Garage Door Opener Buyer's Guide
Honey, why don’t we have a garage door opener? Or – Honey, the garage door opener broke! (Know what's wrong with your garage door opener) So now you are considering a new opener system for your overhead garage door. There are so many models and features. How do you select the system that is right for your needs?
Starting with the basics it is important to be sure the garage door is in proper working order. All too often we find people would like to purchase an opener system because the door is too hard to work. The opener should only do the lifting you would normally do – it is not designed to overcome the weight and friction of a door that is not in proper repair or a door that does not have the correct counterbalance springs installed. Once it has been determined the garage door is in proper working order there are several things that should be considered prior to the purchase of a garage door opener system.
How large and how heavy is the garage door? For the average door up to 16 feet wide and 8 feet high most opener systems are very adequate in terms of lifting capability. If your garage door is oversize or if your garage door is a more custom design with a wood or composite overlay adding significantly to the weight there are several models designed specifically for these heavier overhead door systems.
What features are important? Today’s automatic garage door opener systems offer a wide variety of features. The most basic units will typically include an interior three function wall control and a single remote control for use from your vehicle. These units are very cost effective and reliably open, close, lock and light your garage. There are many other features to consider. These features include items such as adding the convenience of an outside keyless entry pad, a monitor that will indicate if the door is open or closed from a remote area in your home and wi-fi connectivity allowing the garage door system to be monitored for security and operated from a remote location. On many units using a direct current (DC) motor rather than a conventional alternating current (AC) motor a battery backup device is either standard or can be added, allowing the system to lift or close the garage door even in a power outage.
Since we mentioned DC vs. AC motors it is also noteworthy that noise level should be considered at the time of purchase. Garage door opener systems most often use a chain, a belt or a threaded ‘screw drive’ to lift the door. For the lowest possible noise level we recommend a model that features a DC motor and a belt drive. This reduces the noise level of the motor, allows for a ‘soft start and stop’ feature (the unit is variable speed and starts and stops more slowly than during travel so the door does not jar or bang) and reduces the noise level associated with a roller chain and sprocket.
There are times when it may be desirable to have the garage door opener system mounted beside the door rather than over the center and attached to the ceiling. This type of opener is called a jackshaft or side mount opener system and is limited to use with a torsion spring counterbalance in standard lift of lift clearance applications (more about springs, headroom and types of track in another post).
So, where do you go to get all of your questions answered and make the best decision for your needs? If possible visit a professional garage door dealer like Overhead Door Co. of Central Jersey. Be sure they feature a showroom that includes working models of garage door opener systems. Evaluate the features, noise levels, price points, warranties and perhaps most importantly, the company you choose to install your new automatic garage door opener system. If you can’t find time to visit us in person visit on the web at www.overheaddoorco.com or call for a shop at home visit. One of our product specialists will assist you in the selection process to be sure you get the right product for the job.