How To Realign And Clean Garage Door Sensor Eyes

If your garage door suddenly will not close or if it is simply not operating like it should, then it may be time to contact a garage door service professional who can find out what the problem is. However, before you jump up to get the phone, there are a few things you can check on your own. You may be able to even complete a quick fix by yourself, especially if there is a sensor issue. Keep reading to learn about the garage door photo eye sensors and how you can realign and clean them to try and fix your garage door. 

Photo Eye Issues

Almost every garage door has safety features that force the door to open back up automatically if an object or person blocks the bottom part of the door. These features are mandatory according to a law passed in the 1990s. While some garage doors use pressure sensors that will cause the door to open after it comes into contact with an object, others use technology to detect an object in the way. Specifically, two photo eyes are usually set on either side of the garage door opening. One of the eyes releases an infrared beam that shines to another eye on the other side of the door. If the beam is interrupted in any way, then the garage door senses an object in the way and it does not close.

Unfortunately, a blockage may not be the only reason why the infrared beam is interrupted. Sometimes, one eye may be knocked out of place, or the eye lenses have become so dirty that they cannot transmit or receive the light. 

Aligning the Eyes

To make sure that the sensor eyes attached to your garage door are working properly, make sure they are aligned. Find the eyes first. The eyes will look like two small lenses attached to metal attachments that sit low on the garage door track. To find out if these eyes are aligned with one another, purchase a laser level from your local home improvement store. These devices are levels that emit a laser light beam at a perpendicular or parallel angle to a designated object. 

To use the level to see if the eyes are aligned, set the level in front of the left eye. Make sure the bubble part of the level is directly in the middle of the alignment gauge, and also make sure the laser beam of the device is aligned with the center of the eye. Turn on the laser at this time. If the laser hits the lens part of the eye on the right side of the door, then the eyes are aligned with one another. If they do not, then ask a friend of family member to gently bend the right eye up or down until the laser hits the lens.

Cleaning the Lenses

If you have aligned the eyes or if you discovered that they were already aligned, then try cleaning the eye lenses to see if debris is keeping the infrared beam from transmitting or being seen. The eye lenses are usually made out of glass much like camera lenses. This means you should clean them in the same manner to reduce scratches. Purchase a lens cleaner from your local camera supply store or buy a small bottle of rubbing alcohol instead. Place the fluid on a piece of lint-free cotton cloth and gently rub each lens to remove dirt and debris. 

After you are done cleaning, test the garage door to see if it closes properly. If it does, then keep an eye on the alignment and cleanliness of the garage door eyes in the future. If it does not, contact a garage repair specialist right away to diagnose and repair the issue. You can also see this website or others like it to learn more about garage door services in your area.