How To Check Your Garage Door Sensors And Make Simple Repairs
If your garage door isn't working, one cause could be the safety sensors near the bottom of the door. One sensor sends a beam to the other one as a safety measure. If the beam is broken, it might mean a person or a pet is under the door, so the door won't operate. The problem is the sensors could get dirty or short out, and that keeps your door from working. Here's how to check and repair them.
Check The Indicator Lights
Locate the sensors by looking near the bottom of your garage door track. There is one on each side of the door. Each one has a tiny LED light that indicates it is operational. The sensor that sends the beam usually has a red light and the one that receives the beam has a green light. If they are working okay, the lights should be shining steadily. If the light on one or both is blinking or not shining at all, it's a signal something is wrong.
Clean The Eyes
Use a damp cloth and clean the side of the sensors that face each other. This is where the eyes are located that send and receive the electronic signal. If the eye has a speck of dirt or a spider web in it, it blocks the signal and creates problems with your garage door. After you clean both sensors, check the lights once again. If the lights are not on, realign the sensors. It's possible you might have moved them out of alignment when you cleaned them. It's also possible one of the sensors was out of alignment all along and causing the problem. To adjust them, all you have to do is move one of the sensors a little at a time until the other one picks up the signal.
Replace One Or Both Sensors
If cleaning and re-positioning do not fix the problem, you might be dealing with a shorted sensor. This can happen if sprinklers or rain gets one of the sensors wet. You can buy new sensors at a home improvement store. Make sure you buy the ones for your particular garage door brand. While replacing the sensors isn't difficult, you may prefer to leave this job for a contractor if you aren't sure what parts to buy or how to install them. If you decide to do the job yourself, replace both sensors at the same time, or if you only need to change one, be sure to replace a transmitter with a transmitter and a receiver with a receiver.
Be sure to unplug your garage door opener before you do anything. Then all you have to do is snip the wire going to the sensor you want to replace. The wire is coated in plastic and easy to snip and separate. The new sensor comes with a small piece of wiring attached, and you'll need to connect the new wiring to the old wiring. The easiest way to do that is with a crimp connector. Just insert the new wiring in one end and the old wiring in the other end, and crimp the connector so it holds them tight. The other alternative is to twist the wires together and cover them with electrical tape, but that may not hold up as well.
If you are used to DIY projects and working with wiring, it is easy to change garage door sensors. If you're leery about working around wiring, then it's best to let a contractor, like those at J & R Garage Door Company Inc., handle the repairs. The benefit of letting a professional handle the job is you can have your entire system inspected and serviced at the same time.