Everything You Need to Know About Garage Door Openers

A new garage door will change the look and feel of your Chicago home. However, it would be incomplete without the perfect garage door opener. Looking for one could be overwhelming though. We’ve got you covered with our guide on everything you need to know about garage door openers.

using a garage door opener

How Your Garage Door Opener Works

Not all garage door openers are the same. There are different styles that change how it functions. There are three types of garage door openers you should know.

inside of a garage

Belt Drive

A belt drive garage door opener is the premium option. Homeowners in large residential areas will like it because it’s the most quiet type. It won’t disturb your neighbors or you family members inside.

Another benefit of the belt drive opener is its durability. There’s no metal on metal contact with the pieces. In fact, it uses rubber belts. This reduces the amount of stress faced by your garage door opener and the door itself.

The only drawback is that it’s the most expensive option for a garage door opener. If you’re willing to part with the money though, the belt drive opener is a great choice.

Chain Drive

No matter how large your Chicago garage door is or what style you have, a chain drive garage door opener is a good option. They’re powerful enough to lift the heaviest garage door. They’re able to accomplish this because they operate using durable chains. Not to mention the chain drive opener is the most affordable style. It’s no wonder it’s the most popular garage door opener style.

Though the chain drive is cheaper and very powerful, it has its downside. It’s louder than the other garage door openers. If you’re living in a well populated area or have a family member with an irregular sleep schedule, the chain drive opener might not be your best option.

Screw Drive

A screw drive garage door opener is a little bit different than the previous two. It’s made perfectly for one-piece doors that tilt. So if you have a garage door with panels, this may not be the opener for you.

Also, screw drive garage door openers are more durable than the other systems. The cables will withstand the test of time. In addition, they’re much quieter than the chain drive opener.

The Heavier the Door, The More Horsepower You’ll Need

Larger, heavier garage doors may require more power in order to open them. With a standard 15-16 foot wide garage door, you’ll need a 1/2 horsepower motor. Once you begin to increase the size, you may want to consider more powerful motors. There are a few options you can choose from when it comes to horsepower.

an open garage door

1/2 Horsepower Openers

As previously mentioned, 15-16 foot wide garage doors are the standard size. That means half horsepower is a popular option for power. If you don’t plan on customizing the size of your door, this is the best option for you.

3/4 Horsepower Openers

Whether you have a larger, heavier garage door or want your opener to work more efficiently, you may be interested in 3/4 horsepower. It’s a great option for custom-made garage doors.

1 Horsepower Openers

For the largest, heaviest garage doors, you’ll need the more powerful garage door opener. Look no further than one horsepower. It’s the most efficient and powerful of the three.

Technology is Great: Smart Garage Door Openers

The world of technology is amazing. You can do almost anything from your phone or tablet. Garage door openers are no different.

There are door openers which can be controlled from a smart phone or tablet. It’s very easy to set up and allows you to monitor when your door is opened. Never again will you wonder if your garage door is still open after you leave your home.

using a smart phone

Safety First

Safety should always come first, especially when it comes to your garage door. With such a large moving door, injuries could happen. Your garage door opener can make a difference in home safety.

Since 1993, all garage door openers come with sensors that reverse the movement of your garage door to prevent injuries. There are two types of sensors. The first is installed to the bottom of your garage door. If the door ever comes into contact with something while the door is closing, it will stop and begin rising.

The other one is made up of two sensors on each side of your garage door that creates an infrared beam across its length. If this beam is ever broken while the door is closing, it will stop and begin rising. Homeowners like this sensor better because the garage door doesn’t have to come into contact with anything before changing directions.

close up of a garage door opener cable

Accessories Make a Difference

Once you’ve picked a style and horsepower for your garage door opener, it’s time to look into accessories. Your opener can be enhanced with hardware that will make it work more efficiently or add additional benefits.

Keypad Remote

Let’s say you go out for a walk but don’t want to carry your garage door remote or house keys in your pocket. A keypad remote is the perfect solution. It allows you to leave your home knowing that you have a way to open your garage door when you return.

A keypad remote is found on the outside of your garage door and is a zero thru nine numerical pad. You have to create a four to six digit password. That’s what you will use to open your garage door. Make sure you don’t give your password to anyone otherwise they’ll have access to your home as well.

Battery Backup

Nothing is worse than a storm that causes you to lose power – they’re all too frequent in Chicago. It’s even worse if you’re out when the power outage begins. You won’t be able to get back into your home through the garage.

If you have a battery backup to your garage door opener, no storm will get between you and getting back inside your home. It allows you to open your garage door automatically during power outages. The only issue is that battery backups are found only in high end garage door openers.

Extension Kit

Being able to customize your garage door gives you endless amounts of creativity when designing your home. If you are changing its size, it will effect your garage door opener.

The typical garage door is 7 feet tall and a standard garage door opener accommodates doors 6 inches taller or shorter. It opens on a track and if the track isn’t the right size, there could be issues.

If your door is taller than 7 feet, you’ll most likely need to get an extension kit. This will extend your opener’s track and will give your garage door more space when its opened.

Hire a Professional or Do It Yourself?

The question you may be asking yourself is whether you should hire a professional to install your garage door opener or your should do it yourself. While it’s possible to install your own opener, it isn’t recommended.

Anytime you’re working with a large operable door, there is no margin for error. One wrong move during the installation could cause damage to your garage door opener or the door itself. Even worse, if belts or pieces are damaged, your garage door won’t open correctly. There is also a risk for unexpected falls which could cause serious injuries. It always a better idea to go with a trusted professional.

professional working on a garage door

Get the Perfect Garage Door Opener

Getting a new garage door opener can be overwhelming. Between the different styles, horsepower ratings and accessories, there is a lot to understand. Hopefully we helped you decide which garage door opener would be right for your home.

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