Garage door openers are produced with different drive mechanisms, which are the parts that act like the transmission does in a car. If your in the market for a new garage door opener, you need to know a little bit about the different types before you decide on one. The various kinds are the chain‑drives, the belt‑drives, the screw‑drives, and the jackshaft drive. You’ll find that there’s a type that is better for most people and that’s probably what you should look into.
Which one is the one that most people tend to prefer? It’s the belt‑drive. Belt‑drives are known for being quieter, less jerky, and just all‑around better at opening your garage door. So, let’s look a little deeper at why they’re the way to go.
The Power They Run On
Belt‑drive openers are powered by a direct current (DC) motor. Why is this important? Well, it’s important because it means that when the opener is turned on, the motor starts to move the door slowly at first, then it speeds up to its normal speed in the middle of the process, and slows down again for the finish. It allows the whole routine to be smoother than other kinds of openers that run on alternating current (AC). AC motors move through the whole opening or closing of a door at one, constant speed. These tend to be more shaky and wobbly. Both kinds of motors will get the job done in about the same amount of time, one just gives you a smoother run.
The major benefit here is in the form of the noise level produced. DC motors produce much less noise than AC motors. Another good benefit with the DC motor is that they often have a back‑up battery installed for times when your power goes out. AC motors don’t have this feature.
The Way a Belt‑Drive Works
In a belt‑drive opener, there’s a trolley that is centrally located above the garage door on the ceiling. The belt that moves to open the door runs on a track that has metal sprockets on the ends, and is made of rubber that has metal wires running through it. There may also be other materials running through the rubber to reinforce it, making it stronger.
The tension of the rubber belt can be easily adjusted with a wrench. The track it loops around is T‑shaped and mounted on the ceiling. The motor you decide on for your garage door opener can have either .5 or .75 horsepower (HP). Most of the time people choose more HP for a double garage door and less for a single door.
One way you can tell if your opener is working how it’s supposed to is to do a quick test. If you turn your opener off and then try to open the door manually, you should be able to do it easily with the use of one arm. You should feel like the door is about 10 ;lbs. or so. If it feels like you’re straining to lift it, or that it’s way too heavy, then you likely have a balance issue or something else that not quite right. You should have a professional come look at things to see if there is an issue to be fixed.
Belt‑Drive Opener Benefits
The most attractive thing about the belt‑drive openers is that they are good at being quiet. Chain‑drives are fitted with a metal chain a lot like the chain on your bike. They make plenty of extra noise. Belt‑drives are about 30% quieter than chain‑drives. You’ll definitely want to go with a belt‑drive opener if there is a bedroom that is used often right above the garage. Your best bet is to match a belt‑drive with a DC motor, such as LiftMaster’s 8550W, for the least amount of noise possible.
The rubber of the belt certainly does cut down on noise, but this kind of drive also keeps things moving more smoothly around the track. There’s not the vibration and shaking you get with other kinds of drives.
Just so you’re aware, the benefits of the belt‑drive openers may cost you a bit more than some of the others, but you’ll have to weigh things out for yourself as to whether it’s worth the extra money or not. It’s something you may want to think about, but remember that belt‑drives typically reduce noise coming from your opener by 30%.
What More Can be Done to Reduce the Noise Made by a Garage Door?
Any opener that is attached to wood joists need to be as secured as possible.
Wood joists allow for a lot of vibration or wobbling. You can place rubber strips between wood joists and steel angles so that the movement is cut down. Similarly, a vibration isolation kit can be used to do the same type of thing between the housing of the opener and the steel angle. This makes everything more stable.
Change out metal rollers for nylon ones.
An alternative to metal rollers, nylon ones produce far less noise because you won’t have the metal on metal sounds.
Make sure all of the metal components are lubricated regularly.
It’s recommended that as part of a regular maintenance plan, you lubricate the metal parts of your garage door system at least twice a year. You’ll want to do it more if your household uses the garage door heavily. You can use motor oil like 5W30 for this job. Just a side note here, don’t lubricate the rubber belt. That was done at installation with the proper lubricant and doesn’t need to be done again for 5 to 7‑years.
Change flooring in any room that’s above the garage.
If you have wood floors in a room over the garage, that flooring is working to enhance the sound of the garage door. Switching to carpet or rugs will help reduce any noise that makes it through to that room from below.
Install a jackshaft door opener.
You need to have the space to do this one, but if you do, you can install a jackshaft door opener beside your garage door instead of having one mounted on the ceiling. It helps when there is a bedroom over the garage and makes it where the opener doesn’t have to be mounted to the wood joists.
You’ll want to do as many of the things we just mentioned as you can to get the most noise reduction possible. You can have one of our experts from Car‑Wal Garage Doors talk you through what might be right for your home at any time.
Time for a Belt‑Drive Opener?
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We can set up a consultation with you, or even just talk about what you’ll need right over the phone. We’re here to help you with anything you need when it comes to garage doors. If you’d like, we can also email you a quotation whenever you need it.