Why Are Photo Eyes Important on a Garage Door?


If you’ve ever talked to a garage door professional about your door, you may have heard something about your garage door “photo eyes.” These photo eyes are the sensors on your door that are an important safety feature. Here’s what you need to know about photo eye sensors on garage doors and why they are so important.

garage door

How Do Garage Door Photo Eyes Work?

The photo eye sensors on garage doors are located about six inches above the ground, one on either side of the garage door. These sensors send out an invisible beam that connects them.

The way they function is quite simple. If anything interrupts the beam so that the two sensors are not in contact, the sensor signals the system to break the circuit so the door cannot close.

Why Are Photo Eye Sensors on Garage Doors Necessary?

In the 1990s, the government federally mandated important safety features on garage doors. The photo eyes are a response to this mandate. If a child or a careless adult wanders through the beam and breaks the connection between the sensors, the garage door will not come down.

Without the sensors, someone could press the remote to close the garage door, and it would not stop even if someone were underneath it — potentially crushing or gravely injuring the person in its path. Similarly, if someone accidentally tried to close the garage door with the car still in its way, the garage door would still come down and severely damage the car. Properly working sensors prevent either of these scenarios from happening.

How Do You Know If Your Sensors Are Not Working?

For safety reasons, if you discover your photo eye garage door sensors are not working, you need to fix them immediately. Some signs that the sensors are not working include:

  • Lights on one of the sensors start blinking
  • Garage door can go up but does not come back down when summoned
  • Door starts to come down then goes back up

What Do You Do If Your Sensors Are Not Working?

If your sensors are not working correctly, this is usually because they cannot “see” each other to make the connection they need to. There are a number of ways you might be able to correct this problem, and here are a few of them:

  1. Move any stored items that might be blocking either sensor to another location. If this doesn’t work, see if one of the sensors appears out of place. If so, try manually adjusting it. This should require only a slight movement. If you need to apply force, leave the sensor alone as you might break it.
  1. Sometimes, depending upon the position of your garage door, direct sunlight can interfere with the sensor action. Try getting shades to block the sun from hitting them — but make sure the shades do not block the sensors from each other.
  1. If you still have a problem, clean both sensors with a cloth. Check to make sure no wiring has become loose as well.

If none of this works, you may have a bigger problem that requires a professional. If that’s the case, contact Custom Door & Gate. We can help you get your garage door back in working order.

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