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Garage Door Safety - Your Photo Sensor

The photo sensor (or photo eye) is one of the safety features on automatic garage doors. There are two sensors for each door, one on either side of the door, low to the ground. One sensor sends a beam of light to a receiving sensor, and if anything 'breaks' the beam, the door will not close or, if closing, will stop closing and reverse the door. This helps prevent anything under the immediate path of the closing door from being struck and damaged or injured.

During a home inspection, the operation of the photo eyes are tested. After inspecting the closed door, track and spring mechanism, the inspector will open the garage door and use the controls to close the door. While the door is closing, the inspector will 'break' the beam, and the door should stop descending and reverse.

The inspector also ensures that the photo sensors are set at the proper height - no more than 6" off the ground. Those installed above 6" (like those sensors shown in the picture below which are 12" and 14" above the ground), may strike low-lying objects, like a small child or pet. Although the door should reverse when it meets resistance, it can still cause injury.

Be sure to measure the height of your photo sensors and adjust them as needed in order to improve the safety of your home.

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