Safety sensors are designed to prevent accidents caused by automatic garage doors, which have led to serious damage to cars and injuries and deaths to people and animals. They are part of the automatic garage door system. In fact, these safety sensors have been required by law since 1993. The traditional form of sensor is mechanical, in which a moving garage door reverses due to physical contact with an object, but photoelectric sensors have become mainstream.

Photoelectric sensors use an infrared beam. Placed about 6 inches above the floor, two sensors are placed on either side of the door and are aligned. Therefore, a sort of invisible trip wire is created. At that level, a car tire, person’s leg, or small child or pet can be detected. When something blocks the path of the infrared beam, the door will automatically stop closing halfway up, and then reverse direction.

The door will return to its original position unless someone pulls the emergency lever. Only then can it be forced to close.

Garage Door Sensor

Are Garage Door Sensors Universal?

All garage door sensors work the same way and serve the same purpose. There are several different brands of sensors. Some models are advertised to be universal, which means a specified unit will be compatible with garage door openers associated with names such as LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Craftsman, and others. This means the sensors will provide the same level of safety once installed no matter what garage door opener it is connected to.

How Do I Know If My Garage Door Sensor Isn’t Working?

Garage door sensors also have built in functions to let you know there’s a problem. Dirty sensors, misalignments, or damaged components can cause sensors to malfunction. A sensor can be thrown out of alignment if something bumps into it. Or, an impact can damage the connection wires, while vibrations from the garage door or direct sunlight may affect it. As a result, the door may work erratically.

If a sensor malfunctions, the door might suddenly stop and reverse for no reason, open but not close, or a light may flash on the sensor, from an overhead component, or the wall panel.