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How to Troubleshoot & Repair a Garage Photo Eye

03/4/2019
How-to-Troubleshoot-&-Repair-a-Garage-Photo-Eye

Most people think the most common garage door repair problems are related to the door itself. Is it off balance? Does it need a new chain? Are the cables worn out? And certainly our garage door technicians are sent on a good number of these repair calls. But the most common reason we get called to a home is not what you’d expect. It’s the photo eyes — those small infrared discs at the bottom of the door that prevent the door from hitting something it shouldn’t.

What is a Photo Eye?

Any door manufactured after 1993 will have them. If yours doesn’t, you should have some installed. It’s that critical of a safety precaution.

The photo eyes send an infrared signal across your garage door. When that signal gets blocked, say from a running child, a pet, or a bike that’s in the way, the door automatically reverses itself. Photo eyes guard against injury — to your children, pets, equipment, as well as the door itself.

Though photo eyes tend to be one of our most common housecalls, they are super easy to fix. We’re happy to help, but this repair is as DIY as they come. They aren’t like garage door springs or cables that are dangerous to fix.

Adjusting Alignment

First, you have to make sure the photo eyes are properly aligned. Sometimes an eye will become detached or out of alignment. Check to make sure each is at the other’s polar opposite.

You can usually tell which eye has moved by the dirt ring — like a suntan around your shirt collar.

Other Photo Eye Issues

Sometimes the eye gets smudged or dirty. Clean it off with a wet soapy rag.

Sometimes a photo eye problem is caused by a faulty wire or connection. In this case, you will probably need to call a professional. Try to troubleshoot the problem yourself. If that doesn’t work, we’re always happy to come take a look. We provide complete garage repair services to families in the Sacramento area.

Torsion Spring vs Extension Spring — What’s the Best Value?

Unlike extension springs, torsion springs don’t fully expand when you work the garage door. Torsion springs turn. Extension springs fully expand and contract as the door operates. One main advantage to a torsion spring is it tends to last longer — about 15,000 and 20,000 cycles, compared to 10,000 for extension springs. They do cost more, but the investment is worth it, providing you don’t plan to get a new door before it wears out. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money on a more expensive spring. The bottom line is if you are planning on replacing your door in the next few years but need a new spring, an extension spring will be cheaper. But if you plan on not getting a new door for at least 10 years, a torsion spring will deliver more value for the money because it will last longer.

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