Will A Garage Door Work Without the Sensors?

Every garage that has a garage door opener has built-in infrared sensors. These infrared sensors are placed between two to six inches off the ground on each side. By pressing the remote control, garage doors open or close by the signal that is sent to the sensors. However, like any other device, these sensors can break down, which can be a problem. Therefore, you probably wonder whether you can use a garage door without the sensors. In this article, we’ll talk about that. So, let’s start!

Will A Garage Door Work Without the Sensors? A garage door opener will not work without the sensors. However, garage doors can be opened manually by disconnecting them from garage door opener. That way, sensors will be bypassed. According to U.S. federal law, garage doors must have a safety mechanism installed, and sensors are the most common.

Since 1993, all garages that have garage door openers must have some kind of safety mechanism, and the sensors are the most popular ones. Their main role is to prevent the door from closing if a person is below them. However, manufacturers also install an additional system in case of sensor failure that allows the door to be opened or closed manually. How this system works will be explained in the next chapter.

If you want to learn more, be sure to read How Much Power (kWh) Does a Garage Door Opener Use?

How To Manually Open or Close A Garage Door?

Manually Open or Close A Garage Door

As we have already mentioned, each garage door has a safety mechanism that can be used in the event of a power outage or malfunction of the sensors. Manual release is the system that is used in this case. How this can be done, will be explained below. Keep in mind that you need to follow each step in order.

Step 1: Secure the Garage Door

First, make sure to secure the garage door for safety reasons. If garage doors are closed, that’s perfect. You don’t need to do anything. However, if garage doors are up, then you need to secure them. You can do this by supporting them with some solid objects. Place a solid object on each side of the garage doors and check that it holds tightly.

Step 2: Check Springs And Use Release Cord

Check the springs, and see if there is tension on them. If cables and springs are in good condition, then you can safely move on. Find where the release cord is and pull it. By doing this, the door will be released from the garage opener.

Step 3: Remove Objects That Are Holding The Door

Now make sure to seek someone’s help. Remove the objects that you put on each side of the garage door. Make sure that one person holds the door while the other person removes the objects that are holding the door.

Step 4: Close Garage Door

Lastly, now you can close the garage door manually. Make sure to check all the springs, hinges, and cables with which the garage door is connected. If everything looks fine, try to open your garage door manually. Now that we’ve established that you can close and open the garage door normally, that’s it.

Here is a detailed video showing how to open your garage doors manually.

Are Garage Door Sensors Required?

Garage door sensors are required by U.S. federal law, and every garage door must have it for safety reasons. Besides that, they are very useful and can protect you from potential injuries. This law has been in force since 1993, and all garage door manufacturers need to have them. Although there are other safety mechanisms that can be used, garage door sensors are the most popular.

How Do Garage Door Sensors Work?

Working principle of garage door sensors

Garage door safety sensors are installed two to six inches above the ground on each side of the garage door and use a photo eye system for protection against accidents. These sensors must be aligned. There is an invisible trip wire between these sensors. By using a remote control, the signal is sent to the sensors that then open the door. After the button is pressed on the remote control, an infrared radio signal activates the electric motor, and the garage door opens or closes.

Most Common Garage Door Security Sensor Problems

One of the most common problems due to which safety sensors sometimes do not work can occur due to the following problems:

  • A dirty photocell
  • Some object is blocking the sensor
  • A broken sensor wire
  • Sensors are not aligned

How to Know If Garage Door Sensors Are Working Properly?

Garage door safety sensors usually consist of two sensors, one of which is a receiver and the other an emitter (which means that one sends a signal and the other receives it). Each sensor has an LED that indicates its current status. They can also help you to determine if some sensor is broken or not working.

When the photoelectric sensor is projecting the infra-red beam from one end to the other end of the sensor, then they function correctly. A green light usually indicates that the sensor is functioning normally, while a yellow or red light indicates some problem with the sensor.

Keep in mind that there are many manufacturers on the market that produce safety sensors, and because of that, the colors may vary. Here we will look at the most popular manufacturers and what colors they use:

  • Guardian: Sensors have green LED lights when they are working properly, while the red LED lights will be if they are not aligned or if something interrupts the infrared rays.
  • Liftmaster and Craftsman: A green LED light is present if the sensors are working properly, while a yellow LED light is present if something is wrong with the sensors.
  • Marantec: A green LED light will be present if sensors are working normally, while a red LED light will be turned on if something is wrong.
  • Overhead: A green LED light will be turned on if everything is working normally. If something is wrong with the sensors, the light will be RED.

Most Common Garage Doors Sensor Problems

Problems that garage door sensors can have

If you have noticed that the garage door safety sensors are not working properly, it would be necessary to diagnose the problem as soon as possible and solve it for safety reasons. Here are the most common problems why safety sensors are not working.

1. Faulty Garage Door Sensor Alignment

Garage door sensors need to line up to work properly. If the infrared sensor lights are out of alignment, then it’s a problem. The easiest way to notice that your sensors are not aligned is to look at the LED light on each sensor and see if it has a green light. You need to align the sensors if the light is yellow or red.

2. Dirty Sensor Lenses

The problem with garage door sensors sometimes can be because dust blocks the infrared rays. Clean the sensor lens from dust and dirt. Garages are usually full of dust and dirt, so it is not unusual for the sensors to be covered with it after a while. Use the soft cloth and wipe the lens off.

3. Damaged Wires Of the Sensor

Garage door sensors need the power to work. Since these are mostly small wires, they can wear out and be damaged over time. Therefore, be sure to check wires and see if there is any visible damage on them. If you notice that there is a problem with the wires, replace the damaged wires.

4. Check For a Clear Path

In order for the sensors to work properly, they must not be interrupted. This means that no object must be placed between them that will interfere with the infrared rays from the receiver to the transmitter. If there is some object between the sensors, they will not work. Make sure to check that there is nothing between the sensors.

5. Lack of Power

Although this is a very obvious problem that you will immediately notice, it can also be why garage door sensors are not working. For sensors to work, they need power. The easiest way to notice it is to look at the sensor LED lights and see if they are turned on. If the lights are off entirely, then there is no power.

Also, be sure to check our article The Pros and Cons Of Garage Door Opener.

How To Fix A Garage Door Sensor?

We have gone through the quick fixes related to the garage door sensor in the section above. Tightening the sensor, cleaning the sensor lens, replacing wires, and restoring power are the most common ways to fix/repair your garage sensor.

However, if the problem cannot be solved so easily, then the problem is probably a faulty sensor that will need to be replaced. Make sure to do this correctly because of safety issues. If you don’t know how to do this, be sure to call a professional.

Final Thoughts

Garage doors are very popular, and almost every home has one. As we have already mentioned, garage sensors are necessary for safety reasons since 1993, and you should be careful with them. If sensors are not working, then the only way to open or close your garage doors is manually. This can be done by pulling out the release cord. I hope this article has helped you and if you have any additional questions, feel free to comment below.

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