Garage door openers work by using pulleys or chains to lift the garage doors up and into the ceiling of the garage. Many of them are quieter than the older style door openers because they do not have a chain. They have a motor and gears and a track. Some use a belt and some have a screw which allows them to continuously move. There are pros and cons to each type of drive mechanisms. They include:
There is also a direct drive opener, which is quiet. It uses the motor as a trolley and it travels along the track. This movement requires very little maintenance and therefore it is kind of preferred over other types of door openers.
Features to Look for When Choosing a Garage Door Opener
When you first decide that you are ready to upgrade your door opener, you first need to decide which one you want to use and the price that you can afford to spend on it. You will also need to know if you need a single or a double opener, because some may work better for single doors than they do for double garage doors. This is usually easy since it depends on whether you have a single garage, a double car garage, or larger.
The horsepower of the garage door opener will also matter to some extent. Most are going to range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 horsepower. A sectional double car garage can often use the smallest HP, but you may want to increase the HP if you have a large door for two cars. You may also want to go a little higher if you want to avoid having the motor wear out quickly.
Which features do you want with your garage door opener? There are remotes, keychain fobs, wall mounted buttons, and even keypads for some doors. A lot of them also have a manual release for times when the power is out, or you have a remote with a dead battery.
Some of the increased security features of a new garage door opener is a light that turns on when you push the button on your remote or the keypad and having a code that changes every time you use the remote. The light will automatically turn off after a short time. Older style garage door openers would use the same codes everytime that it opened. This could allow someone to figure out the code transmissions that were coming from your door opener and find the signal. This would allow them to break into your home. The new transmissions make this virtually impossible. A lot of these features were not available until around 1993. Therefore, if you have a garage door opener installed that is possibly older than that; you should definitely consider upgrading to protect your family.
If you have built in Wi-Fi, you can connect the door opener to your home and control it via smart phones. This feature is purely optional, but some people enjoy having access to it. This is also true of a vehicle’s button which may be compatible with some openers but not all of them.
Auto close, battery backups, rail extensions for higher ceilings, door locks that prevent remotes from opening the garage door, and soft start/stop motors are all available if you want more features and more control over your garage door. These features can increase safety and decrease wear and tear, which could make them worth the extra cost for some people.
Garage Door Opener Installation
Each garage door opener manufacturer will have their own unique instructions for installing an opener like theirs. However, there are a few things that are universal when it comes to re-installing an opener if you have one in place already. These things include checking to make sure that all the parts that are there are working properly. Use your opener and listen for a lot of loud noises or watch areas that may progress slower than others. This could be caused by wobbly rollers, bent tracks, and other things that will slow down even a newer replacement.
Is your door balanced? You can check this by closing the door and then pulling the emergency release cord. Lift your door about half way up and then let it go. Does it stay where you left it, or does it move up or down from there? Any movement could be an issue with the torsion spring, which does require a professional to repair.
When it comes time to install the opener, make sure to use a ladder. This will give you a place to set the opener and help you get up where you need to be to install it. Ideally, your ladder will be around 8ft, but this could vary if you have a higher garage ceiling. Keep in mind that your door should be open when you are installing the opener. Make sure you use a pair of locking pliers to hold just below a roller to keep the door in place.
Angle Iron is a good thing when installing an opener. When you attach the motor to it, it will give you a stronger installation and reduce vibration. You can easily attach it using screws and it does not have to be an unfinished garage to do it.
Consider changing out the components such as photoelectric eyes and wall buttons if you are replacing an older opener. This could save you a lot of headaches. There are wires that may have become damaged if your door is more than 10 years old.
Fine tune the installation. This means that you check the opening and closing force behind the door. If you hold your foot on the door and push the remote-control button, your door should not move. Any amount of pressure should stop the door from making any movements for your safety. You can easily adjust the way it opens and closes by making small adjustments to the opening and closing force screws that are on garage door openers.
Install security lights if you have them. You will want to make sure that you get light bulbs that are designed to handle vibrations and stuff that may happen with a garage door. There are bulbs that say “garage door” or “rough service” on the label and you need to make sure that you use them.
Your installation should be completed when everything is working properly. However, if you do not have an opener installed already, you may have a little more of a challenge to get it installed. Therefore, you may consider hiring a professional to ensure that it is installed properly.
The Top 5 Garage Door Openers
When it comes to garage door openers, you have a lot of choices to pick from. However, if you want to feel confident before you purchase, you may want to consider our top five choices for the best available. These are all proven to be well worth their price.
This is a 1/2 horse power belt driven opener. It promises to open quietly thanks to a vibration free motor. It is also very easy to install and weighs only 36 pounds. It is safe and uses a 200-watt bulb to ensure that you are never in the dark when you open your garage. It is an opener that holds mostly positive reviews from all current owners, though some say that you may spend a few hours on the installation of it. As a bonus, it is also one of the more affordable belt driven openers available on the market today. Read Our Full Review Here
This is a heavy-duty DC 1/2 horsepower chain lift opener. It comes with two transmitters and a variety of other features. It can handle a load of 350 pounds and it is quieter than many other chain driven systems. It has soft start and stop operations to ensure that you do not have any issues with your opener. It has quick-connect wiring to ensure that installation is simple and only people who have the code can open the garage door. The package comes with three remotes and a wall button unit. Read Our Full Review Here
The WD962KEV is a belt driven opener that is lightweight and a 3/4 HP motor that operates quietly. With this opener, you can have a garage door that controls lighting functions. It can control things both inside and out. It starts and stops smoothly and has a motion detecting control panel. As an added advantage it has a battery backup system and anti-burglar technology. The features list for this outstanding opener is extensive and this makes it ideal for a variety of homes. Read Our Full Review Here
This chain driven opener has a 3/4 HP motor. It is heavy duty and promises that you will not have to deal with a lot of maintenance. It is quieter than many chain driven openers because it has a chain that does not hit the rail. It has auto force sensing technology and comes with everything you need. It comes with mounting brackets, remote controls, chain, cable, protector system, and safety labels. It is made in the USA and weighs only 42 pounds. Read Our Full Review Here
Sommer Direct Drive
This garage door opener is unique because it is extremely quiet, which makes it ideal for homes that have bedrooms above the garage. It is a 3/4 HP direct drive door opener. This means that it has only one part that moves. It features soft touch technology that does not cause a lot of vibrations. You do not have to worry about putting a strain on the motor since it is going to be placed at the garage door. It is programmable and comes with two buttoned transmitters, a wall station, and more. Read Our Full Review Here