How to Bypass Garage Door Sensors
Your garage door sensor is an important safety mechanism used to prevent the door from closing on someone. In most homes, your garage door is the largest moving piece of machinery, so the sensors are essential for the safety of you, your family, and your home.
That said, knowing how to bypass garage door sensors has a time and a place. When there’s a malfunction, or you need to control the door manually, you need to know how to bypass the sensors.
This guide will teach you everything from A to Z that you need to know about disabling or bypassing garage door sensors.
- Understanding Garage Door Sensors
- Bypassing Garage Door Sensors
- Move Them out of Alignment
- Walk Over them
- Cover Them
- Pull The Emergency Cord
- Switch to Manual Mode
- Close the Door
- Brace the Door
- Pull the Manual Release Cord
- Remove the Obstruction
- Disengage the Sensors
- Cut off the Power
- Remove the Sensors
- Cut the Wires
- Connecting New Wires
- Q: How do you open a garage door without power?
- Q: I keep trying to close the door, but it opens, why?
- Q: How often do you change garage door sensors?
Understanding Garage Door Sensors
In 1993, the United States made it a legal requirement for all manufactured garage doors to come with sensors.
The photo-eye sensor sends infrared rays to the sensor on the other side of the door. When something obstructs the ray, the sensor will prevent the door from closing. This process happens in one of two ways.
- The door jams immediately and won’t move until the obstruction is gone and you reset the door
- The door will reverse upwards and come to a complete stop
While this is an important safety feature, there are some situations where you will need to know how to bypass garage door sensors.
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Bypassing Garage Door Sensors
If you’re not trying to remove or permanently change the sensors, you can bypass them. Bypassing the sensors is simple and doesn’t include any involved repairs or changes to your garage door opening system.
Move Them out of Alignment
The simplest way to bypass a sensor is to knock it out of place. The only way they work is when both sensors are perfectly aligned. When one sensor is pushed out of the way, you’ll be able to walk right through.
Walk Over them
Since the sensors are so low to the ground, you can step right over them. Of course, this is only recommended if necessary and make sure to be as quick as possible. Many people do this when they need to shut the door from the inside.
There are a few ways you can cover the sensors. Rubbing something like shaving cream or mayonnaise on the lens will temporarily disable them without leaving any permanent obstruction.
Pull The Emergency Cord
All garage door openers should come with an emergency release cord. It’s a red cord that hangs down right near the motor. If you pull on it, you’ll be able to control the door manually using the pulley system.
You may also be interested in: Our guide to the best outdoor extension cords
Switch to Manual Mode
If you’re looking for another way to bypass the garage door sensors temporarily, here are a few steps to make that happen.
Close the Door
Before switching the door to manual mode, you need to make sure it’s firmly closed. You don’t want to release the control mechanism of the belt when the door is open. If you do this, it can slam the door causing damage to the garage door or hurting someone nearby.
Brace the Door
If you want to switch to manual mode, but you’re worried about the door slamming, go ahead and brace it using a wooden support, chair, bucket, or something similar. This also works if you need to get in and out of the door when the motor isn’t working.
Make sure that the object you use is strong enough to carry the weight of the door and that an accidental slamming won’t break whatever object you choose.
Pull the Manual Release Cord
If you’ve either shut or controlled the door, you can now pull the manual release, disconnecting the door from the automatic system. Doing this will allow you to use the manual pulley system to open and close the door.
Remove the Obstruction
When you’re ready, you can then remove whatever you used to prop the door open and shut the door carefully using the manual system. Do not go under the garage door to remove the obstruction, stay out of the way in case the door slams.
Disengage the Sensors
If you’re dealing with faulty or broken sensors, you might want to remove them altogether. Let’s go over a few ways to accomplish that.
Cut off the Power
Garage door sensors are powered by electricity, so by removing the power source, you’ll disengage the sensors, and they will no longer work.
Remove the Sensors
Once you’ve killed the power, you can get rid of the sensors. Unscrew whatever is securing them to the rails. Most are very easy to remove.
Cut the Wires
Now you have the sensors in hand, but the wires are still attached. You’ll want to use a set of wire cutters and strip the wires about an inch from the sensor box to give yourself some space to work.
Connecting New Wires
Make sure that they are pointed in the right direction and operating correctly before enabling the automatic door opener.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding garage door opener sensors.
Q: How do you open a garage door without power?
A: You need to pull the emergency cord. Every garage door offers a manual system that allows you to open and close the door using a manual pulley.
Q: I keep trying to close the door, but it opens, why?
A: If the door keeps opening back up, it means there is an obstruction. Sometimes it can be dirt particles in the air tripping the sensors.
Q: How often do you change garage door sensors?
A: If you feel that they’re not operating properly, that’s when it’s time to change them. In some cases, the sensors will last longer than the doors themselves. There is no definitive measure of time to change garage door sensors.