Q: I’m having a problem with my garage door opener. After leaving the house, I noticed the garage door did not close. I tried several times, but the door only moved slightly but would not close. I had to go into the garage and release the door opener and then lock the door. Do I need a new opener?

A: An automatic garage door opener has two devices to protect you and your automobile from harm should the door accidentally close when you are under it. Your problem may be that the photocells are out of adjustment keeping the door from closing.

There are two photocells located near the bottom of the door’s track; one on either side of the door. If the beam from the photocell is blocked, the door will not close. Similarly, if one of the photocells has been moved, the light beam will be off and the door will not close. There should be a colored light on the surface of each beam to let you know the beam is properly adjusted. If one of the adjustment lights is off or is blinking, you can adjust the cell by moving it with your hand until the light is on and steady and stops blinking. This is an easy DIY, but you may have to call a garage door company if the adjustment does not solve your problem.

Another problem could be the door closer motor sensor. There are two adjustments on the door opener motor. One is an adjustment for the opening force of the door, and the other if for the closing force of the door. Find the closing force adjustment and turn the screw a quarter turn at a time until the door closes and stays closed.

This may take some time to adjust accurately. Once the door stays closed, open the door and then lower it again trying to stop the door from closing by grasping the bottom rail with your hand.

If the door does not automatically stop and open up, you need to adjust the closing force until you can stop the door. Sounds easy, but sometimes it takes several attempts to get the adjustment just right.

C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, Ind. 47702 or e-mail him at [email protected].

By C. Dwight Barnett, Tribune News Service (TNS)