Sun in your “Eyes”. Garage door sensors.

Very deserving. Donald Hester is one of the most graphic and thorough home inspectors I know and always shares such detailed information with myriad photos, graphs, charts, etc. He's a member of my MANUFACTURED HOME SALES AND LENDING INDUSTRY and I'm happy to share his contributions anytime.


Sun in your “Eyes”. Garage door sensors.

East Wenatchee Home Inspections

Garage door photo eyes or sensors (Safe-T-Beam) are an important safety device and they need to work properly. The requirement for these safety devices was to reduce the number of deaths to children who become entrapped under garage doors with automatic openers. So in 1993 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) required that all garage doors to be equipped with an external entrapment protection device. These devices are typically an "electric eye/photo eye" which sees an object obstructing the door without actual contact with the object but it could be a door edge sensor.

Door edge sensor

So now you have this “Photo Eye”  and then something goes wrong and the door will not go down. These safety reversing sensors (photo eyes) must be properly aligned and connected before the garage door opener will move in the down direction.  Typically issues with the safety sensor is either poor alignment or wiring issues such as a poor connection, incorrectly connected wires, or a short in the wire such as from a staple.

On several home inspections I have found photo eyes in some strange places.



No issues here...right?

But what if those other condition are not the problem?  There could be another culprit in the mist… “The Sun”. Direct sunlight creates interference with the sensors and may keep them from working properly. The “Receiving Sensor” should mounted on the side of the garage door opening that receives the least amount of direct sunlight.

Here was one way a homeowner dealt with issues with the sun, he moved the sensor on the rail to the end of the track. Yeah that won’t meet the requirements.


So if the problem seems to occur only during the daytime, check to make sure the receiving eye is not in direct sunlight.  If this is the case, remount or adjust sensor back toward the side of the garage to see if that will correct the issue.

From Genie-


Direct sunlight creates interference with Safe-T-Beam.

Receiver (Green LED). STB modules can be positioned further away from the door opening if necessary to avoid sunlight but no further to the wall to maintain alignment with the Transmitter (Red LED) module.


Sunshield from Liftmaster


If you are still having problems you may look to buy or create a sunshield. Some of the manufacturers actually have them for their devices. You can easily create own with some common household items.


Here is a link to create your own sunshield.

So if you find the sensor light is being blinded by the light a few corrective measures should correct this condition. Never remove these devices from the the area where they should be installed.

“The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most,

but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.”






NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  


Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College                                                   509-670-9572

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John DL Arenden, Broker 

TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments

TAG (The Arendsen Group) Real Estate Sales & Investments is a full service, one-stop, turnkey, family owned and operated real estate brokerage, General Contractor, Manufactured Home Contractor, Developer, Investor, Property Manager, Interior Design, Engineering, architectural, Landscape design, Expert Witness, Consulting, Curative Title and Troubleshooting company with over 100 years of combined experience in the San Diego real estate sales, construction, design & development arena.





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Comment balloon 6 commentsJohn DL Arendsen • November 20 2016 11:20AM
Sun in your “Eyes”. Garage door sensors.
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