October 7, 2016

Factors to consider before buying a garage door opener

How to Select a Great Garage Door Opener

At last, you’ve decided to buy a new garage door opener but you aren’t completely sure if you’ve properly evaluated everything. Let’s take a look at some important factors.

Define your needs

What is your current garage set‑up? Is it attached to the house or detached, possibly in the backyard. There is a big difference between the two because an attached garage with a room above it, e.g. a bedroom, will require an opener that is most importantly quiet.

How much space is there over the garage door?

If, currently, you don’t have a door opener, or you are giving one as a gift, the space over the door needs to be measured, even if all the hardware is already installed. To install a door opener with a central trolley, you will need at least 2 inches (51 mm). If you do not have this space, there is an alternative. For this, we have to go on site to properly assess the situation. Contact us.

I have a cathedral or sloped ceiling. What can I do?

You can install a trolley-type door opener even is the horizontal tracks are inclined. However, the length of the trolley can vary based on the door height.

Normally recommended is a side‑mounted openers, also called a jackshaft opener. This type of opener, installed next to the door, is attached to the torsion bar that holds the spring system. However, there must be a space of 3 in. (76 mm) calculated from the ceiling to the center of the torsion bar. The size of the opener is 6 inches wide by 16 inches high (15 cm x 20 cm). There must be at least 8 inches (20 cm) between the side garage wall and the end of the torsion bar. A jackshaft opener has all the features of a trolley‑type door opener, including safety reversal systems.

What types of door openers are out there?

There are 3 main types:

  • A central chain-driven trolley:
    • The most economical and biggest seller
  • A central, rubber belt-driven trolley (metal-reinforced belt):
    • The quietest
  • A jackshaft opener, installed beside the door:
    • The most practical especially when there is considerable headroom (space) over the door

As for trolley‑type door openers, we recommend buying a model where the trolley (upside down T‑shape) is in one piece, and not three. The former is more rigid while the latter requires you to retighten the bolts over time because using the door opener causes them to loosen.

And what size for the motor?

The 2 most popular are the ½ HP and the ¾ HP.

  • ½ HP:
    • The biggest seller
  • ¾ HP:
    • Mostly used for solid wood doors (e.g. oak) with weights over 300 lb. (135 kg). This weight is especially seen on wide double doors, for instance 16 feet wide (4.9 m).

Note also that there are both AC and DC type motors.

  • AC (alternating current):
    • The door opener starts slowly, increases to normal speed, then slows at the end. With this type of motor, we talk of power in newtons (N), not HP, where 800 or 900 N is equivalent to ½ or ¾ HP.
  • DC (direct current):
    • DC motors have a constant speed. They come in 1⁄3, ½ or ¾ HP. If you want a backup battery for your door opener, only a DC motor is possible.

And what about accessories?

You have lots available. Depending on the model you choose, take some time to evaluate what accessories will simplify your life. Remember that all garage door openers are equipped with 2 safety reversal systems, a mechanical reversal one and a photo-electric one.

From a technology point of view…

In recent years, electric garage door openers have changed considerably. Today, with LiftMaster’s MyQ system, you can open and close your garage door using your smart phone, tablet or laptop, from anywhere in the world!

Whatever you need in terms of garage doors and their accessories, arrange for a service call online or contact us at 1-800-957-5865. You can also use our Design Centre to design your own garage door and get a free quotation. Our sales staff is highly qualified to answer any of your questions and our qualified installers have all the necessary experience for a professional installation, no matter what challenges they may face.

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