safety sensor

Garage Door Sensors: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners in 2024

Garage Door Sensors

Garage door sensors play a vital role in ensuring garage door safety and preventing accidents. As a homeowner, understanding how these sensors work and knowing what to do when they malfunction can literally be a lifesaver.

This comprehensive guide from West Coast Garage Doors provides homeowners with everything they need to know about garage door sensors in 2024. We’ll cover what they are, why they’re important, the different types available, troubleshooting sensor issues, tips for proper maintenance, related costs, and more.

safety sensor

What are Garage Door Sensors and Why are They Important?

Garage door sensors, also known as safety sensors or photo eyes, are small devices installed on either side of a garage door opening. They work by emitting invisible infrared light beams across the doorway, communicating with one another.

“Garage door sensors create an invisible beam that when broken signals the door to stop and reverse.”

The key function of garage door sensors is to sense when something is blocking the path of a closing garage door. If anything interrupts the sensors’ light beams, they immediately send a signal to the opener to stop and reverse the door.

  • This prevents the door from closing on objects, vehicles, pets, or people and causing serious injury or damage.
  • Garage door sensors are an essential safety component that help prevent accidents and increase protection.
  • Most residential garage door openers have sensors installed, as they are required by current safety standards and building codes.

Why Properly Functioning Sensors are Crucial

It only takes a few seconds for a closing garage door to severely injure someone. According to Stanford University Medical Center, over 20,000 people end up in emergency rooms each year due to garage door accidents.

Faulty or misaligned sensors that fail to detect objects in time are a major contributor to these preventable accidents. That’s why regularly inspecting your garage door sensors and ensuring they work properly is so important.

Different Types of Garage Door Sensors

There are two main types of sensors used for garage doors today:

Infrared Safety Sensors

  • Utilize light waves to detect objects
  • Most common sensor type
  • Typically included with new garage door opener systems

Electric Safety Edges

  • Fit along the bottom edge of the garage door
  • Physical sensation (pressure) triggers sensor
  • Used for extra protection on older doors

Infrared sensors are the most frequently used sensor today thanks to being highly affordable, easy to install, and reliable when functioning properly.

Meanwhile, electric safety edges provide physical sensitivity along the door rather than invisible light beams. This adds an extra layer of protection in preventing a door from fully closing on someone or something physical touching it.

{{Below is a table comparing the two sensor types:}}

Infrared Safety Sensors Electric Safety Edges
How They Work Breaking of infrared light beam triggers sensor Physical pressure on edge triggers sensor
Location on Door On left and right side opening Along bottom edge of door
Installation Difficulty Easy Moderately Difficult
Cost Affordable ($50 or less) More Expensive ($100+)

When installed properly, both sensor types offer an essential protection barrier when objects or people are in the way of a closing garage door.

Troubleshooting Sensor Issues

Garage door sensors are very durable, but they can stop working properly occasionally. Here are some common sensor problems and troubleshooting tips:

Flashing Sensor Lights

  • Indicates an issue with alignment, wiring, or interference
  • Try realigning both sensors to connect the light beams
  • Inspect wires for any damage or loose connections
  • Look for dirt, cobwebs, etc. obstructing the sensors

No Sensor Lights On

  • First check power source and wiring connections
  • LED lights may need replacing soon
  • Test batteries if sensors have them
  • If new batteries don’t work, sensor may need replacing

Door Reverses for No Reason

  • Beam becoming blocked even when nothing is obstructing
  • Try cleaning the lenses of both sensor units
  • Realign sensors and make sure they face each other precisely

Door Won’t Reverse When Blocked

  • This is a serious issue needing immediate service
  • Sensors may be misaligned or have electrical problems
  • Contact a trained garage door technician right away

As this troubleshooting guide illustrates, many sensor issues stem from misalignment or wiring problems that homeowners can commonly resolve on their own. However, if doors fail to reverse or problems persist, always seek assistance to prevent safety hazards.

{{Below are the key troubleshooting takeaways:}}

  • Inspect sensor wiring and connections
  • Check alignment of both sensors
  • Replace dead batteries or lightbulbs if needed
  • Make sure sensors are kept clean and unobstructed
  • Seek professional help for equipment malfunctions

Proper Garage Door Sensor Maintenance

To keep safety sensors working properly for years to come, here are some key maintenance tips:

  • Check beam alignment and functionality monthly
  • Wipe down surface dirt and debris from sensors regularly
  • Make any necessary alignment adjustments immediately
  • Replace dead batteries in wireless sensors as needed
  • Keep photo eyes free of cobwebs, paint, snow, etc.
  • Have sensors professionally inspected annually

Some additional steps that promote overall garage door safety include:

  • Checking all hardware parts twice per year
  • Listening for noises or issues activating the opener
  • Applying lubricant to moving components
  • Having pro tighten loose fasteners or make adjustments
  • Asking experts about recommended upgrades

Regular inspection, cleaning, and adjustments are vital for continuing normal operation and response when objects cross the door path. Safety should always remain the number one priority.

Why Professional Installation Matters

Improperly positioned sensors are one of the biggest reasons garage door accidents happen yearly. Attempting DIY installation without experience heightens the risks of:

  • Incorrect wiring that causes shorts or fires
  • Faulty mounting leading sensors to fall or shake loose
  • Misaligned beams leaving areas undetected
  • Doors failing to reverse due to incorrect setup

That’s why the specialists at West Coast Garage Doors always emphasize getting sensors professionally installed. With over 25 years of expertise, our technicians properly mount and optimize sensors to avoid safety gaps.

Costs of Garage Door Sensors

Typical costs for new garage door sensors range from $50 – $70 if homeowners buy replacement parts themselves. However, pricing can vary based on:

  • Infrared vs electric safety edges
  • kit vs individual components
  • wireless sensors with batteries vs hardwired

Here are more details on replacement costs:

  • Basic Infrared Safety Sensor Kit – $40 to $75
  • Electric Safety Edge (per linear ft) – $4 to $8
  • Compatible Safety Edge Alarms – $60 to $100
  • Wireless Battery Packs – $30 to $60

Keep in mind that DIY installation risks misaligning sensors, leading to dangerous door malfunctions. Professional installation through reputable garage door companies leads to properly optimized sensors and typically costs $100 to $200.

At West Coast Garage Doors, our expert technicians include fine-tuning and adjusting sensors with any opener tune-up or door replacement. This ensures ongoing safety and performance, all for an affordable price.

Garage Door Sensor Regulations

Federal regulations mandating either infrared or electric edge sensors on residential garage doors went into effect in 1993 to prevent serious injuries. However, many states and cities also have additional local safety rules for garage door openers and sensors.

For example, in Florida where West Coast Garage Doors operates, all garage door installation and repair work requires licensure as per Florida Statutes Chapter 489. Additionally, commercial doors in Florida must comply with more stringent safety inspection regulations. Always check your regional and local ordinances to ensure compliance.

No matter your location, properly working sensors that activate upon sensing an obstruction are absolutely vital for garage door operation in residential and commercial settings alike. Don’t neglect this important safety component.

Key Takeaways on Garage Door Sensors

  • Garage door sensors prevent serious injuries by triggering reversal
  • Infrared and electric edge sensors work differently but offer protection
  • Various issues can affect sensors, requiring quick troubleshooting
  • Proper maintenance ensures sensors keep working safely
  • Professional installation optimizes sensor positioning and alignment
  • Safety sensors are mandated by codes and regulations nationwide
  • Malfunctioning sensors can lead to catastrophic and fatal accidents


There’s no doubt that garage door safety sensors play a crucial role for homeowners. Allowing a door to close on someone or something can lead to grave outcomes. By understanding sensors, inspecting them routinely, and catching any operational problems early, households remain protected.

Trust the expertise of West Coast Garage Doors for prompt sensor repairs, replacements, or upgrades. Our technicians have seen it all when it comes to garage doors and openers over 25+ years in business. We keep safety as priority number one through their affordable, licensed, and insured services.

For excellent garage door sensor maintenance or installations in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida, call (239) 478-2665 or contact West Coast Garage Doors today. We are a family-owned business and will treat you like family too.

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