Most of the time when you press your garage door remote, your door responds as expected—it will open or close. But what if it doesn’t? If your door refuses to open or close, or if it begins to close and then reverses you may have an issue with your safety sensors.

Your garage door sensors operate by sending an infrared signal across the garage door opening, typically several inches above the ground. They are a critical part of your garage door safety system, preventing the door from closing on an object or person in its path. When they fail to operate properly, it is crucial to determine why and get them working again.

Newer garage door openers will always use an infrared signal as their safety system. Interference to that signal will trigger flashing lights on the motor unit at the moment the door will not close or reverses. If you can see that an object has broken the signal, you know the safety system has done its job. But what about when there is no object in the path of the door?

Reasons garage door safety sensors malfunction

The sensors should have one green light (the receiver) and one yellow or red light (the sender) aimed at each other. If you notice one or both of the LED lights is not illuminated, consider the following:

  • The power supply may be bad – Follow the wiring back to the motor to ensure a connection has not come loose. A wire may be broken, bent, or damaged by a rodent and need to be replaced.
  • The sensor may have worn out – If your garage door opener is several years old, simple wear and tear will wear down the sensors. You may be able to connect them directly to the motor to test them and confirm whether they need to be replaced or a wiring issue is the problem.

If the sensors and wiring appear to be in good working order, moisture, dirt or sunlight may be the culprit.

  • Heavy rain or a sprinkler near your open garage door could have allowed too much moisture to get into the sensors. Dry them thoroughly with a cloth and allow them air dry several minutes before trying again. Avoid this issue by keeping your garage door closed.
  • The lenses on your safety sensors are vulnerable to dirt, car exhaust, and spider webs because of their proximity to the ground and the garage door framing. Regular cleaning will prevent dirt buildup from interfering with the infrared signal.
  • Sunlight hitting one of the sensors at precisely the right angle can interfere with the infrared signal because the sun’s light is stronger than the sensor’s light. If you notice your door won’t close on a sunny day and at around the same time, this could be the problem. Moving the sensors, a little further into the garage and out of the sunlight may solve the problem. You may also try switching the sensors sides, since sunlight is more likely to overwhelm the receiver than the sender.

Your issue could be as simple as the sensors being out of alignment. This can occur if one is accidentally bumped or over time due to the vibration that naturally occurs whenever the garage door is opened or closed. If the sender light (yellow or red) is on but the receiver light (green) is not, readjust the angle of the sensors by loosening the wing nut and shifting the unit up and down until the light comes back on.

If you are concerned about the operation of your garage door’s safety system, contact Great Garage doors. Our experts are available to troubleshoot any issue you may have with your garage door, opening system, or the safety and smart features that provide convenience and security for your home and family. Call today for a thorough inspection of your garage door, opener, and safety sensors.