A mechanical garage door is a convenient way for a vehicle to enter and exit the home. Couple that with sensors and it becomes a work of modern innovation. A garage door sensor is more of a safety feature than anything.

The secret to the definition is in the word. A garage door sensor makes itself useful by sensing when an object is near the ground where the door comes down. This is supposed to prevent the door from shutting on any person, animal, or object.

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    There may be times when a garage door sensor is negatively affected by something external. Is sunlight one of these things? To answer that, it’s first important to know how a garage door sensor works.

    How a Garage Door Sensor Works

    Knowing how a garage door sensor works allows a homeowner to be watchful for what might affect it. DoItYourself has a wonderful explanation:

    “When the device detects any person or object in the path of a closing garage door, it signals the motor to stop the downward action and switch the motion into reverse to stop the obstacle being crushed. The sensors are located low on each side of the garage door, and the 2 beams meet performing a connection. Should something block the beam, they set the garage doors into a reverse motion to keep the door from hitting or crushing the object.”

    This explanation shows exactly why a garage door sensor is primarily a safety feature. Cars would likely be one of the most damaged objects without a sensor. Some types of garage doors might even be damaged due to the door trying to continue closing if an object blocks the path of closing.

    Sunlight and Garage Door Sensors

    Garage door sensors use infrared light. The sun also carries infrared light which is more powerful than the light of the sensors. Automated Garage Door Systems explains why this happens:

    “When the lumens of light from the sun surpass that of the infrared sensor light, the sensors are not able to signal one another.”

    This is why a garage door might stop closing if strong sunlight is shining on the eye of a garage door sensor. So the answer to the question is yes. Sunlight can affect a garage door sensor. Now that it’s understood why this happens, homeowners can look for ways to alleviate the issue.

    A close up of a white garage door sensor installed at the corner of a grey garage.

    Tips and Tricks

    There are a few different methods for fixing this particular sensor problem. Here are four:

    • Cutout cardboard and secure it around the sensors
    • Purchase sun shields that attach to the sensors
    • Move the sensors into the garage and out of the sun
    • Switch sides the sides of the sensors

    Putting cardboard, like a toilet paper tube,  around the sensor will block much of the sunlight. But avoid blocking the actual sensor part with it. Sun shields are a similar, more visually-appealing option. They are made specifically for garage door sensors.

    Moving the sensors further into the garage and out of the sunlight is a common sense solution. Another possible fix is switching the sides of the sensors. One of them transmits and the other receives. 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, and can ultimately bring you closer to finding a solution.

    Unfortunately, in more serious cases, you just may have a faulty sensor on your hands that needs replacing.

    Garage Door Sensor - garage-door-sensor

    Find Our More About Home Safety with Protect America

    Garage door safety is a component of home safety. You rely on these to secure and protect some of your most important valuables, like a car.

    At Protect America, 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 5-year battery life and sharp sensing are ready to protect and monitor the entry points in your home. Contact us to learn more about our home security solutions. You’ll also receive a free quote on any product you’re interested in.