Photo Eyes And Garage Door Safety Tips

Garages are more than an entrance — we use them for storage, hobbies, crafts and even a place to work out. With those purposes comes more potential for accidents to occur. Fortunately, there are many precautions homeowners can take to prevent accidents.

Custom Overhead Doors created a checklist of garage door safety tips for homeowners to help keep homes and families safe.

1. Get Familiar With Your Photo Eyes

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.

2. Test Your Auto Reverse

More modern garage door openers have an auto-reverse function, which forces the door to change direction when it senses contact. Ensure yours is working correctly with a simple test. Place an object, such as a brick or overturned bucket, in the doorway and close the door. If the door doesn’t reverse direction when it touches the object, it’s time for a professional inspection by a garage door expert.

3. Keep Passwords Confidential

Newer garage door operators generate unique rolling codes that help secure your home and possessions. Many also have the technology for managing access from anywhere with your mobile device. You can permit one-time entry without disclosing keypad codes. 

If your garage door opener is an older model, consider upgrading to enhance your security. Custom Overhead Doors has a variety of residential openers with the benefits of rolling and one-time codes. Plus, many have features such as corner-to-corner LED lighting and battery backups to improve safety further.

4. Take Precautions With Children

Changes in safety technology make it easier to watch out for children. Still, it’s best to explain clearly that the garage door isn’t a toy. Encourage them not to play in the doorway or operate the door without supervision. Teach them to keep their hands clear of the panel joints as the door closes and prevent them from trying to ride the door as it raises.

Other basic precautions include keeping children away from the opening controls and everyday dangerous items in the garage.

Keep the Opener Controls Out of Reach

Children may find it tempting to press the button and watch the door respond. Allowing them to do so puts them at risk, and needlessly operating the door causes wear that can lead to costly repairs. Prevent accidents by not letting them play with the remote, keypad or operator. You should mount wall controls a minimum of 5 feet high and secure transmitters from little hands. 

Store Dangerous Items Safely

Garages are valuable storage space, which means they’re often full of items like weed killer, lawn and garden tools, and flammables. Invest in shelving or a lockable cabinet that keeps chemicals, sharp instruments and power tools inaccessible to younger family members. 

Improve Your Garage Door Safety and Security With Custom Door & Gate

Custom Overhead Doors is North Carolina’s choice for garage door installation, maintenance and repair. Our team has over 100 years of collective industry experience and a commitment to providing exceptional customer service. 

Time for an upgrade? Request a free personalized quote, call us at 919-876-4555 or reach out to a team member online.