Garage door sensors are an excellent way to automate your garage door. The devices are easy to install, and in most cases, you can do so without the assistance of a professional. However, even if you were to consider an expert, the installation cost doesn’t break the bank.
The garage door sensors can last for years, depending on your maintenance schedule. They require batteries, which you must also change periodically for optimal performance. However, despite their weighty importance, the sensors do not last forever.
You would want to have a rough idea of when they are due for replacement so that you do not mistake their malfunction for other factors. Read along to get the exact answer to how long do Garage door sensors last. You will also learn the associated elements to garage door sensor problems.
How long do Garage Door Sensors Last?
Garage door sensors can last between 10 to 15 years with proper maintenance. Besides, the sensors use batteries with a lifespan of between 3-5 years.
If your sensors’ batteries are dead, you need to replace them. Dead batteries can manifest in various ways. For instance, if your door won’t close all the way, that could be a sign of dead batteries that have caused the malfunction of the sensors.
When you replace your sensor battery, make sure to use top-quality batteries, preferably as instructed by the manufacturer. Routine maintenance such as cleaning, lubricating, and tightening screws can keep the sensors in good working condition and prolong their life.
How do you know When a Garage Door Sensor is Bad?
You will know your garage door sensor is bad when its green light is flashing or not illuminated. Garage door sensors illuminate a green light when working normally.
Besides, if your garage door closes after several attempts, it could signal a bad sensor. In this case, the sensors might require a replacement. If the sensors are not functioning properly, you should replace them immediately to avoid a situation where the garage door might close on something or someone and injure them.
When the garage door sensor is working perfectly, it will open and close at the press of a button on the remote. However, if there’s a problem with the sensor, the door will not open or close completely. The door will either open or close only part way, making entrance or exit difficult. It might also close partially or reverse after closing partway.
A malfunction in the sensor is a dangerous situation because it can lead to serious injuries or property damage due to a collision with the garage door. The casualties might be as severe as someone dying from being hit by the garage door. The same is true for property damage, which can cost thousands of dollars.
However, if you notice a flashing green light, you can test if the sensor is bad. Testing is pretty simple. All you need is to place a cardboard box on your garage door’s path and close the door. If the door closes on the cardboard box, the sensors are bad. The sensors are working if the door starts and stops without crashing on the object.
How Much Does a Garage Sensor Replacement Cost?
Replacing a garage door sensor is the same as replacing any other garage door part. Prices vary depending on which sensor you buy, but they are relatively inexpensive to replace.
Many sensors can cost between $50 to $100, including installation. It is advisable to have a professional replace the sensors for you because they have the necessary tools and training to ensure that it is installed and working properly.
A professional installing the sensor for you might go up to $150, including parts and labor. The complexity of the installation is determined by the type of sensor you buy and its functionality.
It will differ from a simple sensor that only detects objects to one with additional features such as motion detection, temperature and humidity sensors, and more.
Professionals can install the garage door sensor quickly and with ease.
What are the Common Causes of Garage Door Sensor Problems?
There are numerous reasons why a garage door sensor might need to be fixed. Here are a few common reasons:
The batteries transfer power from the garage door opener to the sensors to send information. It activates the electric motor that engages a track-and-pulley system that opens and closes the door.
When the battery is depleted, it can no longer function properly. It will not be able to send signals to the garage door opener, making it difficult for the sensors to work accurately.
Poor alignment of the sensors is a common problem across garage door sensors. Loose screws and poor maintenance of the sensors can cause it. Misalignment can result in the garage door not opening or closing completely, a safety hazard. Misaligned sensors will also make it hard to detect objects because it would mean that one sensor would pick up information while the other does not.
Alignment is very important for your garage door’s safety and security.
Obstruction on the Sensor Path
Objects obstructing the sensors’ path can also make them malfunction. It sometimes happens that there are long objects, such as extension cords, on top of garage door sensors. Objects such as these can block the signals from reaching the sensor and harm the accuracy of the sensor and its functionality.
The obstruction of the path is a serious problem because it can lead to injuries and property damage. An object struck by the garage door can cause severe trauma or death.
Wear and Tear
Garage door sensors gradually wear down with time. They sometimes become worn out after a few years of use. This condition makes them unreliable because the signals used to be stronger. If the garage door sensor is not functioning properly, it will not detect things accurately, which will cause accidents in the house and garage.
Additionally, wear and tear can lead to other problems, such as broken tracks or cables that are crucial for the proper functioning of the opener.
Dirty Sensor Lenses
Dirty sensor lenses can also make it difficult for garage door sensors to detect objects. Dirt, dust, and grime may accumulate on the lenses over time, making them dull, cloudy, or dirty, affecting the sensors’ performance and resulting in a malfunction.
The sensors will have difficulty detecting the object, making opening and closing the door difficult. It is necessary to clean the sensor lenses to restore their functionality.
Exposure to Extreme Weather Conditions
Exposure to extreme temperatures can damage the sensors. Heat and cold temperatures can make the sensors lose their accuracy and functionality.
Sunlight rays can course obstruction into the sensor lenses. It can cause the lenses to be cloudy or damaged. Wind may introduce foreign objects into the sensor path, which can affect the accuracy of signals.
Exposure to Moisture
The sensors can absorb water and cause corrosion and rust, whether from condensation or rain. The functions of the sensors will become erratic, and the signals may not reach the receiver.
The rust can build up on the wire, causing it to break, rendering it useless and requiring replacement. Excessive exposure to moisture can cause rusting and corrosion of metallic structures within the sensor.
Common Winter Time Garage Door Problems
During winter, the cold temperatures outside can cause the garage door to contract, making it difficult to open and close. The cold weather can also cause the garage door to ram into the garage walls, causing damage to the structure and making it hard for you to use the garage door.
If the garage door is not properly insulated, the cold temperatures can seep into the garage area and cause the sensor wiring and electric components to freeze. This can cause an electrical fire or the suspension to degrade over time.
Here are some common winter garage door problems to look out for:
Metal materials can contract and expand depending on the weather conditions or temperature of exposure, and your garage door is not an exception. During the cold weather, your metal garage door can contract or warp, which will restrict its movement and cause your door to malfunction. This can include metal door parts like hinges, springs, and rollers.
As a potential solution to the problem, you can lubricate the different metal parts of your door, the hinges, rollers, and springs to withstand the cold. Doors that are not properly lubricated can become jammed.
Also, the accumulation of dirt, rust can cause it, and grime on the door’s mechanical components result in poor performance of the garage door. The lubrication will be necessary to keep the door running smoothly. Also, you must perform regular maintenance during the cold season.
It is common to hear the garage door rattle on a cold winter day. The rattle can be caused by ice built up in the garage door, restricting movement and making it difficult for you to open or close.
The ice causes the door opener to be unable to fully engage, resulting in the door closing or latching with difficulty. Some doors have rollers present in them, which can make them change their position when they freeze.
On the brighter side, this problem is always easy to determine and resolve. Inspect the door if there is ice built up on the bottom of the door. You can apply any heat source or a hairdryer to melt the ice and dry it out, preventing freezing. You should, however, moderate the heating to ensure you do not damage the metallic parts that can also expand and cause problems with the opening and closing of the garage door.
Lubrication is an imperative maintenance practice to enhance the door’s longevity and opening and closing efficiency. However, in certain situations, the lubricants can work under high temperatures to improve their effectiveness in high-powered machines. As a result, lubricants such as Greece are perfect for equipment during the summer.
When winter comes, the Greece lubricant will not perform optimally as the low temperatures may make them thick or hardened. Poor lubrication can cause wear and tear between the moving parts of your garage door and cause damages and operational inefficiencies.
As a remedial practice, always check your garage door’s rollers, hinges, and tracks for any hardened Greece and replace them with lubricants that can withstand cold winter temperatures, such as silicon-based lubricants.
The spring system is responsible for holding the garage door in place. During winter, the temperature will drop below freezing, which can cause the springs to contract and become brittle, making the door difficult to open.
Your garage door springs can break in the winter due to the pressure and added tension in the chilly weather.
If the spring breaks, then it will not be able to work effectively, and the door can fall uncontrollably. If the door falls on you, this will leave you vulnerable to accidents and injuries.
As a result, always inspect your garage door springs before the winter starts as broken springs are not only a danger to you and your family members but also costly to replace.
Replacing your garage door springs demands that you call a professional expert who will take extra bucks from your pocket. Do not attempt to do the replacements by yourself.
Your garage door has an electric motor that moves it up and down. The motor may malfunction due to frost and cause the door to stop working. The door’s movement may cause ice to build up on the gears, bearings, and other parts.
If you encounter this problem, you might need a professional to remove the motor and clean it to function better.
Damaged Weather Stripping
Even though the destroyed weather stripping will not immediately impact the operation of your garage door, the practice has an inherent problem with your safety and that of your equipment in the garage space.
The weather-stripping within the edge of your garage door may remove the cold air from your garage space and let the outside temperatures and water get into your home and resulting in severe injuries and other inconveniences in the garage.
At this point, it would be wise to replace the weather-stripping.
How do I Reset my Garage Door Sensors?
Sensors present a perfect solution for automating your garage doors. The sensors control your garage door’s opening and closing mechanism and will stop the door’s action when an object, pet, or even crawling child is in the door’s path.
However, over time, your garage door can start reversing or fail to open or close for no reason. In other cases, the garage door may produce flashing lights on the wall panel, which indicates something is not right. In most instances, these issues may be associated with problems with the garage door sensors.
For instance, when your garage door won’t close or produces a flashing light, it could be due to a power outage, broken springs, broken cables, misaligned sensors, or malfunctioning the door opener.
If the problem lies with the sensors, it would be a perfect time to reset them, especially when the sensors have not exceeded their lifespan, always between 10 to 15 years.
Below are various approaches to take to reset your garage door sensors.
Loosen the nut and position the sensors correctly
Your sensor mechanism may fail to work efficiently when they are out of alignment. One way to determine the correct functioning of your sensors is through the lights they emanate. One sensor should produce a steady green light while the other a steady yellow light.
You can align the sensors by loosening the nut and exposing one of the sensors. Once aligned, you can tighten the nut and move on to the next sensor.
If, for example, you have seen a red light blinking, there is a huge possibility that your sensors are out of alignment and not communicating or seeing each other. You can reset the sensors through alignment.
Align the sensors by loosening the nut and exposing one of the sensors. Ensure each sensor is on the same length from the ground, say 6 inches. You can use a tape measure or level string to align the sensors.
You can confirm if you have fixed the alignment issue once the green and yellow light is steadied or by placing cardboard on the door path and attempting to close it. The sensors are correctly aligned or reset if it stops without crashing the cardboard material.
Check the Wires
Wiring harnesses may become disconnected after heavy rains. You can check the wires to ensure they are connected correctly and securely. You can also wiggle the wires to ensure they are not damaged.
If you find the ways broken or damaged, replace them. You can call an electrician or expert to help you with reconnection.
Clean the Photo-Eye
Sometimes, the problem with your malfunctioning garage door sensor may be dirty lenses. The sensors can accumulate dust, dirt and other forms of debris since they are only a few inches off the ground.
The dust and moisture always obstruct the sensors from receiving or emitting the light beam. Check the lenses or photo-eye for dirt, and use a clean, soft cloth to wipe them. Ensure you do the cleaning gently, not to scratch the lenses. This will help restore normalcy in the operation of your garage doors.
A video showing how to replace the garage door sensors
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs
Q1. Does cold weather affect garage door sensors?
Yes. The cold weather can make the sensors dull and cloudy due to condensation. As a result, the sensors may fail to detect obstructions in your garage door’s path, crashing on the objects or causing injuries to individuals.
You will need to wipe off the sensors using a clean, soft cloth to eliminate the water condensing on the lens’s surface, and the garage door will assume its normalcy.
Q2. Is it better to keep a garage door open or closed to keep it cool?
It is better to keep the garage door open. Leaving the door open will allow for a breeze to enter the garage. It also provides ventilation, which keeps the garage cool.
Q3. Do garage door sensors wear out?
Yes, the sensors can wear out over time. Constant usage and environmental factors can cause the sensors to wear and tear. They can break down faster if you don’t perform maintenance on them.
Q4. Is there a battery in the garage door sensor?
Yes. Sensors have a 3v disc-shaped battery that lasts between 3 and 5 years before you can replace them. However, you can also replace them due to damages caused by varying weather conditions.
Q5. Can I replace my garage door sensors with any brand?
No. Garage door sensors are designed and manufactured for a specific door brand. You can only use other brands if the sensor comes from the same company as your garage door.
Q6. What happens when the garage door battery dies?
When the battery dies, you cannot open or close the door. You will have to remove the dead battery and insert a new one.
Garage door sensors play an essential role in the garage door system. They allow you to control and monitor the garage door and keep it working correctly. Sensor failure can be a big issue if not detected early. It can cause accidents and injuries as it causes a malfunction of the door.
It is best to check if the sensor is working when you notice something is wrong with your garage door. With proper preventive measures, your garage door sensors will stay in good shape for years.