Cleaning and Inspecting a Garage Door Photo Eye

As a child, I remember thinking it was a game to push the button and try to get out of the garage before the door closed without hitting the photo eye. Adults often think of the garage door photo eye as a nuisance. Regardless of what you think, the photo eye plays a critical role in the safety of your family. Yet nearly 20,000 garage door related injuries are reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission each year.

That’s why cleaning and inspecting a garage door photo eye is an important step in maintaining the proper function of your garage door.

The photo eye works by sending an invisible bean across the opening of your garage door. When the door is coming down, if something breaks this beam, the door should automatically go back up. If this doesn’t happen, you should replace your automatic garage door opener or call a service technician.

More frequently however, the issue with the photo eye is that it is out of alignment or dirty and your door will not go down at all. If this is your issue, fixing your garage door shouldn’t be too hard.

The first step to solving this problem is cleaning the photo eye lenses. Because of its proximity to the ground and environment, the photo eye can become very dirty. To clean it, use a clean cloth and mild cleaner. The photo eye is normally made with glass and you should use the same care with it that you would a camera. Scratches or other markings may cause it to function improperly.

Next, check the alignment of your photo eyes (one on both sides of your garage door). You can do this visually or by measuring the height of each photo eye from the ground, and using a level to make sure they are pointing straight across at each other. A laser level is very helpful but not necessary.

To test the photo eye, push the door transmitter or wall button to trigger the door to close. If it closes, the eyes are correctly lined up. Now use a broom or some other object to break the beam to ensure that the door opens. If the photo eye functionality is working correctly, the door should reverse and return to the open position.

If you decide that you do need a garage door service professional to help you diagnose problems with your photo eye or even pick a new garage door, we hope you’ll Contact Custom Door & Gate.