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What are Common Causes of Garage Door Sensor Problems?

Garage Door Sensor

A garage door sensor is a small sensor for the garage door, that despite its extremely important job, gets overlooked often when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. Failure to resolve any problem with a garage door sensor can result in some costly mishaps, including damage to the garage door itself. Which is why it is important that the garage door sensor be kept in the best condition possible. For this, we’ll look through some of the common causes of garage door sensor problems, how to diagnose and resolve them.

With a functioning garage door sensor, you get seamless operation of the door. It detects any object in the path of the door, and it can pull the door back up. When the garage door sensor does not get any maintenance, it may lag or even fail to operate, and could contribute to any mishap; from the garage door crashing into your car, or worse, onto a member of the family. Which is why keeping the garage door sensor in operational condition is important. 

Now, let’s look at some common causes of garage door sensor problems. 

Common garage door sensor problems

The following are some common garage door sensor problems, explained with the diagnosis and resolution. Let’s look at them so you may not have to deal with an issue that may rise from a sensor fault.

Signal issues in the transmission

The most common cause of garage door sensor problems is some sort of signal issues during the transmission process. The sensors usually have electromagnetic signals that can get blocked by any piece of metal that is squarely within the path of the sensor and the ground. If any other object is blocking this path, simply remove it and the sensor should work just fine. If the issue is still not resolved, you can check for any metal brackets or strips on the garage door itself, as they can cause interference with the transmission of the signal. If that is the case, simply reposition and realign the sensors above the metal strips or brackets.

Power supply issues 

Another really common cause of garage door sensor problems is simply power supply issues with the sensor. Since the garage is powered by electricity from the grid, you can start by checking the wiring of the door, and whether any issues have developed in the wiring. If not, check the breaker box itself. If there is a power supply issue, some electrical work will present itself, which you should always get checked by a professional electrician. Power supply issues are common; since they get overlooked often, sometimes a fault may develop instantaneously, affecting the performance of the sensor. Always make sure to turn off the power box before checking the wiring to avoid any serious incident.

Issues with the sensor ‘eyes’, lights

The garage door sensor uses what are commonly referred to as ‘eyes’: these are sensor lights, usually green and amber in colour, that feed light input to the sensor. These are commonly known to malfunction, since they come in regular contact with surfaces. However, a completely mangled one will cause further damage to the garage door itself, and may also put at risk anything or anyone that comes within the path of the garage door. To diagnose, check the lights or the eyes of the sensor; if they are blinking or flickering, that usually means that the lights are faulty, and would need to be replaced. If they stay on, the issue might be somewhere else, since a steady light means that the sensor’s eyes and lights are functioning properly. Alternatively, if the lights aren’t working properly, you can try and lightly shake the housing of the sensor. This usually does the trick until a permanent fix can be procured.

Sensor lens is smeared and dirty

The sensor lens can be exposed to all sorts of dirt, mud, deposits from the car exhaust and really anything else that may pollute the garage. As such, while the garage door sensor may be working fine, it won’t be able to transmit the signal properly, or won’t receive any input. For smeared or dirty sensor lenses, simply take a dry, soft cloth and wipe the sensor surface clean. Since tracking dirt and mud is very common, this step should be repeated every month to ensure optimal functioning of the sensor; it’s a simple wipe and clean job and keeps the sensor working perfectly.  

Sensor alignment is out

Garage door sensors are arranged in such a way that they face each other to maintain a constant line of electromagnetic signals. Usually, when a sensor is not working, what happens is that the alignment of the sensors gets out. Even if the sensors are slightly misaligned, the garage door sensor will not work properly. Before going to check the wiring, or calling a professional, you can always check the alignment of the sensors to ensure that they are properly aligned, and facing each other. Usually, what happens is, during the movement of the gate, one sensor might slide off its usual position, or during the closing of the garage door, it may get slightly detached. Simply align the sensor, and the apparatus should start working again.

Garage door sensor depreciation 

A simple diagnosis for sensor depreciation would be simply age. Garage doors are not thoroughly checked every day or even every other month, and it is usually after something has gone wrong that the issue comes to attention. Sensors are part of the same apparatus, and usually work fine without a hitch for extended periods of time. If the sensor hasn’t been checked or replaced in a couple of years, instead of looking around, it may simply be depreciation; garage door sensors experience significant wear and tear during their operation, and can lose functioning after a significant amount of time has passed. If that is the case, it might be time to simply replace the sensor and get shiny new ones.

Instead of the sensor, check your remote

As a last resort, should you find nothing wrong with the sensor, it might simply be the remote in your car that could be malfunctioning. Chances are, if the garage door and the sensor is new, and none of the above is the case, the problem might lie with the remote itself. Check the remote, the batteries and the antennae (if it has one, modern ones use an embedded antennae or dont use one at all); there might be a problem in there instead of the sensor. It is usually better to check the remote or the sensor itself before going into wiring or the technical aspects of the garage door and the sensor.

Why does a garage door sensor develop these problems?

Well, simply put, garages weather a lot of elements of nature and the sensors are no different; in fact, the sensors regularly come in contact with the floor and other elements present in the garage. If you have kids in the house or pets, the sensors and their flashing lights can be especially troublesome, since they could mess with it, affecting their performance. Sensors, therefore, go through a lot of wear and tear over the time, and since most people are not aware or do not concern themselves with the maintenance, the sensors may malfunction in one way or another, and could potentially cause issues.

Simple maintenance tips for garage door sensors

As mentioned before, a sensor does not require all that much maintenance and attention. Since they are designed to work for extended periods of time without fault, sensors will not develop any issue. However, they are not invincible, and since they are powered by the grid, wires will occasionally hinder the functioning of the sensor. Similarly, pollutants like dirt, mud and smoke particles can also affect the sensor itself, and so, a simple periodic wiped own of the sensor and a quick check of the wires every month or so can be undertaken to make sure the garage door sensor is in working condition. That is all the maintenance a sensor requires, and frankly, it’s not too much to ask for.

Universal Doors: your partner for optimal garage door functioning

Universal Doors has the perfect solutions for all your garage door needs. Any issues or any reservations you might have, Universal Doors is here with the best advice and solutions for your garage door. We understand garage doors; as fixtures to your house, as a statement of beauty and as a practical element in keeping your vehicles safe and the front of the house looking good, garage doors play an important role. As such, Universal Doors is here to help you with everything you might need: whether its maintenance, installation, tips on proper upkeep, Universal Doors is here with the perfect fix. Keep your garage door looking like an absolute dream with us. 

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