Basics and Importance of Garage Door Photo Eye

There are a few important components to keep track of when it comes to your garage door, and one of the most vital from a safety perspective is the photo eye, or photo eye sensors. These sensors are in charge of ensuring there are no blockages or obstructions to your door when it’s opening and especially closing, preventing safety risks while also keeping the door in good shape at all times.

At Overhead Door Company, our garage door repair services cover a comprehensive range of garage components, including the photo eye sensors on your door if they’re dealing with malfunctions or other issues. What is the photo eye, why is it important, and what should you do if you believe it’s experiencing problems? Here’s a primer.

importance garage door photo eye

Photo Eye Basics and Operation

Generally located about half a foot off the ground, photo eye sensors sit on both sides of your garage door, slightly inside the garage itself. They send out an invisible beam of light that connects the two sensors to one another.

Anytime this beam is interrupted, the two sensors will no longer be in contact – and they’ll take note of this. They will signal the garage door system to break the circuit temporarily, preventing the door from being able to close while the circuit is broken. Only once beam contact between sensors has been restored will the circuit reopen and allow the door to close.

Safety Mandate

You might be wondering how photo eye sensors came about as a garage door component, and the answer traces back to the 1990s. During this period, the US government was looking to make garage doors much safer due to a rash of incidents – the photo eye was viewed as a great way of improving safety, especially for homes with children or pets who might walk under the door without knowing the risks. Over a short period, it quickly became a constant and even a mandated product.

Signs of Sensor Issues

How can you tell if your garage door sensors are having issues? Here are a few basic signs:

  • Lights are blinking on one or both of the sensors
  • The door itself will raise, but will not lower when you press the button
  • The door will begin to rise when commanded, but will only go up partially before dropping down again

How to Respond

If you notice any of these issues, there are a few basics to check on:

  • Blockages: Confirm that there are no blockages between the sensors, such as items that may have moved or shifted in the garage.
  • Sunlight: In certain cases, direct sunlight may interfere with these sensors. If your sensors are exposed to sunlight, get some shades to block this.
  • Cleaning: In other cases, the issue might be simple cleanliness. Use a dry cloth to clean them.

If none of these themes solves the problem, call our team for assistance.

For more on your garage door photo eye sensors, or to learn about any of our garage door repair or other garage door services, speak to the staff at Overhead Door Company today.