We might easily under appreciate our electric garage door openers…until they are not available when we need them most. The pouring rain when we arrive home, the bitter cold when the car is full of stuff, or the night we want to just get inside and relax…if the door doesn’t work, it becomes a major upset. Garage door openers typically last a very long time and don’t need to be replaced frequently. They do, however need maintenance and even the occasional service call. Some may even need to be replaced after years of service.
Surprisingly enough, the most common reason for a service call is because the opener or one of its accessories is experiencing a glitch. Replacing broken parts or adjusting the opener are some of the most common repairs.
At any of these times, it is helpful to know the terminology used by garage door specialists. To help you out, we offer a list of terms and their meanings below.
Terms That Apply to the Door Opener, Itself
To begin with, there are different types of door openers. Let’s consider the differences between them:
- Different Models – There are two common models – the chain drive models that feature a bicycle‑like metal chain OR the belt drive models that use steel fibre reinforced rubber belts. Of the two, the belt drives are thought quieter.
- Different Types – The two common types include the AC or Alternating Current models AND the DC or Direct Current models. The AC is most common because it is typically lower in price. The DC is less common though it can feature a backup battery and operates in a more predictable pattern of slow start – faster rise – slow to a stop.
- Different Levels of power – The most frequently chosen levels of power are ½ HP and ¾ HP (HP means horsepower). Almost all properties can use the ½ HP because any properly balanced garage door will weight between eight and ten pounds (3.5 and 4.5 kg), which is easily managed with the ½ HP.
- Different Trolley Styles Pulling or Pushing the Door – There are two varieties that include a sturdier one-piece trolley OR the three piece trolley.
- Differences in the Other Major Components – This is just the different gear systems available. Most feature gears of hard, durable plastic that are an ideal solution for the properly balanced doors. If the door is not balanced, though, the plastic gears wear quickly.
- Different Electronics – Most models use “logic board controls” that fun the motor, the safety functions and the open/control functions. The only differences are in the qualities of the boards, with lower quality boards running the risk of burning out.
In addition to a clear understanding of the main parts, you need to understand the different opener accessories. These include:
- Remote controls – Modern systems are impervious to the risks of models made prior to 1993. Today’s remotes use signals that cannot be stolen by potential thieves thanks to their rolling code technologies. This sends out a new code each time the remote is used.
- Control panels – The ultimate backup plan, there are some openers that feature a control panel or basic door control button installed near the actual door itself. This is ideal for times when you want only those with a code to be able to open the door.
- Automatic reversal systems – Another innovation in systems post‑1993 are automatic reversal systems. These run in two ways. The first is the use of photoelectric sensors that are mounted on opposite sides of the door and roughly 6″ (15 cm) from the floor. Should anything cross the beams they send out during door operation, the door stops and reverses direction. The other is mechanical and triggered if the motor senses resistance, forcing it to stop and reverse.
Optional Features are also something to familiarize yourself with, too:
- Wi‑Fi Connectivity – Your garage door can now be part of the Internet of Things or IoT thanks to advances in technology. Using a mobile device and app, you can open or close, and even monitor or secure the door from anywhere.
- Exterior Keypads – Mounted outside of a garage, they use 4-digit PIN and are great for kids or family who will not be entering with a car and remote.
- Laser Parking Accessory – Tired of the old tennis ball and string system? Let lasers guide you to safe parking.
- Mini Remotes – Keychain fobs make it easier than ever to keep your home secure by eliminating the easy to steal remotes most keep in their cars.
To Learn More…
Did this help you learn what you needed to know about garage door openers? If you have questions, just get in touch with us at 1-800-957-5865.
If you think you need to improve your system, we’ll forward an email quotation or stop by to give you advice on the right choices for your home’s style and your personal budget. If you are ready for a new door, our online center lets you test a few styles, and our image gallery offers design inspiration of all kinds.