While convenient, garage doors present a safety hazard if not properly equipped and maintained. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of people are injured each year by accidental garage door closures. Many of these incidents involve children or pets walking under a closing door.
If your garage door opener was installed prior to the 2010s, it likely lacks an important safety feature – photo sensors. These infrared beams detect objects below the door and signal the opener to stop and reverse mid-close if anything passes through. By upgrading to a modern opener with sensors, you significantly reduce the risk of injury from accidental entrapments.
How Photo Sensors Work
Photo sensors consist of an infrared transmitter mounted on one garage door panel and a receiver on the other. As the door closes, the beams create an invisible “light screen” across the entry. If anything breaks the light beam, a signal is sent to the opener’s logic board to immediately stop and reverse the door.
Installation is Simple
Replacing an older opener with a new safety-focused model is a straightforward DIY project for most homeowners. Disconnect power to the old unit, detach it from the door, then mount and wire the new opener according to instructions. The sensors simply need to be positioned correctly on each side of the door, about 4-6 inches above the floor. Garage door opener repair companies in Suffolk can also install new openers professionally if desired.
Upgrade is Worth the Investment
While photo sensors were not required on older openers, they should now be considered a minimum safety standard, just like smoke detectors. The initial cost of a new opener is easily offset by the peace of mind in preventing accidents. And since sensors can detect pets and children even if they try to crawl under a closing door, they provide an extra layer of protection beyond physical barriers alone.
Adjust Sensitivity if Needed
Modern openers allow you to fine-tune how sensitive the sensors are using a dial or programming mode. Adjust this based on your specific needs – a busier household with kids and pets may need a more reactive setting. And always make sure trees or other obstructions don’t interfere with the sensor beams.
Other Safety Features
Look for openers with other convenient safety features as well, such as easy-to-reach emergency release cords, keypads to open doors without transmitters, and maximum force settings to prevent injuries. Contact switches on the door can also stop it if pulled downward during closure. The small investment in upgraded safety pays off in peace of mind.
By taking the simple step of installing photo sensors, you give your family an important safeguard against accidental garage door entrapments and injuries. Don’t wait until an incident occurs – make safety a priority by upgrading an older opener today. Your loved ones will thank you for taking proactive steps to protect them in and around the home.