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How to choose a garage door opener? This is a common question asked by homeowners planning to buy this device, which improves security and gives easy access to your home. However, with so many options available, the decision may become a bit overwhelming for you. So, follow this guide and understand the major factors that you should consider in order to pick the perfect garage door opener for your residence.
Consider the type
All garage door openers follow a similar mode of operation. They feature a motor which drives a trolley over a rail. The garage door is connected to this trolley or carriage, that swings it open or shuts it close. The major difference between the various garage door opener types lies in the manner of trolley movement via the motor.
Photo from Oleg Alexandrov Wikimedia Commons [CCO]
1. Chain-drive garage door opener
This model comprises a metal chain which operates a trolley that raises or lowers the door. You can go for this version if your budget is a concern. However, remember that chain-drive models cause more noise and vibration as compared to others. If your garage is located outdoors, further away from your interiors such as the bedroom or living room, then you can easily opt for this category. They are perfect for heavy, oversized, insulated, and one-piece wooden garage doors. Nowadays, you can get improved chain-drive models which feature chain separators that stop the chain from hitting the track, thereby reducing wear and tear, noise, and vibration.
2. Belt-drive garage door opener
Similar to the modus operandi of the former, these models use a belt instead of a chain, that ensures a quieter and smoother function. They also include fewer moving parts, ensuring easier and faster maintenance in the long term.
3. Screw-drive garage door opener
It comes with a threaded steel rod which rotates to drive the trolley, that in turn raises or lowers the garage door. Even these models are quieter than their chain-drive counterparts and feature few accessories, thereby, reducing maintenance needs and costs.
4. Direct-drive garage door opener
Direct-drive openers feature a motor and trolley combined into one unit, where the motor performs the function of the carriage and moves along the track — to operate the garage door. With only one moving part, they are the quietest types of garage door openers and also require minimal maintenance. However, these models are quite expensive due to their compact build and computerized design. Additionally, direct-drive models are the types that offer maximum and even lifetime warranties.
Note: You will find garage door openers that operate either via AC or DC current. But the DC models produce less noise, minimum vibration, and can operate even when there is a power outage via battery backup.
Consider the Horsepower
When buying garage door openers, always check the horsepower (HP) ratings on the label. This figure gives you an idea about the lifting power of any particular model. Normally, homeowners can go for models with ratings between 1/2 HP and 11/2 HP. Higher the power, lesser will be the strain on your motor.
The 1/2 HP models are capable of lifting the majority of door types. But if you have a heavily insulated, wooden, or a one-piece door, then this power rating may strain your motor, leading to faster wear and tear. In such cases, go for a 1-HP motor. They will ensure maximum efficiency and power, even if you use them to operate the heaviest, oversized, and even industrial garage doors.
Consider additional features
Regular garage door openers include standard features such as wall-mounted buttons, remotes, and keypads to help you operate your garage door. They also come with a manual release option which allows you to control the door manually and a security light that gets activated and turns off after a set time period.
Sophisticated models might feature additional features, such as:
- Home automation system, which allows you to operate the opener from any location
- Miniature remotes that can easily fit in your pocket
- Openers with Wi-fi, which can be connected to your home’s Wi-fi system
- Compatibility with your smartphones and gadgets
- Compatibility with your vehicle
- Auto-close option which closes the door automatically after a set time frame
- Battery backup which ensures that your opener can function even during a power cut
You should be careful when you choose a garage door opener for your home. These are the devices that control one of the largest, heaviest moving parts in your property. In fact, as per legal requirements, you should change all openers made before 1993. Additionally, when you install a garage door opener, you can either get it done via a professional or as a DIY project. Just read the manual carefully, follow all the steps, and you are all set! All you need are a few handyman skills and maybe, a helper, who can help you out in the execution of the project.