How to Know if your Garage Door Sensors are out of Alignment

Realign Garage Door Sensors

Garage doors are used by homeowners almost every single day. Not only do they allow us access in and out of our garage, but they also help to protect our valuables. If our garage door becomes faulty, it can disrupt our everyday life. One issue that can cause your garage door to not function properly is when the sensors become damaged or move out of place. 

How Do Garage Door Sensors Work?

Before you can identify whether a sensor is out of alignment, you need to understand how your garage door works. Sensors have been included in the manufacturing of garage doors since the early 1990s to help ensure your safety and stop the door from closing on a person or property. When the door is triggered to close, the sensors on either side of the door will send an infrared beam of light to each other.  If the beam of light is interrupted by an object, the sensor will signal the door to reverse and lift back into the open position.  The sensors will not allow the door to close until the door path is clear, making the sensors an imperative safety feature that is now included with all garage doors.

How Do You Test That Your Garage Door Sensor is Working?

Now that you know how your garage door operates, you should be able to test if the sensors are working properly.  Once you’ve identified that the sensors are the source of the problem, you can then act to get it fixed.

Signs That Your Sensors Are Not Working

Carrying out checks in these areas should help you identify where the problem lies:

  • Light indicators: Check the exterior flashing LED lights when you open the garage door. If the light shows green, then your door is working properly. If it shows red, it is faulty.
  • Dirty lenses: Dirty sensor lenses can prevent them from functioning properly. If you clear away the dirt, your door should start to work again.
  • Damaged wires: Look for cracked or damaged wires. If there is damage, you’ll need to replace them.

How to Align Garage Door Sensors

After verifying that you have faulty garage door sensors, you will need to adjust the alignment. When your garage door sensors do not align properly, your receiver will not detect input from the emitter. This will cause your garage doors to remain open regardless of any other issues.

Luckily, garage door alignment does not require a professional. With the right tools and some hands-on initiative, you can ensure your garage door opens and closes correctly in no time at all.   

Necessary Tools for Aligning Garage Door Sensors

Before making adjustments to your garage door alignment, you must gather the necessary tools for the job. Ensure you have the following tools and materials:

  • Protective gloves
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Cotton string
  • Beam level

Don’t worry if you don’t have these items on hand. You can easily find these tools by shopping online or visiting your local hardware store. 

Steps to Align Garage Door Sensors 

After you’ve collected the necessary tools, follow this step-by-step guide for garage door sensor alignment:

Step 1: Turn Off the Power

Locate the breaker box in your home and trip the fuse that supplies power to your garage. This will cut off the electricity to your sensors and allow a safe environment while working. Simply unplug the power cord from the provided electricity outlet for manually powered sensors.

To ensure your personal safety as you work, always wear protective gloves, particularly electricity-resistant gloves, when handling electric wires. 

Helpful Tip: Electrically insulated gloves include a “class” rating. When shopping for protective gloves, find a pair with a “Class 0” rating that can withstand up to 500 volts. This class provides adequate protection for garage door alignment and adjusting sensors.

Step 2: Loosening Screws in Sensor Mount

A mounting bracket encases each of the sensors in your garage. Along the side of these mounts, you will find a set of screws that hold your sensors in place. Use your standard screwdriver to loosen each set of screws in the mounting brackets.

Do not remove the screws entirely. You will need to leave the screws in place in order to shift the mounting brackets accordingly in the next few steps. 

Step 3: Shifting the Mounting Bracket

With the screws now loosened, you can freely maneuver your mounting brackets up and down. Lower your garage door sensors as far as possible, using your hands to keep them within the mounting brackets. Avoid using tools such as a wrench to lower the brackets–marks left on the sensor’s surface can disrupt functionality and cause damage to the sensor.  

Step 4: Attaching String

With your garage door sensors lowered as far as possible, wrap a piece of string around one of the sensors and its bracket. Form a tight knot so the sensor does not move within the mounting bracket. You will run into alignment issues with the opposite sensor without a tight enough knot and need to start again.

Now run the excess length of your string from one end of the garage door opening to the other. Attach the excess string to the opposite sensor and form another tight knot around the mounting bracket. You should now have a taut line of string running as straight as possible between both garage door sensors.

Step 5: Leveling Your String

With your string in place along the bottom of your garage door frame, you can now check the alignment of your sensors. Take your level and hold it firmly against the bottom of your string. Hold the level in place for a few seconds and see if the string runs level along the garage doorway before removing it. 

If your string doesn’t run level, you will need to adjust your sensors again. Slide the mounting brackets one at a time, either upward or downward, as necessary, until your level indicates the proper alignment of your sensors.  

Step 6: Fastening Mounting Bracket Screws

With your string running level and your sensors accurately in place, you can now tighten the screws of your mounting brackets. Tighten the screws until your garage door sensors no longer move in place, even when applying pressure. 

Tightening the mounting bracket screws can sometimes cause sensors to shift out of place. Use your level one more time to ensure the alignment of your sensors before moving on to the next step. 

Helpful Tip: To avoid going back and forth between sensors during the string and levelling process, find a partner who can help. This allows for easier adjustment of the mounting brackets, especially when you find your string needs re-levelling. 

Step 7: Turn the Power On

Once you ensure the proper alignment of your garage door sensors, you can remove your placement string. Find the breaker box and turn the power to your garage back on, or plug in the electric cord for manually-powered sensors. Test your newly aligned garage door sensors and see the results of your handiwork.  

Raynor Garage Doors

If you are experiencing issues with your garage door, get in touch with a Raynor Authorized Dealer near you, and they will help you with your specific problem. With more than 75 years of experience, you can trust our fantastic network of dealers to fix any issues with your garage door and correct any problems with your garage door sensors.

Garage Door FAQs

How High Should My Garage Door Sensors Be Placed?

Many homeowners wonder how high they should place their garage door sensors. Most garage door sensors sit at least six to nine inches from the ground. Despite common misconceptions, the type of garage door system or garage door sensors you own does not affect the standard placement of your equipment. 

Do My Garage Door Receivers and Emitters Need to be Aligned to Work Properly?

Yes, both garage door sensors (receiver and emitter) need proper alignment to work correctly. If you still need help realigning your garage door sensors after reading the above guide, contact a Raynor Authorized Dealer near you for help adjusting your garage door equipment.

What Is Causing My Garage Door to Come Off Track?

Loose bolts on the bracket holding your garage door track can cause your garage door to wobble or even pop out of place when opening or closing. In this situation, you would need the help of a garage door professional, like the certified technicians at a Raynor Authorized Dealer near you, to inspect and adjust the tracks and garage door alignment.

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