Finding ways to save money when maintaining your home isn't always easy. For example, do you want to try using old sensors with a new garage door opener but don't know if that's a good idea? Will you using an older sensor with a new opener negatively impact the function of your garage?
Luckily, we've done plenty of searching and have the answer below!
Although you can use old sensors with a new garage door opener, doing this isn't the best idea. Generally, old sensors will wear out much faster than your new garage door opener, meaning they'll constantly be aging at different speeds.
On top of that, you could void the warranty on your garage door opener or sensors by not purchasing them together, so that's something to consider.
As we start this article, we will cover all things garage door sensors and openers. Whether you need a new sensor or opener or want to learn more about your garage's mechanics, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
Can You Use Old Sensors With New Garage Door Opener?
Yes, you can usually use old sensors with a new garage door opener. However, doing this can put your garage on an uneven aging timeline, meaning replacements for your parts at different times.
Generally, homeowners try and have their garage sensor and opener on the same schedule. For example, if they both promise to last around 10 years and you buy and install them at the same time, they'll likely need to be replaced around the same period in a decade.
In contrast, purchasing a new garage door opener when your existing sensors are still working and compatible can make replacing them unpredictable.
Furthermore, not all garage door openers and sensors will be compatible. Many will be able to work together, but if you buy your sensors from one brand and the door opener from another, the two may be unable to connect.
According to experts, not all garage door openers are sensors are universal. So, if you were to replace one and not the other, ignoring the brand, this could be a waste of money.
Try and replace yours at the same time, and go through the same brand if possible.
Are Garage Door Sensors Interchangeable?
Most times, yes, garage door sensors will be interchangeable. A few major brands usually manufacture sensors for the garage, all following a similar connection and compatibility with openers, etc.
As we said, many sensors and garage door openers will come from the same brand. Therefore, replacing one or the other will be pretty simple.
That can apply to replacing a door opener and keeping your existing sensors as long as they're in working condition. According to Dlouhy Doors, garage door sensors are typically a universal feature that may be compatible with different garage door openers.
Again, you may need to test your new opener and the existing sensors to see if this proves true, but you should be fine most times.
One brand that focuses on interchangeable garage door sensors and openers is the Chamberlain Group. They make garage door openers that can pair with any sensors made by their daughter companies, including:
So, if you need to replace your door opener but not your sensors—or vice versa—we recommend shopping through these brands. It will make your replacement easier, and you can be assured the two components will be compatible.
It's also a good idea to have a professional install your new opener or sensors, as they'll be able to tell you if everything works together and is safe. Any time electricity is involved, you want to leave it to someone with expert knowledge.
What Do Garage Door Sensors Do?
The main purpose of a garage door sensor is to create an invisible line across your garage door. There are two sensors for a garage door—one on either side.
They work together to create an invisible line or border for your door, to protect it from anything in the way. For example, if a person is standing where the garage door closes, these sensors will pick up a blockage, stopping the door from closing.
The same applies to a pet, wild animal, box, or anything that intrudes on your garage door's function. Thanks to the sensors that come with a garage door, countless people have avoided severe injury.
These sensors are also always six inches above the ground, so leaves and other tiny debris don't affect the operation of your door. If the sensors encounter a problem, you should notice a blinking start to occur.
Consider this a safety feature for the garage door, both for you and for the door. Additionally, the garage door sensors use an infrared radio signal, which activates the electric motor once you use your garage door opener.
These two components are closely related, meaning one depends on the other to function. That's why replacing them at different times can cause a headache when one dies first.
Again, that's not to say a similar issue could happen even if you have your sensors and garage opener on the same replacement schedule, but it is less likely.
Will A Garage Door Work Without Sensors?
No. Unfortunately, your garage door will not work correctly if your garage sensors die. Because the sensors for your garage essentially "see" for it, they are a crucial component in its operation.
On top of that, if the sensors are misaligned, the lens is dirty, or the wiring isn't 100% correct, your garage opener won't allow the door to open or close.
It will think there's something in the way, essentially preventing any movement from the door. Of course, you could pull the door up and down until it's fixed, but that can be strenuous.
This is a safety feature that all garages will have, so you need to schedule a repair in the event your sensors stop working. Even if your garage door opener is brand new, having older sensors can deem them both unusable.
If one doesn't work properly, neither will the other.
How Does A Garage Opener Connect To Sensors?
Generally, the opener for your garage will connect to its sensors through an infrared radio signal.
For example, each time you press the garage door opener button on your opener or the wall inside your garage, that triggers the sensors to send an electrical signal to the electric motor of your door.
As mentioned, these sensors are the first trigger for your door, telling it the coast is clear to open and close. Moreover, the electric motor works with a track-and-pulley system, which opens or closes your garage door.
There should also be a light that turns on when you click the garage door opener button, which automatically powers on and off. All of this works through radio signals and electricity.
Installing these is a bit trickier, so we recommend hiring a professional. Luckily, most garage door companies offer this install service with the purchase of a door, so keep that in mind.
The last thing you want to do is to incorrectly install these components and void their warranty.
How Long Should Garage Door Sensors Last?
Although this varies by brand, garage door sensors should last around five years. Typically, the sensors in your garage will be operated by a battery, which dies after 3-5 years of use.
Of course, this may be longer or shorter depending on how frequently you use the garage. For example, someone opening and closing their garage door 3+ times daily will experience dying sensors far more often than someone who only drives a few times weekly.
You also want to remember that sometimes your sensor may only need a new battery, not a complete replacement. Your sensor could last 10+ years if you change the battery when needed.
In addition, your sensors may last longer if they aren't exposed to the elements. One common mistake homeowners make by leaving their garage door open in inclement weather, causing the sensors to get wet or damaged by debris.
A good rule of thumb to preserve the sensors for your garage door is to keep it closed when you aren't actively using it. Your garage door opener depends on the sensors to work, so keeping them in good shape is critical.
How Long Does A Garage Opener Last?
A garage door opener should last between 10 and 15 years on average. That said, your garage door opener will stay usable longer if you take good care of it.
Since the opener to your garage is mainly on a button/controller, you can keep it in your car or attach it to your keys. One of the main points to keeping a garage door opener working is not leaving it exposed to the weather.
Like the sensors on your garage, the opener also needs to stay dry. You don't want to be rough with the garage opener, as this can break it.
If you follow all these care tips, your opener (and sensors) should last a decade without significant electrical issues.
To Wrap It Up
Whether it's time for new garage door sensors or an opener, keeping them on a similar replacement schedule is always good. We found that you can use old sensors with a new opener if they're compatible.
An easy way to ensure this is by shopping through the same or similar brand, making the two interchangeable. However, if possible, try and replace your sensors and garage door opener at the same time to keep everything operating together.
Remember, the sensors of your garage allow the opener to trigger the motor and lift or close the door, so when one fails, they all do.
Made it this far? Check out these related reads!
How To Open Garage Door Manually From Outside?
How To Install A Garage Door In A Cinder Block Wall