Even though most garage doors are durable and sturdy, certain parts of the system can get damaged or broken. Once that happens, your car could get trapped inside or outside of the garage, resulting in frustration and headaches. But, to avoid waiting for the professionals, you could try fixing the problem on your own. For that reason, our guide will explain how to align garage door sensors without waiting for the technicians.
If you apply these steps, your garage door will be back in working order in no time. So, without further ado, let’s see what are those sensors in the first place and how you should align them.
What is a garage door sensor?
Also known as the photo-eye or the safety eye, a garage door sensor is a device that detects objects in the path of the door. To clarify, photo-eyes are the ones that should stop your garage door from hitting you on the head if you stand underneath the door.
As their name suggests, safety eyes are there to provide safety and security to homeowners or their loved ones. In fact, every garage door will feature two sensors. One of them is sending the signal and the other one is receiving it. In between them, an invisible beam of light will do its magic 24/7, monitoring the situation at all times. So, if an anything stands in the path of the door, safety reversing sensors will stop the process and bring the door back up to the starting position.
How to know if the sensors don’t work?
As long as the LED lights on both of the sensors are glowing without flickering – your photo-eye technology is working fine. But, if the light on the receiving sensor is blinking, you may have problems with garage door sensor alignment.
In other words, something is probably blocking the beam. Since the sensors are often placed 6” above the ground, all sorts of items could get in the way. For instance, our garages often act as storage rooms, which means that shovels, hoses, or other tools could disrupt the signal.
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Either way, the primary symptom of misaligned safety eyes is the doors that will not close. Instead, your garage door will return back up every time you try to close them. Or, they will not even budge from the fully open position. In those moments, the signal light on your garage door opener should blink and flash. Also, the opener will make a clicking sound to warn you that something is not right.
How to align the garage door sensors?
In a way, fixing the safety eyes is one of the easiest repairs you can perform on your garage door. With that being said, it is important that you play it safe and always protect yourself or your loved ones. In other words, ALWAYS close the door before doing the repairs! Also, most experts recommend flipping the switch on the breaker panel so that you cut off the electricity to the garage door opener.
After that, you can start the garage door sensors troubleshooting process. So, here is the step-by-step guide on how to fix a garage door sensor:
- Evaluate the situation and perform one more test of the door. For instance, try using the wall switch instead of the remote. If nothing works, press and hold the wall switch until the door shuts down. By doing so, you will override the garage door opener. Of course, this will allow you to align the sensors as well.
- Check for obstructions. As we said, all sorts of items can find themselves in the path of the beam. Tools, boxes, or toys can prevent safety eyes from working properly. Once you remove the obstruction, try opening and closing the garage door.
- Check for dirt on the sensor. Unfortunately, the low position of the sensors attracts a lot of dirt and debris. As a result, the beam of light will not able to travel from one sensor the other. In addition, cobwebs can also cause the same problem. So, use a damp cloth to wipe the lens and remove the dirt.
- If all of those previous steps fail, the next tip will tell you how to adjust garage door sensors in a proper way. First, you should loosen the screws and remove the sensor from the bracket. In most cases, there will be a wing nut that you will need to unscrew and take off. After that, you should point the photo-eye in the opposite direction from the other one. Then, wait for 10 seconds and rotate the sensor back in position. In the end, tie a string to connect the sensors and check if they are level. If everything is fine, place the wing nut back on and tighten the bracket.
- In case the previous step fails, you should check the wires that bring power to the sensors. After all, rodents and even insects can cause damage to the wiring system. Or, your dog could suddenly find the wires extremely tasty. Either way, inspect the situation and make sure that the safety eyes are receiving the electricity. Every garage door sensor has a yellow light and a green light. So, both of these should work if the wires are not damaged.
- The last step on our list is more like a piece of friendly advice. In other words, if all else fails and you do not see results – call a pro. Professional help will save you time and money in case your garage door alignment do-it-yourself system fails. To be honest, not all of us have the necessary tools nor the experience to perform garage door maintenance. Thus, calling a trained technician to align the sensors may be your best bet.
- What are garage door sensors?
Garage door sensors are photo-sensitive lenses that monitor the area underneath the door. The sensors send a signal to the garage door opener if there is something in the path of the door. And, the opener will then stop the opening process and reverse the door back up.
- How durable are garage door sensors?
Even though they will not break so easily, safety eyes tend to get out of alignment every once in a while. For that reason, every homeowner should learn how to align garage door sensors and get them back in proper shape.
- Where are the safety eyes located?
In most cases, photo-eyes are positioned around 6” above the ground on both sides of the door. So, one sensor goes to the left-hand side and the other one to the right. For safety reasons, the sensors are located inside the garage, not on the outside.
- Are the garage door sensors universal?
Although the basic concept of the technology is the same, not all door sensors are equal. That is, the safety eyes from different manufacturers can be different in shape, size, and so on. Of course, not all sensors will have the same quality as well.
- How to test garage door sensors?
The best way to test the sensors is by placing a cardboard box in the path of the door. After that, hit the switch to close the door. If the safety reversing mechanism detects the object and stops the door without crushing the box, your safety eyes are working fine. If the box gets trampled, you should repair the sensors as soon as possible. More details here
The bottom line
Garage doors can be dangerous if they are not working properly. To be precise, safety reversing sensors can save you from a lot of injuries or even fatal accidents. Therefore, it is important to fix the safety eyes as soon as you notice problems with this technology.
But, if you follow the steps we explained, you should know how to align garage door sensors in a quick and easy way. So, don’t waste time and repair the glitches as soon as possible. By doing so, your garage door will be safe and functional once again.