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Garage Door Sensors Won't Work Here's How to Troubleshoot and Fix the Problem

Garage Door Sensors Won't Work? Here's How to Troubleshoot and Fix the Problem

When your garage rope door sensors stop working unexpectedly, Mehr’s Garage Doors in St. George understands how frustrating it can be. We’re a family-run business with more than 40 years of experience, and we want to give our customers the information and tools they need to keep their garage doors safe and working well. Here is a complete guide that will help you understand how garage door sensors work, spot common problems, and fix them by following simple steps or getting professional help.

Introduction: Understand How Garage Door Sensors Work to Keep Your Family Safe

All garage doors made after 1993 are required by law to have garage door sensors, an essential safety feature. These sensors, also called photo eyes or safety reversing sensors, use an infrared beam to see if anything stops the garage lock door path as it closes. Most of the time, the sensors are placed six inches above the ground on each side of the garage door opening.

How they work: One sensor on the door sends out an infrared beam that can’t be seen, and the sensor on the other side picks it up. If something blocks this beam while the door is closing, the sensors tell the garage door opener to stop and turn it so it doesn’t hurt or damage anyone. This safety function is essential for homes with pets or small children that might run under the garage door when it closes.

Understanding how garage door sensors function is critical to identifying and resolving issues as they arise. If you know how garage door sensors work primarily, you’ll be better able to fix problems and know when to call a professional for help.

Common Reasons Why Your Garage Door Sensors Aren’t Working

People often experience several common issues that can cause their garage door sensors to stop working correctly. The first step in finding the correct answer is figuring out the problem.

  1. Misaligned Sensors: Misalignment is one of the main reasons sensors stop working. The infrared beam can become blocked since the sensors move around over time. This can happen when a car, lawnmower, or even kids playing in the garage accidentally hits it. The garage door opener will receive a signal that something is blocking the door’s path when the sensors are misaligned, preventing the door from closing.
  2. Dirty Lenses: Clean lenses are another usual cause of sensor issues. Over time, dust, dirt, and cobwebs can build up on the lenses of the sensors and partly block the infrared beam. Sometimes, the buildup may be big enough to block the beam entirely, making the sensors not work.
  3. Damaged Sensor Wires: Several things can damage the lines connecting the sensors to the garage door opener. Mice and rats can chew through the wires, the insulation can break down in very cold or hot temperatures, and the cables can fray or break over time from everyday use. If the lines are damaged, the sensors might be unable to get power or talk to the garage door opener.
  4. Sunlight or Moisture Interference: The environment can also make it hard for garage door sensors to work right. When sunlight shines directly on the sensors, it can mess up the infrared beam, giving inconsistent or wrong readings. Also, water from rain, snow, or sprinklers can build up on the lenses and make the beam less clear.
  5. Faulty Sensors: Sometimes, the sensors may stop working because they are old or poorly made. Sensors have a limited lifespan and can stop working correctly over time, just like any other electronic gadget. These problems are more likely to happen with older garage door systems or ones used often.

When your garage door stops working correctly, you’ll be better equipped to identify and fix the problem if you know these common reasons for sensor failure.

Easy Troubleshooting Steps to Get Your Sensors Working Again

Before calling a professional, you can take a few simple repair steps to try to get your rope garage door sensors working again. If you follow these DIY tips, you can often fix minor problems without calling a professional.

Check Sensor Alignment: If you’re having trouble with garage door sensors, ensure they are lined up correctly. Most warning lights are used to check if your sensors are properly aligned. The sensors are only lined up right if the lights work or flash.

First, loosen the wing nuts or screws that hold the sensors in place. This will allow you to readjust the sensors. After that, the sensors are slowly moved to face each other. The warning lights should stay on when the sensors are correctly aligned. Once you find the correct position for the sensors, try moving them up and down and left and right until the lights stay on.

Clean the Sensor Lenses: If your sensors are correctly lined up but still not working, the next step is to clean the lenses. Over time, the lenses can become covered in dust, dirt, and cobwebs, blocking the infrared rays.

Start by unplugging the garage door opener so it doesn’t accidentally go off while cleaning the lenses. After that, gently wipe any debris from the lenses with a soft, dry cloth. Do not use rough cleaners or products that could scratch the lenses. A gentle glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth can remove tough dirt on the lenses if they are filthy.

Inspect Sensor Wires: If cleaning the lenses doesn’t fix the problem, the next step is to look for damage in the sensor lines. First, look at the lines from the sensors to the garage door opener. Check for clear signs of wear, like tearing, cuts, or wires that stick out.

Check the connections at both ends of the wires even if you can’t see any damage. Check that the wires are firmly attached to the sensors and the terminal on the garage door opener. Due to loose connections, the sensors may be unable to communicate with the opener or receive power.

If you discover damaged wires, it’s best to have a professional handle the fixes. If you need to improve with electricity, trying to splice or replace garage door sensor wires on your own can be dangerous.

Adjust for Interference: If you think sunlight or moisture is messing with your sensors, you can make a few changes to lessen their effect. If sunlight is interfering, try putting a sun visor or a small piece of cardboard over the sensor that is having trouble. This can help cut down on false numbers that come from direct sunlight.

If there are moisture problems, ensure no sprinklers spray water onto the sensors or garage door tracks first. Also, weather stripping should be added around the garage door to help reduce the water that gets in when it rains or snows.

Confirm Sensor Power: Since you’ve already tried the other steps to fix the problem and your sensors are still not working, ensure they are getting power. First, ensure the sensors are firmly connected to the terminal on the garage door opener. Make the connections tighter and try the sensors again if they are loose.

Next, ensure the door opener rope is correctly plugged into a garage door charger. The sensors won’t work if the opener doesn’t have power. Try putting in something else, like a lamp or phone charger, to check if the outlet has power.

The sensors may not be getting power even if the outlet is working. This could be a problem with the garage door opener. It’s best to call a professional to diagnose and repair the issue.

These simple troubleshooting steps can often fix common garage door sensor problems without needing professional help. However, if your sensors still don’t work correctly after these steps, it’s time to call the professionals.

When to Call in the Pros for Garage Door Sensor Repair

Sometimes, it’s best to call a professional garage door technician, even though many sensor issues can be fixed with basic troubleshooting. Within these situations, it is suggested that you get professional help:

  1. Wiring Issues: If your sensor wires are damaged or need replacement, hiring a professional is best. Trying to repair or replace garage door wiring on your own can be dangerous, especially if you need to learn more about electricity. A technician with the required knowledge and equipment can safely handle wiring issues.
  2. Persistent Problems: Call a professional if you’ve tried the basic steps to fix the problem and your sensors are still not working correctly. Whether adjusting the sensors, replacing damaged parts, or switching to a new system, a trained technician can determine the problem and suggest the best action.
  3. Replacement Sensors: When choosing new sensors, ensure you get high-quality parts that work with your garage door opener. A professional technician can help you select the best replacement sensors for your system and ensure they are installed correctly to work well and are safe.
  4. Peace of Mind: For some people, the peace of mind that comes with professional help is worth it, even if they know how to fix simple problems. When you call a trusted garage door expert, there is no chance of damaging your property or hurting yourself or others. The job will be done right the first time.

Our team of skilled technicians at Mehr’s Garage Doors can handle all your garage door sensor needs. We have the information and tools to get your sensors working properly again, whether the problem is a simple misalignment or a more complicated wiring problem.

The Importance of Regular Garage Door Maintenance

In addition to fixing problems with sensors as they come up, you should make regular maintenance of your whole garage door system a top priority. Your garage door needs regular tune-ups to keep it running quickly and safely, just like your car or HVAC system.

Some essential maintenance tasks can help keep your garage door’s sensors in good shape and make it last longer:

  1. Inspect and Tighten Hardware: You can loosen the bolts, nuts, and screws that hold your garage door together over time by shaking it and normal wear and tear. Take the time to check your door locks at least once a year and tighten any loose ones. These bolts hold the sensors, and the hinges, rollers, and frames hold the door up.
  2. Lubricate Moving Parts: Regularly grease your garage door’s moving parts to keep it running smoothly and quietly. The door can open and close with the help of these parts: hinges, rollers, and springs. Ensure you use a good garage door oil and follow the directions on the bottle. Do not use WD-40 or other all-purpose oils because they can pull dirt and other things into the system.
  3. Test Safety Features: Besides the sensors, your garage door probably has other safety features that should be checked often. These could include the manual release button, which lets you open the door when the power goes out, and the auto-reverse function, which turns the door around if it hits something. At least once a month, ensure these features are working correctly.
  4. Clean and Paint: Keeping your garage door clean and in good shape can help prevent it from breaking and make it last longer. You should clean your door well with light soap and water at least once a year. To keep the door safe from the weather, rust or peeling paint should be fixed by sanding the area and repainting it.

By performing these maintenance tasks as part of your regular home maintenance, you can ensure that your garage door and its safety sensors work well for years. Call a professional garage door technician if you feel uncomfortable doing these tasks.

Benefits of Working Sensors for Safety and Convenience

Maintaining your garage door sensors in good working order has significant benefits for your family and home:

  1. Safety: Better safety is the main benefit of garage door sensors that work right. The sensors can stop significant injuries or even deaths by finding things or people in the way of the closing door. This is especially important for homes with pets or small children who might not know how dangerous it is for the garage door to close.
  2. Property Protection: Not only do garage door sensors keep people and animals safe, but they can also help keep your cars and other property from getting damaged. When you accidentally close the door while your vehicle is stopped too close to the entrance, the sensors will find the blockage and prevent the door from closing. It could save you a lot of money on repairs and insurance claims.
  3. Peace of Mind: You can be sure your garage door will always work safely and reliably if the sensors work. You won’t have to worry about your child’s bike door closing on their tail or your pet’s tail so you can go about your daily life with more peace of mind.
  4. Smooth Operation: Garage door sensors are an essential part of how your garage door opener works. You can anticipate dependable opening and shutting with a button when they are working correctly. This option is beneficial when you are in a hurry or when the weather is terrible.
  5. Code Compliance: As we already said, garage door sensors are required by law on all new garage doors. Maintaining your sensors in good working order ensures that your home complies with building codes and safety regulations. This is important for the safety of your family and the value of your home when you decide to sell it.

Choosing the Right Garage Door Sensors for Your Home

It’s critical to select high-quality parts compatible with your particular system if you’re in the market for new garage door sensors, whether as a replacement for broken ones or as part of a new garage door installation. When choosing garage door monitors, here are some things to think about:

  1. Compatibility: Different kinds of garage door sensors exist. It is essential to get sensors that are made to work with the brand and type of garage door opener you have. Using sensors that don’t work well together can cause problems and even be dangerous. For advice on which sensor types to buy, look at the manual with your garage door opener or call the company that made it.
  2. Range: Different garage door sensors have different ranges, which tell you how far away an object is that the sensor can still detect. If your garage door opening is extensive, you might need sensors with a more extended range to ensure they cover enough area. Get the sizes of the sensors you’re thinking about and compare them to the opening of your garage door.
  3. Durability: Temperature changes, humidity, and dust are just some of the things garage door sensors have to deal with. Select sensors designed to survive these conditions and offer reliable performance over time. Look for sensors that have robust housings, finishes that won’t peel off in the weather, and high-quality electronic parts.
  4. Ease of Installation: If you want to install your new sensors, look for models with clear directions and all the hardware you need. Some sensors come with pre-wired connections and brackets that can be adjusted to make alignment a breeze. If you need to improve with electricity, though, or if your garage door system is complicated, it’s best to let a professional do the installation.
  5. Price range: Garage door sensors come in many different price ranges, from cheap ones that don’t do much to expensive ones that do a lot. It’s essential to pick sensors that don’t break the bank but don’t skimp on quality. High-quality sensors can help you save money in the long run by avoiding expensive repairs and ensuring reliable performance.

LiftMaster garage door sensors are known for being reliable, long-lasting, and easy to use. At Mehr’s Garage Doors, we choose and install these sensors. Our technicians can help you pick out suitable sensors for your garage door system and ensure they are installed properly so they work at their best.

Conclusion: Don’t Ignore Garage Door Sensor Problems – Troubleshoot or Get Help Today

It’s important to have garage door sensors to keep your door safe and straightforward. When the door is working correctly, you can rest easy knowing that your family and property are safe from the dangers of a broken door. If sensors start acting up, things must be fixed immediately so crashes or damage don’t happen.

If your garage door sensors are giving you trouble, you should first follow these easy steps: make sure the sensors are lined up properly, clean the lenses, check the wires, and make any changes needed to account for the environment. Be bold and call a professional garage door expert if these steps don’t help or if you need help finishing safely.

Mehr’s Garage Doors has the best technicians to help you with any garage door sensor needs. We’ve been serving the St. George area for over 40 years, so we know how to diagnose and fix any sensor issues quickly and correctly. As proud as we are of our quick answers, low prices, and high-quality work, we work hard to make our customers happy.

We offer garage door services, such as opener replacement, sensor installation, and regular upkeep checks. We want everything you need for your garage door in one place. We’ll help you and give you expert advice on keeping your door safe and easy to use for years to come.

If your garage door sensor is giving you trouble, take your time. Call Mehr’s Garage Doors at (435) 673-4457 to arrange a repair or meeting. We will work with you to fix your garage door as quickly as possible, considering what you want and how much you can spend.

Remember that your garage door is helpful and essential in keeping your house safe. In good working order, your sensors and other parts will keep your family and property safe. Call Mehr’s Garage Doors if you want to keep getting the quality service and help you need to keep your garage door working at its best.

Frequently Asked Questions About Garage Door Sensors

How do I know if my garage door sensors are working correctly? 

Put something, like a cardboard box, in the way of the closing door. This is the best way to test your garage door sensors. If the sensors work correctly, the door should go backward when it sees something in the way. You can also check the sensors’ lights. The sensors are lined up correctly and working properly if on and not blinking.

Can I replace just one garage door sensor, or do I need to replace both? 

Most of the time, it’s best to update garage door sensors in pairs. Even if it looks like only one sensor is broken, the other one may also be about to stop working. By replacing both sensors simultaneously, you get the best performance and help prevent problems from happening in the future.

How long do garage door sensors typically last? 

How long garage door sensors last depends on how often they are used, how they are maintained, and the weather. The average time between sensor replacements is 5 to 10 years. However, if you perform regular maintenance and fix any problems immediately, you can extend the life of your sensors.

Does the law require garage door sensors? 

Since 1993, federal law has required all new garage doors to have garage door sensors installed, also known as safety reverse sensors. This safety feature prevents the door from closing on people, pets, or things, lowering the chance of harm or damage.

Can I install garage door sensors, or do I need a professional? 

You can install garage door sensors yourself if you’re good with tools and working with electricity. However, it’s essential to carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions and ensure the wiring and alignment are correct. It’s best to call a professional if you need more clarification on any part of the process. This will make sure the job is done safely and correctly.

What should I do if my garage door sensors repeatedly get knocked out of alignment? 

If your sensors are often knocked or bumped out of place, it could mean they’re not set up correctly or too low. Change the sensors’ height or put up protective shields to prevent them from hitting something by mistake. Cable ties or clips can also keep the sensor wires in place and prevent them from getting mixed up.

Can I bypass my garage door sensors if they’re not working? 

Getting around your garage door sensors might be tempting if they’re not working, but you should not do that. Sensors are an essential safety feature because they keep the door from closing on people or things. If you skip them, you and your family could get poorly hurt or damage property. If your sensors need to be fixed, you should fix the problem immediately and only use the garage door once it’s done.

What should I do if my garage door sensors are damaged beyond repair? 

If the old garage door sensors are severely damaged or have reached the end of their useful life, it’s time to get new ones. Talk to a professional garage door service company like Mehr’s Garage Doors for help finding compatible sensor types and expert installation. It is hazardous to try to open and close your garage door without working sensors, and you should never do this.

Can I paint my garage door sensors to match my garage décor? 

You might want to paint your garage door sensors to match the color scheme of your garage, but you shouldn’t. Painting the sensors may make them less able to find obstacles and even void the manufacturer’s warranty. If you care about how your sensors look, you should install decorative covers or shields made just for that reason.

How often should I have my garage door sensors professionally inspected? 

At least once a year, you should have a professional check out your garage door system, including the sensors. The trained technician will try the sensors to ensure they work right, look for signs of damage or wear, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. This preventative maintenance can help keep your garage door in good shape and stop more significant problems from happening in the future.

The Bottom Line: Garage Door Sensor Safety and Maintenance

The garage door sensors may look tiny, but they are essential for keeping your home safe. You can enjoy the ease of an automatic garage door without putting your family or property at risk if you know how they work and take the proper steps to keep them in good shape.

If your garage door sensors are giving you trouble, don’t be afraid to get help from an expert. Our team of skilled technicians at Mehr’s Garage Doors is always ready to help, whether you need to align some sensors or do a complete system rebuild. As a company that cares about customer happiness and quality service, you can count on us to keep your garage door safe and working well for years.

We can fix or maintain your garage door sensors if you’re in the St. George area. Call us at 435-673-4457 right now. You can make an appointment for service whenever it’s convenient and rest easy knowing your garage door is in good hands. Trust the experts at Mehr’s Garage Doors to do the job right and avoid risking your safety due to defective sensors.