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Garage Door Safety Sensors

Understanding the History and Purpose of Garage Door Safety Sensors

Garage Door Safety Sensors / May 17, 2023
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Garage doors play a significant role in our daily lives, providing convenience and security to our homes. Over the years, safety sensors have become a vital component of garage door systems, ensuring the protection of people and property.

We invite you to keep reading, as we delve into the history of safety sensors, explore how they work, and discuss their crucial purpose. Let’s explore this essential aspect of garage door safety.

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1. The Need for Safety Sensors

  • Garage door accidents were a growing concern due to the heavy weight and potential for entrapment.
  • Traditional garage doors lacked safety mechanisms, posing a risk to people, pets, and vehicles.
  • Increasing awareness and regulatory requirements led to the demand for improved safety measures.

2. Evolution of Safety Sensors

  • In the early 1990s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recognized the need for improved garage door safety.
  • The CPSC collaborated with manufacturers to develop safety standards and guidelines.
  • The result was the introduction of safety sensors as a mandatory feature in garage door systems.
  • Advancements in technology and industry collaboration further enhanced the effectiveness and reliability of safety sensors.
  • In addition to the continuous improvement of garage door safety technology, it is essential to recognize that educating children about the potential dangers associated with garage doors is a crucial aspect of accident prevention.

3. How Safety Sensors Work

  • Safety sensors consist of two main components: the transmitter and the receiver.
  • They are typically installed near the bottom of the garage door, on either side of the opening.
  • The transmitter emits an invisible beam of infrared light, which is received by the receiver.
  • When the garage door is in operation, the beam is uninterrupted. However, if an object or person breaks the beam, the sensor triggers a reversal mechanism.
  • Modern safety sensors utilize advanced detection methods, such as photoelectric sensors or laser technology, for improved accuracy and responsiveness.

4. Reversal Mechanism

  • When the safety sensor detects an obstruction, it sends a signal to the garage door opener.
  • The opener immediately initiates the door’s reversal, preventing it from closing further and potentially causing harm.
  • This mechanism significantly reduces the risk of entrapment and injury.

5. Purpose of Safety Sensors

  • Preventing Entrapment: The primary purpose of safety sensors is to protect individuals, especially children and pets, from being trapped under a closing garage door.

  • Damage Prevention: Safety sensors can also prevent damage to vehicles, bicycles, and other objects that may be in the door’s path.
  • Enhanced Security: Safety sensors act as a deterrent against unauthorized access to your property, as the door will not close if the beam is interrupted.

6. Testing and Maintenance

  • Regular Testing: It is crucial to test the functionality of safety sensors periodically.
  • Testing Procedure: Simply place an object, such as a cardboard box, in the path of the garage door during the closing process. The door should reverse upon contact.
  • Sensor Alignment: If the sensors are misaligned, they may not function correctly. Regularly check and adjust their position to ensure optimal performance.
  • Clear Obstructions: Keep the area around the sensors free from debris or obstructions to prevent false activations.
  • Routine maintenance and inspections by qualified professionals can identify and address any issues with safety sensor performance or alignment.


According to alarming statistics compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it has been found that approximately 40% of safety systems installed on garage doors fail to function correctly. In cases where these systems fail to initiate the reversal of the door, the resulting force exerted by the descending door can be powerful enough to cause severe injury or even prove fatal to a small child. These statistics highlight the critical importance of ensuring the proper functioning and regular maintenance of safety systems on garage doors to safeguard against such devastating incidents.

Disturbingly, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that every year, approximately 30,000 injuries are attributed to accidents involving garage doors. What adds to the gravity of these statistics is the fact that a significant number of these injuries involve children. This highlights the urgent need for heightened awareness, diligent safety precautions, and responsible supervision to protect our most vulnerable family members from the potential dangers associated with garage doors.

In Summary

Safety sensors have revolutionized the garage door industry, making our homes safer and more secure. With their ability to detect obstructions and trigger immediate reversals, these sensors have significantly reduced the risk of accidents and injuries. By understanding the history, purpose, and operation of safety sensors, homeowners can ensure the continued safety and reliable performance of their garage door systems.

At Overhead Door Company of Huntsville/North Alabama™, we prioritize the utmost importance of garage door safety. With our expertise in servicing and repairing all brands and components of garage doors and operators, we are committed to ensuring the well-being of our customers and the protection of their properties.

By emphasizing the significance of safety sensors and offering new doors and openers, you can be assured that your garage door system is equipped with the latest safety features for optimal security and peace of mind. Trust our team to provide exceptional service and reliable solutions for all your garage door needs. Your safety is our absolute priority. Give us a call today 256-772-3674.

Prioritizing regular maintenance and testing of safety sensors is key to a secure and worry-free garage door experience.

Call Us to Schedule Your Service

Overhead Door Company 
of Huntsville/North Alabama™
9550 Madison Blvd. 
Huntsville, AL 35758