The photo eye is an essential garage door safety feature. It consists of two sensors, located on either side of the garage door opening. One of the sensors directs an infrared beam to the other. If the lenses sense obstruction while the garage door is closing, the sensors will reverse the door to prevent injury or damage. These sensors are delicate and can be easily misaligned. Your garage door has two safety systems. The primary is the safety sensor system and the secondary is the built-in automatic reverse. As a homeowner, you want both of these safety systems (primary and secondary) to be performing perfectly.

How do you run a sensor safety test? Follow these three steps I’ve outlined below.

Step 1: Identify the Photo Eyes

Check to see if your garage door opener is equipped with photo eyes. If your opener lacks this feature, it is time to get a new opener. Properly installed photo eyes (black sensors) should be mounted no higher than six inches off the ground. If these eyes are installed any higher, a person or pet could go under the beam and not be detected. If these photo eyes are dirty, dusty, or misaligned, the laser will be unable to be read. If the light is lit on one sensor but not lit (or flickering) on the other, it may have been bumped. Try adjusting it slightly with your hand to see if it comes back on.

Step 2: Test the Protector System

Block the photo eye with an object that is over six inches tall and press the button to close the garage door. The door should not close. The light bulb on the opener should also flash/blink about 10 times. If your door closes after preforming this test, call a garage door professional. It’s an indicator that your garage door opener requires attention from a service technician.

Step 3: Test the Safety Reversal System

Test your garage door’s sensitivity. A correctly installed garage door opener will automatically retract after making contact with an object. This is the primary safety device installed in U.S. manufactured garage door openers. To test this, lay an object (I recommend a piece of one-inch lumber – a 2x4 laid flat works great) centered under the garage door in the path of the photo eyes. Press the button to close the garage door. The door should retract off this object. If the door makes contact and does not reverse, the door is not operating correctly. Failure to test and adjust with this safety reverse system may result in severe injury.

I recommend performing these garage door safety checks whenever you test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to keep your garage, home, and family safe. Visit our blog for more helpful tips and lessons. Our name says it all. American = Family. Trust. Tradition. Door = Garage. Residential. Commercial. Works = Effort. Employment. Achievement. Purpose. With over four-plus decades of dedication, we are committed to solutions and service.