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In my garage door company, one of the most common calls that we get are related to garage door sensors. In this post, I will go over a few basics including what  garage door sensors are, how they function, and how to align them. I will also show you a very low cost product that can keep you from ever having issues again.

What Are Garage Door Safety Sensors?

In the early 1990s, new laws were put in place to help keep homeowners from being injured by closing garage doors. This mandatory requirement was called UL325. Essentially, the law stated that a garage door must have a safety reversing device. To meet this new standard, manufacturers began producing garage door openers with safety sensors.  Openers are now also built with settings that allow the motor to sense if the garage door has toughed an object while closing, and are meant to reverse the door when this happens.

How Safety Eyes Work

In my company, we sell almost exclusively Liftmaster and Linear motors. So, this blog is based on how those openers work. These openers come with 2 sensing units. One of the units is a sending unit, and the other is a receiving unit. The sensors are pointed straight at one another, so that the beam emmitted from the sender is received by the sister unit. In the event that an object is in the way of the garage door closing, the beam between the 2 units is broken and the garage door opener will reverse, and the motor won’t close your door.

Common Reasons For The Malfunction

In some cases, safety sensors stop working and must be replaced, but this is not as common as issues created by home owners.

The top reasons why your garage door won’t close are: 

  • The beam has been knocked out of line.
  • There is an item in the way of the beam
  • The beams are covered in cobwebs and debris
  • Bright Sunlight is obstructing the beam

The Fix

If you have a safety beam out of line, the fix is pretty self explanatory. You point the sensors straight at one another until they are aligned properly. Most units will have lights on the safety sensors to let you know when they are aligned correctly. While realigning the units, be sure to clean them well. Always be sure to keep objects away from the door. This will keep the door from being damaged, and won’t cause issues with reversing when you try to close.

In some cases, customers have bright sunlight shining down on to their garage doors. When your door is open, this bright light hand often be stronger than the beam emmited from your safety eyes. When this happens, it confuses the opener by breaking the beam and causes the unit to malfunction. 

Override The System

If you are having issues with sunlight or something else that you can’t figure out, it’s pretty easy to override the safety mechanism to get you door to close. On models that I sell, it’s as easy as holding down the close button until the door seals to the floor. This won’t fix the underlying problem, but it does allow you to close the door and secure your belongings. 






Sensor Guards

For those that have issues with their sensors getting knocked out of line often, you can solve this issue for good with garage door sensor guards. These guards wrap around the units, so that they can’t be bumped out of line. For new installations, our company sells these for $35. You can also find them on Amazon and Ebay. 


If you have any questions, please respond below. If you have problems with your garage door that you can’t solve. Give us a call today. 

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