Since 1993, automatic garage doors installed in U.S. homes have been required to have at least one safety feature to prevent them from becoming trapped under the door. These safety features include garage door sensors that detect objects, people, or animals that may be in the path of your garage door.

Garage door security sensors play an important role in keeping people and pets safe from harm. However, this feature may eventually wear out or require replacement. Fortunately, there are some signs you can use to know when it’s time to replace your garage door sensor. What does a garage door sensor do? A garage door sensor detects when something is under the garage door and is at risk of being crushed when the door closes. There are many different types of sensors available, but the most common type is the photoelectric sensor.

Misalignment often occurs because the safety eye is low to the ground and can be easily bumped by people walking by, or by children or pets playing near the garage door. Vibration when opening and closing the door can also cause the photocell sensor to become misaligned. When facing issues with garage door repair, it’s essential to address misalignment promptly to ensure the continued safety and functionality of your garage door system.

Perform a visual inspection

Visual inspection can be used to determine if the safety eye is misaligned. First, manually close the garage door.

Go to one of the eyes in the picture and look at the light there. If the sensor is a steady yellow or green light, the sensor is calibrated and functioning. Next, check the other sensors to see if their LEDs are lit yellow or green.

If you see a flashing light in one of the eyes in the photo, it indicates a misalignment.


In many cases, you can correct misalignment yourself by adjusting the sensor. Measure the height of each sensor from the ground and ensure that the heights are equal. If not, raise or lower the sensor until it is the same distance from the ground. Use a level to make sure they are even.

If you’re in need of Emergency Garage Door Service in Tampa, one common issue you might encounter is misalignment of the sensor. This misalignment can occur due to various factors, such as the sensor being loose or accidentally bumped. To address this, check if the sensor can be moved back and forth. If it can, tighten it using the available nut or screw after repositioning the photocell. Once you’ve adjusted the safety eye to eliminate misalignment, conduct a test by ensuring that the light of each photo sensor is lit. Open the garage door and use the remote control to close it. If the door closes completely without any issues, it indicates that the alignment problem has been successfully resolved.

Signs of a faulty garage door sensor

Although a misaligned photocell is a common cause of garage door sensor problems, there may be other problems with the sensor. If the safety eye is not misaligned, or correcting the misalignment does not resolve the issue, check the photocell sensor again.

The sensor may be dirty and the dirt may be blocking the beam. Try wiping it clean with a soft microfiber cloth.

Damage from Sunburn

The sun’s UV rays can affect the functionality of your garage door sensor and cause damage to the sensor. Photo eye sensors use infrared light to generate a beam that detects objects. The sun also produces infrared radiation, which can interfere with the beam if it hits the sensor.

Depending on where the sunlight comes from in your garage, a quick solution may be to reposition the sensor so that the transmitting sensor is on the side of the door that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight. Another option is to install a sunshade in front of the sensor to block the sun’s rays but not the sensor’s beam.

If the sensor has been damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight, replacing the sensor is probably the best solution.

Electrical questions

Another issue could be that the sensor is not receiving power. If there are no lights on any of the sensors, check the power source. Unplug and reconnect or check the circuit breaker to see if the circuit is tripped.

A frayed or loose cable can cut off power to the sensor. If a wiring issue is causing problems with your garage door sensor, it’s usually time to replace the sensor.

If you think your sensor problem is caused by a wiring problem, it’s best to have it serviced and repaired by a professional. How much does it cost to replace a garage door sensor? The cost to replace a garage door sensor depends on the type of sensor you use and whether you replace it yourself or have a professional garage door technician install and repair it. Once you’ve replaced your sensor, ongoing maintenance can extend its lifespan and reduce the need for future replacements. Also, keep the sensor clean and protected from direct sunlight.

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