How Do Garage Door Sensors Work

How Do Garage Door Sensors Work
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: June 3, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

Because of safety concerns, the federal government required garage door opener manufacturers to incorporate safety measures to prevent accidents.

All garage door openers have been equipped with door sensors since the law was enacted to comply with federal standards. Garage door safety sensors are crucial for keeping you safe, even if you don’t give them much thought.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand their purpose and make sure they’re in good operating order. We’ll look at garage door sensors, how they operate, and what you can do if they stop working in this blog.

Garage Door Sensors: An Overview

Safety sensors are intended to prevent accidents caused by automatic garage doors, which have resulted in major vehicle damage and injuries and deaths among humans. They’re a part of the garage door opener’s automatic mechanism.

Mechanical sensors are the most common type of sensor in which a moving garage door reverses due to physical contact with an object. However, photoelectric sensors have become more common. Even though garage door sensors are virtually ubiquitous, many people are still unaware of their function.

Photoelectric sensors use infrared. As a result, an unnoticed trip wire is formed. A person’s leg or even a pet can be spotted. If something interrupts the infrared beam’s passage, the door will halt halfway open and reverse direction.

Garage Door Sensors Work Approach

The remote control can activate the motorized trolley and open garage doors. Some garage door opener buttons are hardwired to the home, while others are controlled remotely. As a result, you’ll be able to open your garage door while driving.

However, for simplicity, most current garage door openers combine the two systems, allowing you to utilize both. When you click the button on your remote, the system sends out an infrared radio signal, which turns on the electric motor.

The electric motor then activates a track-and-pulley mechanism, opening and closing your garage door. The infrared sensors that help your garage door open are mounted on either side of the garage doors. If the sensors fail, one of the sensor lights will begin to blink.

All Garage Door Sensors Offer The Same Level Of Safety

Garage door sensors all function similarly and have the same goal. Sensors come in a variety of styles and brands. Some types are labeled as universal, implying that they will work with garage door openers with specific brands.

This means that no matter whatever garage door opener the sensors are attached to, they will give the same level of safety once installed. Garage door sensors also feature built-in functions that alert you if there is an issue. Sensor failure can be caused by dirty sensors, misalignments, or broken components.

If something collides with a sensor, it can become misaligned. Vibrations from the garage door or bright sunshine might also harm the connection cables. As a result, the door may function unpredictably.

How To Troubleshoot Garage Door Sensors?

It’s possible that your garage door’s safety sensors are to blame if it’s not fully closing. Here are two quick ways to see if your sensors are working properly: Even though there are no obstacles in their way, the door begins to close but then pauses and reverses. Even though there is a barrier in its route, the door closes completely.

If you prefer to fix the sensor yourself, make sure the area is shaded, and the sensors are turned off. If you suspect a wiring issue, call a technician. You won’t be able to get to the wire inside the sensor shell; only a professional will be able to solve this issue adequately, and the sensor system may need to be replaced.

What Are The Main Types Of Garage Door Sensors?

On the market, there are three main types of photoelectric safety sensors. While they all essentially accomplish the same thing, knowing their distinctions might help you choose the perfect one for your garage.

1) Beam Safety Sensors

The most popular garage door opener sensors are the ones listed below. They are powered by two devices placed on opposite sides of the room. The light beam is created by the first unit and received by the second.

The link between the two units is broken every moment an object or person crosses the light beam. Your garage door’s electric motor receives a stop signal from the sensors.

2) Reflective Sensors

To minimize space, these sensors combine the functions of an emitter and a receiver into a single instrument. The beam of light that crosses the garage door is created by one sensor component in this case.

On the other side of the garage door is a retroreflector that directs the light ray to the reception element. The beam loses some intensity when something gets between the sensor and the retroreflector. The beam is reflected in part and strikes the sensor at various angles and strengths.


If you’re having difficulties troubleshooting your garage door safety sensors, contact a garage door professional as soon as possible. Safety sensors help prevent terrible incidents, and any issues with them should be addressed immediately.

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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.