Garage door sensors are a small, yet essential piece of safety equipment found on all residential garage door openers manufactured since 1993. This is in compliance with UL325 regulations.
Despite being commonplace and serving a critical role, garage door sensors often get overlooked by homeowners and property owners until something goes wrong. In this article, we offer an overview of these devices and some issues that may cause them to malfunction. We also outline ways to troubleshoot a garage door sensor that is not working.
What Do Garage Door Sensors Do?
Garage door sensors, or sometimes referred to as photo eyes, ensure that nothing is blocking the path of the garage door when it is closing. For it to continue closing, these detectors must “see each other,” which means the infra-red beam that connects the photo eyes remains unimpeded. If that ray has been interrupted, the garage door will reverse, opening instead of closing.
Common Reasons a Garage Door Sensor Stops Working
- An object obstructs the sensor path
- There is an issue with the sensors’ power supply
- LED lights are not illuminating on both or one sensor
- The sensor lenses require cleaning because of:
- Car exhaust
- Spider webs
- Your sensors got exposed to too much moisture
- Poor alignment of the sensors. Both sensors should have their LED lights illuminated if there’s proper alignment.
- Your sensors experienced normal wear and tear, especially if they were installed years ago.
What to Do Next
Step 1: Check for objects blocking the photo eyes; clear them from the area.
Step 2: Check the wires around the sensor for a loose or broken connection and see if other parts of the garage are getting power.
- If the cause is a diminished power connection, open the box and check for the electrical work, but make you exercise extra precaution by turning off the power at your breaker box.
- If you’re unsure about the wires, call a professional repair service.
Step 3: Wipe the lenses down with a dry, clean, and soft cloth.
Step 4: Check for proper alignment and adjust as needed to make sure they are both facing each other.
Step 5: If you notice moisture on the sensor, allow it to dry and then try to open your garage door.
If these DIY troubleshooting options don’t work, consult with your garage door sensor’s owner’s manual or request a service appointment with a garage door expert. The latter will help you determine if more substantial repairs or parts replacement is necessary.