November 24, 2017

Garage Door Openers 101 by Gutwein Quality Doors, Inc

Garage door opener

Electric garage door openers unquestionably make our lives easier, especially that day when, on the way home, an unexpected rainstorm is certain to drench us if we so much as open the car door. Though they last a long time, and thus don’t need to be changed very often, the day may come when you need a part replaced following a service call, or ultimately switch out your old worn-out one for a newer model. Here are the terms used by garage door specialist when talking about garage door openers.

You may be surprised to learn that the vast majority of service call requests are related to the garage door opener or one of its accessories. Readjusting or replacing a broken part of the opener cover a good portion of the requests from consumers for garage door repairs.

The door opener, itself

Let’s start by explaining the different types of door openers and what differentiates them.

  • Models: the two most popular models are chain drive, using a metal chain similar to a bicycle, and belt drive, with a rubber belt reinforced with steel fibers. The second is proven to be quieter.
  • Type: once again, there are two types: AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current). The first is the one used most often because it’s cheaper. The second, DC, is characterized by starting slowly, increasing its speed then slowing down. It is also the one that can be equipped with a backup battery.
  • Level of power: the two most popular are ½ HP and ¾ HP (horsepower). Basically, the ½ HP should do the trick because a properly balanced garage door weighs between 8 and 10 lb. (3.5 and 4.5 kg). At that weight, meaning you can open it with just one hand, ½ HP is sufficient to do the work.
  • The trolley pulling or pushing the door: again, there are two types. The first is a one-piece trolley (sturdier) and the other has 3 pieces that must be solidly bolted together.
  • The other major components: here, we are mainly talking about the gear system, with most all gears made from hard plastic. This is where a properly balanced door is again important; if it’s not, too much pressure will be on the gears, making them wear out prematurely.
  • The electronics: like most home appliances, everything operates using electronics. The opener logic board controls the operation of the motor, all the safety aspects of the opener as well as the signal to open or close it. If the logic board burns out following an electrical surge, it needs to be changed.

Opener accessories

First, let’s start with the basic accessories that come with all door openers:

  • Remote controls: nowadays, home security is a top concern for homeowners. No one wants the signal from their remote to be picked up by a thief. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem because, since 1993, all door openers use rolling code technology, meaning a new code is generated each time you use your remote.
  • Control panels: some door openers come with a control panel and others with a door control button. It is installed near the access door leading to the house. The control panel choice is useful as it allows you to block any remote from accessing your garage door during a long absence.
  • Automatic reversal systems: since 1993, all door openers sold in North America must come equipped with two safety devices. One is mechanical, meaning if when closing, the motor senses a resistance, it stops and reverses direction. The other device is photoelectric, using two sensors, one placed on each side of the door, about 6″ (15 cm) from the floor. If anything breaks the beam sent between them, the door will stop its downward movement and reverse direction.

There are some interesting, low-cost optional features :

  • Wi‑Fi connectivity: yes, thanks to the Internet, this technology now extends to garage door openers. With an app on your smartphone, you can open, close, and monitor the use of your garage door from anywhere in the world.
  • Exterior keypad: installed on the outside frame of the garage, you only have to enter your 4-digit PIN to access your home. It is much more practical for kids (and you too) than keeping a loose house key.
  • Laser parking accessory: this is a more practical and compact alternative than installing a tennis ball hanging from a string.
  • Mini remote: easily attaching to a keychain, it helps you avoid the theft of a clearly visible remote clipped on your visor.

To learn more…

If there is a term that wasn’t explained in this blog or if you would like some in-depth information about garage door openers, get in touch with us at 866-319-8173.

We can also email you a detailed quotation or even come to your home to explain the full range of garage door openers on the market. We will advise you on the best choice based on your tastes and budget. If you decide to change your garage door, you can get a good idea of what a new door will look like by using our Design Centre, or get some inspiration from our image gallery.

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