Garage doors are perhaps the most vital aspect of your garage. They are the gateway to your home. However, due to the many incidents that can happen around their mechanical, moving parts, features have been added to make garage doors safer to operate. Specifically, garage door safety sensors are in place so the door does not close on someone or something. These safety sensors are called photo eyes. The photo eyes need to be able to see each other in order for the door to fully close.


Photo eyes, or safety sensors, are in place to keep your garage door from closing on anything it's not supposed to. Bottom line. Your garage door is under a high amount of tension due to the springs which lift the door to the open position and keep it closed in the down position. The photo eyes are connected to the garage door opener. They are located on either side of the garage door, about 6 inches above the ground. When you press the button from the remote in your car or on the wall station next to your walk thu door into your home, the photo eyes will stop your door from closing if anything passes through their connection. Whether it's a child, a bicycle, the family pet, or an empty box, the photo eyes will keep the door from closing. As long as the sensors detect each other, then you can rest assured the door will function as intended.


For the sensors to work properly, they must be aligned. This can be done through a simple process.

  1. Turn off the power to the sensors.
  2. Loosen the screws that hold the sensors.
  3. Ensure photo eyes are at their lowest point in design, six inches off the ground.
  4. Do the same to the adjacent sensor and then tie a string joining the two.
  5. Tighten the screws of the sensors in their new position.
  6. Remove the string and test the door's functionality.


The other security measures you should be aware of include:

  • Auto Reverse: the garage door will "reverse" its direction when the photo eyes sense something blocking their pathway. This is a safety feature to prevent the door from crushing anything in its way.
  • Motion Detectors: this safety function stops the door from moving in either direction if the photo eyes will not detect each other. If anything is in the doorway, the door cannot damage it. Think of this as the second safety back-up to the photo eyes, halting the movement of the garage door altogether.
  • Emergency Release: on the opener head, which is mounted to the ceiling, there is a handle. You can pull this and manually open or close your door. There is also a handle on the actal garage door that you can use to manually operate the door safely.


It's easy to tell if your garage door is malfunctioning.

  • If you notice the photo eyes are not aligned, broken, or covered with dirt or debris, the door could malfunction.
  • If the door closes or opens half way and doesn't go further, there is a problem.
  • If the door doesn't go up, have an expert check it.
  • If you notice the door motor runs but the door doesn't move, seek the help of a professional