October 7, 2016

Facts to Consider Before Choosing a Garage Door Opener

Facts to Consider Before Choosing a Garage Door Opener

After a long wait, you have finally made the decision to buy a new garage door opener. But what if you’re not sure how to decide exactly which features are best? Today, let’s take a look at some important facts to consider before buying your new garage door opener.

Outline your needs

Where is your garage located? Is it part of your home, or completely detached? When choosing a door opener, it’s important to consider the placement of your garage. An attached garage needs an automatic opener that is as quiet as possible, in order to not be heard from nearby bedrooms.

How much clearance do you have above your garage door?

If you have never had a door opener, or if you are gifting one, you will need to measure the space over the door, even if all the door hardware is presently in place. To mount an opener with a central trolley, you need at least 2 inches of clearance. For those who do not have enough space, there is one other option. Please contact us, and we will come to assess the situation.

My garage has a sloped or cathedral ceiling. What can I do?

A trolley garage door opener can be used, even if your overhead door follows a sloped ceiling. The span of the trolley will simply be based on the height of your door.

Typically, for this type of ceiling, we recommend a side‑mounted opener, also known as a jackshaft. This style of automatic opener is mounted next to a garage door, and is fastened to the torsion bar (the one that connects to the spring system).

For jackshaft openers, there must be at least 3 inches of clearance between the middle of the torsion bar and the ceiling, as well as 8 inches between the side wall and the torsion bar. These openers are 6 inches high by 16 inches wide. Jackshafts have the same features as trolley openers, like safety reversal systems.

What are the different types of door openers?

There are 3 main varieties of openers:

  • A central chain driven trolley: most cost‑effective and our best‑seller.
  • A central, rubber belt driven trolley (metal‑reinforced belt): quietest operation.
  • A jackshaft opener: most practical when there is significant room over the door.

With trolley door openers, we recommend the ones built in one piece over the ones in three pieces. The former had a more solid construction, whereas the latter needs the occasional tune‑up to retighten bolts – operating the opener causes them to loosen.

What size of motor do I need?

The two most popular motors are the ½ HP and the ¾ HP.

  • ½ HP: best‑selling motor.
  • ¾ HP: often used for solid wood or heavy doors (over 300 lbs.), common for wide double doors measuring up to 16 feet.

Door openers come in both AC and DC type motors.

  • AC or Alternating Current: these openers start gradually until they reach normal speed, and then slow at the end. This type of motor is specified in newtons (N), where 800 or 900 N is comparable to ½ or ¾ HP.
  • DC or Direct Current: DC motors operate at a uniform speed. They are available in ⅓, ½ or ¾ HP. If you prefer an opener with backup battery, a DC motor is needed.

What about accessories?

You have many options. Once you choose your opener, take a little time to learn which accessories will make using your garage door system easier. Keep in mind that every garage door opener now provides 2 safety reversal systems – one is mechanical, the other is photo‑electric.

What about the latest technology?

In the last decade or so, automatic garage door openers have improved significantly. Nowadays, thanks to LiftMaster’s MyQ app, it’s possible to operate a garage door using a smartphone, tablet or laptop, from anyplace at all!

No matter what you need for your garage door, opener or accessories, schedule a service call online. You may also try out our Design Centre to help you plan your own garage door or get a free quotation. Our experienced sales team is ready to answer any of your questions, while our skilled installers have the required expertise for a professional installation, no matter the challenges they may encounter. Call us today at:

  • London: 519-685-9797
  • Mount Pleasant: 905-304-9700
  • Guelph: 519-821-4400
  • Goderich: 519-482-3251

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