Is My Garage Door Safe?

Posted on: 19 March 2015

Modern automatic garage doors manufactured after January 1, 1993 are required to come equipped with an automatic reverse function and a photo lens. These convenient and important safety features can prevent terrible injuries and even deaths. Here's how the features work:

  • Automatic reverse function. When an object is laying in the path of the garage door, the garage door will stop closing if it touches that object. After a moment's pause, the door will reverse course and then open again.
  • Photo eye lens. Objects that dart through the path of the closing door will cause the closing door to re-open automatically, provided that the object breaks the beam of the photo eye lens.

Testing Your Door's Safety Features

To ensure that your garage door's safety features are operating properly, test your door on a monthly basis. To do this, begin by testing the automatic reverse function. Place a brick or a 2x4 in the path of the doorway and push the manual button to close the door. If the automatic reverse function is working properly, the door will close until it encounters the object you placed in its path. When it reaches the object, the door will reverse course and begin to open again. 

Next you'll test the photo eye lens. To do this, you'll need a long handled broom. Push the button to close the door. Next, wave the handle of the broom in the doorway, breaking the beam of the photo eye lens. If you're not sure where the lens is, look for it on either side of the garage door opening, near the ground. When the long-handled broom breaks the beam of the photo lens, the door should reverse course and open again. 

If the Safety Features Don't Work

If the photo eye lens doesn't work, this could be an indication that the photo lens is smudged with dirt (a common problem in garages), or that the lenses have become slightly misaligned. You may attempt to fix the problem by wiping off the lens and readjusting the pieces so they line up perfectly.

In the event that this doesn't work, your photo eye lens may require a more serious repair. If the automatic reverse function isn't working, it's possible that your door needs to be recalibrated.  

These safety features keep you, your children and your pets safe from harm. If these safety features are broken, it's time to call a garage door repair company.

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