How to Line Up Garage Door Sensors

How to Line Up Garage Door Sensors

Garage doors are essential entryways for homes and businesses. Garage door sensors are important components that prevent emergencies and keep your door in safe operation. If your electronic sensors are out of alignment, you can troubleshoot your installations to get them back on track.

What Are Garage Door Sensors?

Garage door sensors communicate with automatic openers. The main purpose of a garage door sensor is to stop an overhead door from shutting on vehicles, children, pets and other objects. Residential and commercial garage doors have a minimum of two sensors, one on each side of the track.

If something obstructs the garage door’s path, sensors tell the automatic opener to stop closing and reverse back open. 

How to Align Your Garage Door Sensors

In most applications, the sensors will prevent the door from closing but does not affect opening which is a very good clue that there is an issue with the door sensors. Home owners will often state that their door opened fine but will not close. Other signs of blocked sensors are lack of indicator LEDS on the sensors themselves, door attempting to close but reversing right away, the dome light on the motor itself will blink when a door reverses. When you get one of these symptoms there are a few things to look for to determine if this is a quick fix or may require professional service:

1. Check for an obstruction: sometimes a shovel or broom or bike might be placed in front of the sensor, in this case they are doing exactly what they should do, remove the obstruction and run the door as normal to see fixes it.

2. Check sensor eye for debris: A common issue is spider webs, dust, or other debris may over the sensor lens. If you see this, clean lens with a soft dry cloth, being careful not to bump the eye position

3. Sensors are misaligned: Because of their location, sometimes the sensors may get bumped and misaligned. Most sensors will have a indicator LED that will be lit up if the sensor is working correctly. The sending sensor should always have a LED on but the receiving sensor will only have a LED on if receiving the signal beam from the sending sensor. You can check your owners manual, call your door dealer, or search the opener manufacturer on the internet to see what color codes your sensors use to indicate their operation status and fault indications. If you suspect a misalignment, you can use the below steps to help re-align the sensors.

Home and business owners can usually fix the situation with these steps:

  1. Disconnect power to the garage: Unplug your garage door opener or cut off power at the breaker box. Wear electricity-resistant gloves.
  2. Loosen sensor mounting brackets: Use a screwdriver or sometimes socket wrench to loosen the garage door sensor brackets until the brackets move freely. 
  3. Reposition height: code requires door sensors to be positioned a minimum of 6″ from the floor and no more than 18″, 6-9″ is best. Use a tape measure to position both sensors the same distance above the floor.
  4. Reposition sensors: Rotate each sensor so it is pointed directly across at the other, you can use a level to do this. Pay attention to the indicator LEDs. Once both are solidly lit, you can refasten.
  5. Refasten the sensor brackets: Use your screwdriver/socket wrench to fasten the brackets back in place. Reconnect power and test the system

How to Test Garage Door Sensors

Once you complete the adjustment process, test out your new sensor placement. All you need is a block of wood. Grab your automatic opener and move the overhead door to the open position. Put the block of wood between the sensors and attempt to shut the garage door. Your overhead door should stop or reverse when it detects the object.

Remove the block of wood and repeat the process to see that your door shuts completely. If your garage door won’t close but the sensors are aligned, you may have to adjust its sensitivity.

What If Garage Door Sensors Are Too Sensitive?

Door sensors do not change sensitivity however they may be affected by sunlight if it is coming in at an angle that hits the sensor lens. There are a variety of DIY fixes such as placing a shield over sensor lens to prevent light interference from the sides (many manufacturers have an aftermarket option available) or swapping the position of the eyes. The receiving eye will be more affected by sunlight interference so swapping positions often solves this issue.

Contact Crawford Door Sales for Garage Door Maintenance and Repairs

Crawford Door Sales works with home and business owners in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, area. If you’re experiencing a garage door issue, we offer a variety of repair services for residential and commercial installations. Our team has more than 60 years of experience serving the local community to get your assembly back up and running. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!


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