Door LLC of Houston offers same-day garage door repair in Houston and surrounding areas. Call us at 281-748-9542 to schedule your appointment.