The convenience of automated garage door openers has led homeowners to embrace its technology, putting aside the manual method of opening garage doors. There is consequently a large market for garage door openers and their accessories. While this presents buyers with a wide range of choices, it also means homeowners are faced with the daunting task of deciding between available options. To understand what options are best suited to a homeowner’s needs, one must first understand the basic technology behind opening garage doors automatically.
How do Garage Door Openers Work?
The three main components of a garage door opener are a motor, a carriage (or a trolley), and a rail. The carriage, which moves along a rail, is attached to the garage door and is driven by a motor. As the carriage moves along, it pulls the garage door open or pushes it shut. What differentiates one garage door opener from the other is the way in which the motor moves the trolley. The motor runs on either Direct Current (DC) or Alternating Current (AC) and is plugged into a standard power outlet.
What are the Types of Garage Door Openers?
- Belt-Drive Garage Door Openers: These are designed to move the trolley or carriage along a belt, and this movement, in turn, raises or lowers the garage door. Belt-drive openers have the advantage of quiet operation, and the fewer moving parts result in low maintenance.
- Chain-Drive Garage Door Openers: These are similar in design to the belt-drive system, but use a metal chain instead of a belt. They offer the advantage of being more affordable than other options but tend to be noisy and vibrate as the carriage moves along the metal chain.
- Direct-Drive Garage Door Openers: With these, the motor also acts as the trolley, and controls the garage door as it moves along the track. The direct-drive openers tend to be more expensive than other options but offer the convenience of quiet operation and low maintenance as a result of fewer parts.
- Screw-Drive Garage Door Openers: These use a threaded steel rod that rotates and moves the carriage along a track. The carriage in turn pulls the garage door open or pushes it shut. A screw-drive opener also offers low maintenance costs and quiet operation.
What Features Should a Buyer Consider?
- Accessories: A buyer should consider the accessories that come with the opener they are looking to purchase. These include remote controls, keypads, and activated security lights. Others are a manual release which enables one to disengage the opener and manually control the garage door.
- Home-Automation and Smart-Device Compatibility: The ability to control the opener remotely offers added convenience as more people embrace home-automation. This is made possible through a built-in Wi-Fi connection. A similar feature to this is the ability to control the garage door opener from the owner’s vehicle through built-in controls.
- Battery Back-Up: Power outages as a result of unforeseen circumstances are not uncommon, and it is important to consider this in choosing the right garage door opener.
- Horse Power Ratings: The heavier the garage door, the higher the horsepower rating required. Typical horsepower ratings for residential garage doors are between 1/2 horsepower to 11/2 horsepower.