October 7, 2016

How to Choose a Garage Door Opener

Garage door opener

Is it time for a new garage door system? Not sure how to choose the right door opener? Before heading out to the store, follow our simple steps! Read on to learn how to choose the perfect garage door opener for your home.

First, Identify Your Needs

When it comes to using your door opener, what aspects are most important to you? Remote controls, keypads and Wi-Fi technology can all make your garage door system easier to use. Where is your garage in regards to your living space? If your garage is attached to your home, we recommend a quiet unit to minimize noise and vibrations. A little planning can go a long way to finding the ideal door opener.

Second, Measure the Clearance Above the Garage Door

Before ordering an opener, you need to ensure it will fit above your garage door. Minimum clearance space for a trolley-style opener – the most common style on the market – is 2 inches. If you don’t have enough space above your garage door, please contact us. We will come to your home or business to identify other options.

My Garage Has a Cathedral Ceiling. Can I Still Install a Door Opener?

Yes you can! Most trolley-type garage door openers can be used on cathedral ceilings. The trolley’s span will be based on the height of the garage door.

With cathedral ceilings, a side‑mounted opener is also a good option. Also called a jackshaft, this unit is installed next to the garage door and is connected to the torsion bar. Jackshaft openers require a minimum of 3 inches between the torsion bar and ceiling, and 8 inches from the garage wall and torsion bar.

Units are typically small, measuring about 6 inches in height by 16 inches in width. They come equipped with the same safety options as other types of openers, such as door reversal systems and sensors.

What Door Openers Can I Choose From?

There are 3 main types of units:

  • Central chain driven trolley openers: cost-effective and most commonly sold.
  • Central belt driven trolley openers (metal-reinforced rubber belt): quietest models on the market.
  • Jackshaft openers: practical in high ceiling garages.

When looking at trolley-type door openers, we prefer units built in one piece over units built in three. One piece trolleys are solid, whereas three piece units need annual tune-ups – the daily opening and closing of a garage door causes bolts to loosen over time.

What Size of Motor Is Best?

Motor is dependent on the size and weight of your garage door. The two most popular sizes are ½ HP and the ¾ HP.

  • ½ HP: most common motor size.
  • ¾ HP: used for solid wood doors weighing over 300 lbs., or large doors (up to 16 feet).

Door openers are available in two types of motors: AC and DC.

  • AC or Alternating Current: openers start gradually until they reach full speed, then slow near the end. This type of motor is in newtons (N); 800 or 900 N is equal to ½ or ¾ HP.
  • DC or Direct Current: openers operate at an even speed and come in ⅓, ½ or ¾ HP. DC motors are most common, and are your only choice if you want a unit with backup battery power.

What Accessories Do I Need?

You have so many options when it comes to accessories. After selecting the right type of opener for your home, ask which accessories come with the unit, and which ones can be added. Bear in mind that every unit already comes with 2 safety reversal systems – photo-electric and mechanical.

Is Innovation and Technology Important?

We believe it is. In the last few years, garage door openers have advanced a lot. We can now monitor and operate our garage doors using smartphones, tablets and laptops. And with apps like LiftMaster’s MyQ, we can do so from just about anywhere!

Do you need a new garage door system? To see how our beautiful garage doors look on your home, try out our online Design Centre. You may also fill out our online form to get a free quotation. Our sales team is looking forward to serving you.

Is your garage door in need of maintenance or repair? Call us at 607-687-5126. We guarantee our professional installation team will serve you in a timely manner – no job is too big or too small.

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