Can You Bypass a Garage Door Sensor?

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Since the early 1990s, garage door openers have been required to include several safety mechanisms to prevent injury and property damage. Today, added sensors are used to detect objects in the path of the door closing and will not allow the garage door to shut until the objects are removed. Despite these certain protections, garage door openers and sensors can still be bypassed.

How Garage Door Sensors Work

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. If the light is blocked from anything like tape or dirt, and doesn’t run without interruption between each eye, then the sensor will not operate, and the garage door will stay open. If the area is clear, a track and pulley system lifts and lowers the garage door after you touch the remote.

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.

Bypassing Garage Door Sensors

There are several ways to bypass a garage door sensor. Potential ways include:

  • Misaligned Photo Eye Sensors

  • Walking Above the Sensor

  • Pulling Emergency Release Cord

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.

Since most photo eye sensors are placed at that two-inch height, most people know that they can simply step above the infrared light to bypass the system. The garage door will continue to close if your steps avoid the photo eye sensor.

Many people use this method when they are in a rush or don’t have the proper keys to lock the house behind them. Simple items like tape, laser pointers, and reflectors like mirrors can also be used to bypass your garage door in a similar way, so proceed with caution if you see any of these items unsuspectedly blocking or interfering with your sensor. It could be a potential intruder attempting to bypass your garage door sensor.

Disconnecting the garage door opener from the garage door will bypass the sensors. According to the home improvement website Hunker, you will need to:

“Pull the emergency release cord to disconnect the garage door from the opener. The emergency release cord attaches to a spring lock on the door trolley. Pulling down on the cord disengages the door trolley from the opener carriage.”

Repair Options for Garage Door Sensors

Unfortunately, faulty garage door sensors typically need replacement rather than repair. Otherwise, you could risk your garage door not opening or closing remotely. To keep your home protected, you will want to get this fixed as soon as possible to avoid any potential trespassing. Until the sensor is working properly, you should disconnect the unit and operate the garage door manually. In order to keep your entire home secure, it’s important to secure the garage door if a sensor fails. Unfortunately, most garage doors with openers don’t have manual locks in place, but you can find an alternative online or at your nearest hardware store.

If you’re handy, you may be able to replace the garage door opener on your own. These garage door openers are often available at most home improvement stores like Sears, Lowe’s, and Home Depot. Calling to request professional installation could be a better option for you if you have never installed a garage door opener before.

Additional Security Equipment for Your Garage

Accidents happen. Whether something is blocking the garage door sensors, or you simply forget to close it for some reason, garage doors can be a security risk. Adding additional security equipment can help protect your cars, storage, and even the inside of your home.

In addition to a smart garage door opener, some homeowners also add an indoor home security camera in their garage to keep an eye on valuables stored there. Adding a smart lock to the door entering your home can also help prevent an intruder from entering the inside of your home. Devices like door and window sensors along with any other motion sensors can help you easily be aware of any unwanted motion like trespassing, or if anyone like your teenager is sneaking out when they aren’t supposed to.

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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