Selecting the right garage door opener, can leave you overwhelmed by the number of options available. Follow these tips to make the best choice for your new garage door opener.
Garage door openers: chain drive, belt drive and screw drive.
- Chain-drive garage door openers are the oldest and most commonly widely used style of opener. These openers may not be the best choice if the garage is located beneath a bedroom or next to a room where external noise could be problematic. Many people; however, find comfort in being alerted to the fact (through the garage door opening) that someone is goin to be entering their home.
- Belt-drive garage door openers are similar to their chain-drive cousins, with the exception that they operate with a rubber belt instead of a chain. These are the quietest of the garage door opener choices. Due to their quiter operation and low maintenance, they tend to be priced higher than the other options.
- In between the chain driven and belt driven options are screw-drive garage door openers. These openers require considerable maintenance as you the entire rail must be degreased every 2-4 years. These are typically the most difficult to install for someone doing their own garage door opener installation.
A 1/2 horsepower garage door opener will accomodate the needs of a typical two-car garage. A smaller motor would only be appropriate on one-car garage with a lightweight garage door. The horsepower of your garage door opener applies primarily to the average daily use. For example: If you are using your door 10-15 times per day, a DC powered unit will use less power and have greater torque output. DC powered units produce more power than standard 1/2 horsepower AC Units. When dealing with extra large or heavy doors, it is best to consult an authorized dealer. Larger doors, such as wood or 2 inch thick steel on steel doors may need the additional power of a 3/4 horsepower unit.
The average garage door opener will handle a standard 7-foot tall door, plus approximately 6 inches, depending upon the door and track radius. Make sure an extension kit is included when purchasing a taller door from a retail outlet. Professional dealers will include a solid rail that is sized to correctly accomadate the larger door height.
Since 1993, all garage door openers have been required by law to have a safety mechanism to stop and reverse the door in the event something passes beneath the garage door. This occurs when a light beam across the bottom of the door threshold is broken. The reversing mechanism should be tested at regularly scheduled interval to prevent damage to cars, pets and children.
A rolling code feature has become a standard security feature on most modern garage door openers. The rolling code feature makes it difficult for would be thieves to intercept and access the code for opening the door.
It is easy to forget that the garage door opener light often functions as either the primary or in many cases, only source of illumination in the garage. Two 60 watt bulbs are the standard configuration on most units; however, you may want to consider a unit that utilizes two 100 watt bulbs for increased lighting capacity. Using an incorrect bulb with your garage door opener can damage the unit, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual for correct wattage.
While not standard on all models, battery backup is an available feature on many garage door openers. The battery backup goes into operation when there is a disruption in the regular electrical power supply, thus allowing you to use your garage door opener during a period of power outage. This backup feature prevents you from being locked out of your home, should the power be out.
A keyless entry pad allows you to enter a code to open your garage door without having to carry a key. These pads are normally mounted just outside of the garage door. In lieu of an access code, many of the newer models are activated by a fingerprint scan.
New garage door openers generally include two remote control units. Remote controls may have a single button that simply opens a single door, while others will have the capability of opening multiple doors and will include multiple buttons to access that functionality.
Wall mounted control pads have been a standard feature of garage door opener systems for years. These pads are generally used to open and close the garage door and turn the light on or off. In recent years, additional features have been added to improve the user experience of the user. These features include programmable remotes, timers, clocks, temperature control and motion light control.
You may not realize that the models that garage door opener manufacturers make for professional installers and do-it-yourselfers are actually separate. Most units sold by professional installers come with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, while D.I.Y. units may have lesser warranty coverage. Be sure to read the motor warranty and specifications carefully. If longevity is important to you, it is best to work with a manufacturer’s direct distributor, versus a retail outlet. Professional model is a solid rail system, which helps against wear and tear of rail components and the overall function of the door.
Warranties can range from 10 year to lifetime, depending upon the model. Shorter coverage generally applies to components such as belts and chains, due to the regular wear and tear from operation. Electronic warranties can sometimes be extended through the use of manufacturer supplied surge protection accessories
Due to the amount of electronic components in most garage door openers, it is advisable to purchase a surge protector as an accessory for your opener. Some manufacturers will offer surge protectors as an available accessory.