garage door sensor photon eye

How To Replace A Garage Door Sensor

Your garage door is a key component in your home. And it can be a dangerous one.

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reports that garage doors crush as many as 2,000 people per year. Additionally, more than 7,500 people are injured during garage door operations.

The most common garage door injuries occur by garage doors falling off track, injury from broken springs, and failure of the garage door to reverse due to failure of the garage door obstruction sensor to detect a blockage.

Since garage doors can weigh hundreds of pounds, a failure in your garage door sensor can injure or potentially kill someone. Often pets or small children will try to rush under the door at the last second before it closes.

You should check your garage door sensors often.

In 1992, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission passed a rule to require garage door openers to have a photoelectric sensor or “electric eye” to prevent injury from entrapment. This ruling is due to the number of deaths and injuries sustained by mostly children trapped beneath them.

When should I replace my garage door sensor?

If you find that your garage door sensors are not functioning or the garage door does not reverse when the light sensor is blocked, you should immediately troubleshoot your garage door sensor.

Repairing or replacing a garage door sensor is a simple fix that most homeowners can make on their own.

However, if you don’t feel confident repairing your sensors yourself, you should contact your qualified garage door professional.

When installed by a professional, most garage door sensor repairs will be under $200, including the new sensors, the installation charge, and the service call itself.

How do garage door safety sensors work?

Garage door sensors use photoelectric sensors that shoot an infrared beam from one sensor on one side of the garage door to another sensor on the other side of the garage door.

This infrared beam creates an invisible tripwire between the two sensor units. Sensors are placed about 6 inches above ground level, so anything blocking the infrared beam will trip the garage door opener and allow the garage door will reverse back to the open position.

If you need to temporarily bypass your garage door opener sensors, click here.

How to check for a malfunctioning garage door safety sensor

Before determining if you need to replace your safety sensors, try the following:

1. Verify that the sensors have power. If the lights on the sensors do not have power, then there is an issue. If sensors have power, then chances are you will not need to replace them. Look to see if the wires have been broken or chewed or the glass eyes need cleaning. In case of wire damage, the sensors should be replaced.

2. If your sensor’s indicator light is flashing, check to see if the sensors on each side of the garage door are aligned so that the infrared beam is connected between the two and there is no obstruction. Try cleaning the sensors with a mild cleaner like Windex, or wipe them off with a wet rag. When operational, the indicator lights should be solid.

3. Carefully test your garage door. The door should not close if there is an obstruction blocking the beam. Often the garage door will also make an audible alert or clicking noise indicating there is a blockage.

Are garage door sensors universal?

All garage door sensors work the same way. Not all are universal. If a model is marked “universal,” it will be compatible with all major brands of garage door openers such as LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Genie, Craftsman, etc. Be sure to check the packaging carefully or use one of our recommended replacement options below.

Garage door safety sensor replacement options

If you can’t fix your existing sensors, you should replace both at the same time. Most replacement kits come with two sensors, mounting hardware, and hardware. If your door is vibrating, shaking, or opening and then reversing, your garage door opener likely needs replaced.

Chamberlain / LiftMaster / Craftsman / Genie Garage Door Opener Safety Sensor Replacement

Chamberlain G801CB-P LiftMaster/Craftsman 801CB Garage Door Opener Replacement Safety, Includes 2 Sensors, Mounting Brackets and Hardware, 1 Pack, One Color

Chamberlain / LiftMaster / Craftsman Garage Door Opener Safety Sensor Replacement

This unit comes complete with two sensors, mounting brackets, and hardware. It also has an extension wire so you can splice to your existing wire.

These sensors will work with any Chamberlain, Liftmaster, or Craftsman garage door manufactured after 1997. Not compatible with craftsman 100 series

Genie (Authentic) GSTB-R (STB-BL) Safe-T-Beam Replacement Kit, Safety Beams, Includes Sender & Receiver(GSTB-R), One Size, Black

Genie Garage Door Opener Safety Sensor Replacement

This unit comes complete with two sensors, mounting brackets, and hardware. It does not come with the replacement wire. If you have wire and just need a replacement plug with 12 inches of wire you can purchase those separately as well on Amazon.

Compatible with Genie (only) garage door openers manufactured since 1993 that utilize required safety beams