Press a button and your garage door opens like that. It seems simple enough, right? Well, you may be surprised to know that behind every basic garage door open or close function are various complex sensors, which use infrared lighting and other technical components to tell your door exactly what to do and when to do it.

There are four basic types of garage door sensors: safety sensors, pressure sensors, monitoring sensors and CO2 sensors. Each has its own unique purpose and functionality, though they’re all largely engineered to promote safety in one way or another. Let’s look at each sensor by type:

Safety Sensors
Typically affixed to rails on either side of your garage door, safety sensors are designed to keep your door from closing on people, pets, your car, lawnmowers, bikes—you name it. These use infrared beams, connecting from one sensor to the other, to monitor the area under your garage door. If an object obstructs the beams’ path, your door will come to an immediate halt and reverse direction to protect that object from being crushed. These sensors can detect objects that are still, as well as others that may suddenly enter and obstruct the path of the beams.

Pressure Sensors
Pressure sensors are usually installed on the very bottom edge of a garage door, and will stop and reverse the door’s downward closing motion when it comes in direct contact with an object. These sensors are designed to register low amounts of pressure, and provide another safeguard against your door unintentionally closing on top of a person or object.

Monitoring Sensors
Intended for homes with several different garage doors, monitoring sensors are engineered to alert owners when any of their doors is open via receivers that go inside the home. More intricate sensors can be programmed to automatically close an open garage door after a certain period of time. Open garage doors make your house more vulnerable to intruders, so these monitoring devices are often used as an extra safety measure to protect your home.

CO2 Sensors
Using some of the more advanced sensor technology, these CO2-detecting devices constantly measure the levels of CO2 in your garage, and will prompt your garage door to open if toxins reach dangerous levels. These aren’t as common, though they can certainly help keep you and loved ones safe as you travel in and out of your garage.

Sensors are not only critical to your garage door’s functionality, they’re also critical to keeping you and your family safe when using your home garage. If you live in the Raleigh area and suspect your sensors may be faulty, causing your garage door to malfunction, call Garage Door Specialists for help. Our experts can help identify the problem, and will handle your repair safely and as quickly as possible to save you added inconvenience.