How to Align Garage Door Sensors

How to Align Garage Door Sensors

Having trouble with your garage door sensors not acting right? Things not working as usual? While garage doors are built to last and are durable, sometimes issues can be inevitable. Misaligned sensors can prevent your car from entering or exiting the garage due to door trouble, trapping it outside or inside where it is needed to be, causing aggravation and stress. Before you call up a professional to resolve this problem, check out this guide to fix it yourself, easily.

Questions you may have about how to align garage door sensors will be answered in this step-by-step guide. Don’t put off getting them fixed, as it may prove even more difficult later if you delay. Follow these quick and easy steps and learn the effective ways on how to align garage door sensors.

What Are Garage Door Sensors?

Brown and white stone house with two brown garage doors next to each other

Garage door sensors have other names like safety eye, photo-eye, or sensors. No matter what you call them, their purpose is the same. The device serves to detect any items that are in the way of the door. It is the photo-eye that stops the garage door from hitting a person’s head when they are underneath the door. The technology of garage door sensors steps in to prevent injury as the safety eyes spot anything in the way of the door. This stops the door from colliding with a person that remains in the path or anything else that may have gotten in the way.

Anything could get in the path of the garage door when closing. Rest assured that an injury will not occur when your garage door sensors are working since their entire purpose is to keep people safe.

How to Know If Garage Door Sensors Are Misaligned

Something may be blocking the light from beaming from one sensor to its partner sensor. This occurs when an object obstructs the typical path. When working correctly, the sensors’ LED lights will glow continuously, but flickering on and off tells us the sensor is misaligned.

The reason the sensors can become blocked is that the typical placement of them is 6” off the ground, where many other items in a garage reside. Boxes, rakes, tools, and anything else that is stored at this height can block the signal between sensors.

One sure-fire indication that something is wrong is that your garage door itself is stuck in the completely open position, unable to close. When this happens, the garage door opener will make a clicking sound to indicate an issue. If the door is having a problem closing, the door opener will blink and flash when you try to make that happen. A problem has then occurred. 

The sensors on your garage door could be too low or too high, causing them to be at an incorrect height for them to connect properly and function as needed. The signals between them aren’t traveling in a straight line the way they do when aligned correctly, and they will not work.

How to Align Garage Door Sensors

Blue/gray house with a large rectangular garage door and a smaller garage door to the left

This is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to figure out how to align your garage door sensors and get them working properly again. 

1. Clean the Garage Area of Debris and Dust

A helpful step to take when starting the process is to clear the area around your sensors and make space. Having a lot of clutter or objects blocking your path will make resolving the issue difficult, as you will be going around items that may be getting in the way of the sensors.

2. Locate and Inspect the Sensors

Checking the sensors and knowing where they are is critical to getting them aligned. If there are visibly broken or frayed wires, this is the reason your doors are misaligned and a technician should be consulted to get these fixed. It is safest to turn off the electricity before touching them.

3. Check for Dirt on the Sensors

Sometimes something as frivolous as dirt can be the reason light will not travel from one sensor to the next. Garage door sensors are often low, making it easy for them to pick up dirt. Giving them a quick wipe with a cloth and freeing them of dust can’t hurt to try.

4. Align the Sensors

The final step to alignment is to readjust the placement of the sensors. Make sure before you start to shut off power to the garage door through use of the circuit breaker. Next, put the switch in the off position. This will make this step safe without worrying about any electrical issues.

Loosen the screws from the sensors and take off the sensor from the bracket. In most circumstances, a wingnut will need to be removed too. Point the sensor-eye facing away from the other and leave it in place for 10 seconds. Then, move that sensor back into the correct position, towards the other one. You can use the string method to tell if they are level. Tie a string to each of the sensors and visually see if they are level. If they are not, adjust as you see fit. If the sensors are level with each other, put on the wing nut and bracket. Tighten.

If You Can’t Align Your Garage Door Sensors

If the above steps have been met with little success and all possibilities have been tried, calling a technician trained to resolve these problems is the next course of action. Local specialists are the best route to go, as their turnaround time is likely to be faster depending on their location.

Make sure nothing is blocking the path of the sensors or no dirt appears on them.

How to Align Garage Door Sensors: Conclusion

Not having your garage door sensors aligned properly could pose a real danger if they are not fixed. Luckily, many things can be done to get them working again and safely.

Fixing your garage door sensors will allow your garage door to operate safely as normal without the worry of your car being trapped inside or out. Checking for dirt, removing objects, and examining the sensors to see if they are at the correct height are all suggested tips to try before calling up the pros. Saving money is the ideal end result. Even so, if none of these tips seem to work for your garage door, it might be time to call up your local technician as a final resort.

Written by Alexis Tavares

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