Why Your Garage Door Sensor Is Important

Wooden garage door

Check your garage door sensors as part of your maintenance inspections to ensure the safety of loved ones

A Canadian hospital research study showed that there were 622 injuries involving overhead garage doors between 1990 and 2005. While the numbers may seem low over 15 years, most of the injuries occurred at home. Over 40% of those injuries involved lacerations, bruising, body part injuries, and minor head injuries.

In a news report from 2018, a malfunctioning overhead commercial parking garage door crushed an elderly Calgary woman. Accidents like this highlight the ongoing risk of injury from malfunctioning garage doors at home and in commercial areas. So keeping overhead garage doors in top operation order is not just a matter of convenience; it also protects you and your family from injury too.

What Can I Do To Ensure My Garage Door Is Operating Safely?

The first step is to inspect your garage door frequently for any mechanical or photoelectric failure. Next, test the sensor, safely look at the cable and springs, and watch how the door opens and closes. Make sure it appears to operate correctly.

If you cannot, then call a reputable, knowledgeable overhead garage door installation company near you. They will be able to assess if any functions could pose a danger. A garage door company will also be able to fix issues immediately and can locate necessary parts for repair.

Keep Overhead Garage Door Sensors In Top Condition

The overhead door sensors are integral to the opening and closing of the garage door. Their job is to prevent the door from coming down when obstructions are in their path.

These sensors are located in little boxes on either side of the door track, about four to six inches off the floor. They are called photoelectric sensors because they turn electricity into an infrared beam that runs along the garage door opening. On one side is the emitter, and the other is the receiver. The beam acts somewhat like a tripwire and senses if anything is in the opening, and it disables the door from closing.

Things That Can Go Wrong & Pose Safety Risks

There are a few conditions that will cause your sensors to malfunction, including:

  • The overhead garage door has vibrated the sensor boxes out of alignment.
  • Someone has bumped against them, causing misalignment.
  • There is dirt, snow, dust, or spider webs on the sensor lens.
  • There is something in the track between the two sensors.
  • A pinched wire has impeded the current.
  • The automatic garage door opener is malfunctioning.
  • The sensor box needs recalibrating.
  • There is a reflection confusing the overhead door sensors.

How Will I Know If The Garage Sensor Needs Fixing?

One sign that your overhead door sensor isn’t working is if it rapidly blinks. Another is if the garage door is erratically opening or closing, or is refusing to open or close.

The solution is sometimes as easy as cleaning the overhead garage door sensor with a cloth or adjusting the box slightly. Because it can break easily, do not force the adjustment. If your garage door sensor is still not working, consider making an emergency call to a professional.

A qualified technician can advise you on additional things you can try. Or they will make a service call to ensure all parts of your overhead garage door are working and are not a safety hazard.

Along with the sensor inspection, you want to be sure your manual door mechanism is working and engaged. This is especially important because it is how you will be able to raise the garage door is an accident does happen.

Safety Tips Around Overhead Garage Door Usage

Even if your overhead garage door is working perfectly, go through some safety information with your family members. 

The Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association International (DASMA) has a great PDF that you could copy and post in your garage as a reminder about safety around the overhead garage door. 

Some points they make are:

  • Watching the garage door until it completely opens or closes. 
  • Keep your garage door well maintained.
  • Restricting access to overhead door openers from children and place the garage opener higher than children can reach.
  • Refrain from scooting under the opening or closing overhead door.
  • Keep body parts away from the tracks, panel hardware, and the overhead door when it is opening or closing.
  • Don’t attempt to fix the garage systems if you don’t have the know-how.
  • Avoid lying in the opening of the overhead garage door if you are fixing it.

For more information on overhead garage door maintenance or to schedule a regular maintenance calls, reach out to A1 Overhead Door Services. We’ll answer any questions you may have and make sure your garage door is working correctly. 

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