Can Sunlight Affect a Garage Door Sensor?

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A mechanical garage door is a convenient way for a vehicle to enter and exit the home. When it is coupled with sensors, it becomes a work of modern innovation. But let’s remember, a garage door sensor is a safety feature before anything else, with its sole purpose being to sense when an object is near the ground. This prevents the door from shutting on any person, animal, or object.

However, there may be times when a garage door sensor is negatively affected by something external. To fully understand, let’s examine just how the sensor for your garage door works, and how different elements, like sunlight can impact it.

How a Garage Door Sensor Works

Knowing how a garage door sensor works allows a homeowner to keep an eye out for any potential issues before it is too late. In most cases, a photo eye sensor will be installed on the garage door sensor. The photo eye sensors use an infrared light between two photo eyes to detect if anything, like objects, pets, or people, are blocking the garage door from closing properly and securely. The sensors are located low on each side of the garage door, and the two beams meet when they are properly connected. If something blocks the beam, the sensors set the garage doors into a reverse motion to lift, and keep the door from hitting or crushing the object. If your sensor is being blocked, either intentionally or unintentionally, this could put your garage, and the rest of your home, at a much higher risk for property damage or theft. That’s why it’s important to have a relatively uncluttered garage to avoid toys, tools, equipment and more from accidentally blocking any sensors.

Sunlight and Garage Door Sensors

Just like the sun, garage door sensors also use infrared lights. However, the infrared light from the sun is more powerful than the light of the sensors. If the light of the sun surpasses the infrared sensors light, the sensors might not be able to signal one another.

A garage door opener will not operate properly if one of the photo eye sensors is moved or damaged. The photo eye sensor for a garage door opener is typically placed approximately two inches off the ground. If one of the photo eye sensors is malfunctioning, it will begin to blink rapidly. This is why a garage door might stop closing if strong sunlight is shining on the eye of a garage door sensor. Luckily, in most cases, garage door sensors are generally placed inside the garage, so this is not a common issue.

Now that you know what can cause this, you as a homeowner can look for ways to alleviate the issue, such as the following:

Putting small pieces of cardboard, like a toilet paper tube, around the sensor will block much of the sunlight, just be sure to avoid blocking the actual sensor. However, if you’d like to go a different route, sun shields are a similar, more visually appealing choice that are made specifically for garage door sensors. This can also be accomplished with items like duct tape or anything else that can protect the sensor from the sun.

Moving the sensors further into the garage and out of the sunlight is another solution, and another possible fix is switching the sides of the sensors. One of them transmits and the other receives. Thus, switching them might fix the problem.

If after troubleshooting with these suggestions you’re still unable to fix your sensor, we recommend seeking guidance from a professional technician. This will save you time, reduce stress, protect your system, and can ultimately bring you closer to finding a solution.

Learn More About Home Safety with Brinks Home™

Garage door safety is ultimately a component of home safety. If your garage door sensor is not working properly, you could be risking not only your garage, but potentially the inside of your home, too. You can rely on these sensors to secure and protect some of your most important valuables in your garage, like a car, but you can also add additional devices in your garage to act as a good backup plan in case the worst-case scenario does occur.

At Brinks Home™, we offer home security solutions. We carry door and window sensors which can trigger an alarm when the door or window is opened. We often consider our door and window sensors to be the workhorse of any home security system. They might be small, but their multi-year battery life and sharp sensing are ready to protect and monitor the entry points in your home. 

Interested in home security products? Make sure to browse our smart home automation devices and contact Brinks Home to learn more about how they can keep your home and any outdoor structures safe.

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