4 Reasons Your Garage Door Safety Sensor Isn’t Working

garage door safety sensor

Garage door safety sensors play a huge role in ensuring your garage door can be operated safely with minimal risk to yourself, your family, pets, and property. They have been mandated by the U.S. government since 1993. Every electric garage door opener built since then has photo-eye sensors that reverse it when obstructions are detected.

If a garage door safety sensor isn’t working, here are four reasons why that may be:


1. A Sensor Light Isn’t Reaching the Other Side

Garage door safety sensors are small black boxes on both sides of the garage door. They’re installed just a few inches from the floor and face one another. One device transmits an infrared beam of light and the other receives the signal, which can be blocked by a vehicle, child, or pet. But if the sensors are misaligned, the beam won’t reach the other side, fooling the system into thinking an obstruction is present.

An indicator light on one or both sensors may blink if they’re misaligned. Fortunately, most sensors can be re-aligned by bending the sensor bracket back into position or tightening its screws with a screwdriver.


2. Dirty/Obstructed Sensor Lens

Each sensor has a photo eye with a small piece of glass (about the size of a pea). This lens can easily become obstructed by dirt, dust, and cobwebs, which can be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild cleaning solution. This is the best way since it won’t streak the lens. The signal should be quickly reestablished once the lens is clean.


3.Lack of Power

If the sensor is working normally and has a power supply, you’ll see a green light. The light will be out if the sensor has no power, and if it isn’t powered, the sensor cannot function. Reasons can include an unplugged cable, blown fuse, tripped breaker, or power outage.

When the cause for the power disruption is in your home, you can plug the cable back in or restore power at the electric panel. If the problem is an outage, you’ll have to wait until the utility company restores service. That is, unless you have a backup generator or solar power system.


4. Wire Damage

A garage door safety sensor with a damaged wire may have a flashing light to warn you of the problem. The wire runs from the terminal behind the garage door opener to the sensor. Tangled wires can be unwoven. If this doesn’t fix the problem, and/or you notice a wire is broken, frayed, or has a nail or staple through the insulation, replace the wire immediately.

White wires should always connect to the white terminal, and black and white wires to the gray terminal, if you have some skill in this area. If not, then your best move is to call a professional electrician. You can be shocked by touching damaged wires or connecting a wire incorrectly.


When Is It Time to Replace a Sensor?

If you’ve taken all steps mentioned to correct the problem, it may be wise to consider sensor replacement. Garage door sensors are generally inexpensive. If you are knowledgeable enough, you may be able to replace them yourself. Otherwise, hire a professional, in which case you’ll have to pay for their service.


Contact Precision Door Service of Las Vegas

If the issue is something other than a dirty lens, power outage, or garage door safety sensor out of alignment, a professional should check it out. Our technicians are trained to handle all kinds of garage door, opener, and sensor issues and fix the problem. Call 702-637-2700 for same-day service.