Choosing a garage door opener can seem like a monumental task, especially with many local options and a mélange of information on the web. But taking some basic guidelines into consideration, consumers in the Boulder and Arvada areas can feel the weight of choosing the right opener lifted.
Choosing the Right Garage Door Opener:
Type of Drive by Cost and Noise
Choosing a drive mechanism will often solve two of the most common problems homeowners consider when choosing between garage door openers: cost and noise.
- Chain drives are the least expensive, most common option. They use a metal chain, similar to a bike chain, to open and close the garage door.
Typically known for making the most noise, chain drives now have newer options that separate the chain from the track.
- Screw drives operate on a threaded steel rod that turns and opens and closes the door. They come at a higher cost, but because of their relatively simple mechanism, they are a reliable option.
- Belt drives use a rubbery belt on a cog to open and close doors. These models can be more expensive, but are one of the quietest because they don’t use any metal parts.
- Jackshaft drives are attached to the front wall of the garage and require no overhead parts. Cables attached to the garage door lift and close the door using a pulley system. They are quite expensive, and therefore not as common to see, but very quiet.
- Direct drives use an opening system where the motor actually moves along the track with the door. Though they too come with high price tags, but because the only moving part is the motor itself, they are quiet and also tend to come with stellar warranties.
Decoding Power Options
There is a range of power for your garage door opener and it helps to understand a bit about what those letters and numbers mean.
While looking for a garage door opener, you’ll see HP (horsepower) as well as HPS (horsepower similar) and HPC (horsepower comparable) ratings.
Because HP technically isn’t the correct term for non-AC (alternating current) motors, using these horsepower equivalency ratings is just a way to make it easier for consumers to compare the motor power of garage door openers. For all intents and purposes, HPS 1/2 and HPC 1/2 are the same as HP 1/2 (or 1/2 of one unit of horsepower).
Is it Right for Your Door?
Now that you understand a bit about drive and power, you should consider the dimensions of your door and how that will help you make a decision.
Lighter doors: Truth be told, 1/2 HP openers get the job done in most situations and are the most common model. If your door is lightweight aluminum or a quite simple model, 1/2 or even 1/4 models could serve you quite well!
Heavier models: to avoid wear and tear and costly garage door repair, consumers with especially heavy doors may want to consider the next step up and get a 3/4 HP door. If your door is heavy solid wood, taller than 7 feet, longer than a one-car opening, or a particularly well-layered energy efficient model, you may want to consider this next option.
Folks with heavier or oversized doors should also consider using chain drives over other types of drives. Heavier doors can put a strain on rubber belts and on the plastic fittings that screw drives fit into.
Industrial. 1 HP models are typically necessary only for extra-large, long, and/or heavy industrial doors.
Garage doors are now well-equipped with safety features. Most are standard-issue. For example, openers should stop and reverse downward if an infrared motion detector is interrupted or if the door comes into contact with an object.
Openers may come with overhead lights, so you’re not fumbling around in a dark garage after exiting your car.
Also, an added feature of the jackshaft drive is that it has an automatic deadbolt option that activates automatically when the door closes.
One feature that combines safety and technology is rolling code, where the opener selects a new random code each time you activate it. This means less chance for interference or theft of your opener code.
Smart features that work right through your dashboard or phone are increasingly available. These can even afford extra peace of mind to homeowners, even allowing them to see if the door is open or closed.
As always, to avoid unnecessary garage door repairs, reliability is important. Often the less parts that go into a system, the less maintenance it will need. Simpler models such as chain and screw drives have stood the test of time, but they also use metal fittings, which require routine lubrication and maintenance.
Still, with proper consideration and care, the right garage door opener can greatly improve your quality of life :)