July 26, 2019

How to know which size garage door opener you need

If you are ready to update your electric garage door opener, you are probably wondering if there are newer options out there that will be quieter or more technologically advanced.

Good news! There are a ton of upgraded garage door openers to choose from. You are sure to find one that perfectly suits your needs and tastes.

 Garage door opener

But first...the basics

The entire point of an electric garage door opener is to make your life a little bit easier. Having a handy button to push to open your door keeps you from having to get out of your car in the rain or the snow. The basic function of the garage door opener is to prevent you from having to do the job manually.

In order for the opener to do its job correctly, the torsion or extension spring system must be perfectly balanced with the weight of the garage door. The system serves as the counterweight to the deadweight of the door which can weigh anywhere from 90 to 350 lb. (40 to 160 kilos). However, a garage door that is perfectly balanced with its opener will feel as if it weighs just 8 to 10 lb. (3 to 4 kilos). This is a weight that is easily managed with the strength of one hand.

In order to tell if your spring system is in balance is to disconnect the electric door opener, while the door is closed. Then, you will manually open the door about halfway, roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) from the ground. If you let go, it should be able to remain in this neutral position. A door that doesn’t move is balanced. An unbalanced door will either fall shut or quickly shoot open, and this means that your spring system is not working as it should. You should definitely consider contacting us right away to remedy this potentially dangerous situation.

The garage door opener is able to lift very heavy loads, up to 225 lbs. to be exact, but this means that same amount of force can come crashing down. If a person, pet, or possession was underneath the door, it could easily be crushed.

Garage door terminology

You may be ready to start discussing motor sizes, but it is important that you learn a few terms first. While many motors use horsepower to describe the force that it uses, an electric garage door opener uses two types of electrical current. These are called AC, which stands for alternating current and DC, which stands for direct current.

Only alternating current is described using horsepower. Direct current is described using Newton force. These power types are fairly different, although they do have their similarities as well.

The biggest difference between the two is that AC-type motors remain at a constant speed while DC motors start slowly and gradually increase in speed, but then they reduce their speed before stopping. The model that is best for you may be a personal choice. However, the motors that use DC are generally a little bit quieter.

Motor sizes

Now that you understand the types of current that can be used in your garage door opener, it is time to discuss sizes. Residential openers with AC motors range from ⅓, ½ to ¾ HP. DC motors come in either 500 or 700 newtons. The most popular residential garage door openers are the ½ HP or the 500 N.

Commercial and industrial garage door openers are generally much more powerful because they are opening larger and heavier doors. The motor sizes range from ½ HP to 4 or even 5 HP.

Now that you are familiar with the sizes, you need to decide which is best for you. If you have a single door, commonly 9 x 7 ft. (2.7 x 2.1 m), then a ½ HP or 500 N motor will be sufficient. If you have a double garage door, 16 x 7 ft. (4.9 x 2.1 m), or a solid wood garage door, then a ¾ HP or 700 N motor is recommended.

When choosing your garage door opener, you will also want to factor in the projected life of the motor. Some will last seven years, and others can last as long as 15 years. The more reliable and longer-lasting openers will be reflected in the price tag.

You will also need to consider the available accessories when making your garage door decisions. Things like garage door monitors, remote light switches , and more can be added to your door opener. These accessories can also range in availability with the varying prices of the openers.

Smart garage door openers

With the advent of all the smart home technology, Wi-Fi connected garage door openers may also be something you will want to consider. There are models that allow you to control your door through your smartphone. This means you can check to see if it is opened or closed even when you are not at home. Many people enjoy having a smart garage door opener, so this is another factor you need to consider.

Meet with one of our garage door professionals, and he or she can explain all the many options that are available. You can describe the functions and the accessories you desire, and one of our experts can point you in the direction of the best option for you.

Safety should always be a concern

Remember, for your peace of mind, your door must always remain properly balanced. You should be able to lift it easily with only one hand. Use this procedure to evaluate the state of your door:

  • Pull on the red emergency release cord to disengage your door opener.
  • Keeping a bend in your knees, raise the door using the lift handle which is located on the bottom or 2nd from the bottom section.
  • Hold the door roughly 4 ft. (1.2 m) from the ground. It should remain stable at this height.
  • If all is well, re-engage your door opener by backing up the trolley that pulls the door and then reconnect the system by operating the door from your remote.
  • If something is amiss, call us and we will send a technician specialized in garage door systems right away.

If you are in need of additional information

Do not hesitate to contact us. We would love nothing more than to explain our complete selection of electric garage door openers. Our representatives can assist you in finding the one that will best suit your needs and your budget. We are also able to provide you with a quotation by email if you prefer.

You could also come and meet us at our showroom. If you end up deciding to change your garage door, you can use our Design Centre to help you determine the style of garage door that suits your home best. You can also peruse our image gallery to find lots of inspiration.

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