There are hundreds of garage door openers to choose from but before you can do that there are two key considerations concerning your garage door itself.
Before deciding on an electric garage door opener check that an able bodied person can effortlessly open the garage door manually as a motor will not do what they can’t. If the door works smoothly and effortlessly, then adding an electric operator should be straight forward.
You will also need to check that your door balances at around chest height to ensure you have the correct spring tension for the operator to lift the door. If the springs are broken or the door is not balanced properly the electric operator will not work effectively. You may need to service the door by lubricating the moving parts or replace the door springs and other moving parts.
The other consideration is to know what type of garage door you have. This is because it is essential for you to choose the correct device to suit your door mechanism to ensure the safe and smooth operation of your garage door.
There are four main types of garage door mechanism: retractable door, canopy door, side hinged door, and sectional door.
Up & Over – Retractable Garage Doors (Tracked)
These are identified by a single door panel with springs either side and horizontal ceiling tracks which support the door in the open position. When the garage door is fully open, the bottom edge of the door is flush with the garage door frame
If you have a retractable up and over garage door then you are in luck, as these are ideal for automation and you can safely use any type of operator. Your main considerations must be the noise (AC or DC motor) and the material, width and weight of the door to ensure you choose an operator powerful enough to lift the door.
Up & Over – Canopy Doors (Trackless)
This door type is not recommended for safe automation although there are options available, I would never recommend or safety and reliability. If you don’t want to replace the entire door and mechanism you can purchase a retractable door mechanism and replace the canopy door gear.
An up & over canopy door is identified by the large spring which runs over the head of the door and when the door is open the garage door panel protrudes by approximately 600mm from the opening.
Side Hinged Doors
These garage doors can be automated using a conversion kit with most operators. You will need to check the operator can be use for side hinged doors so that the auto-reverse safety feature functions normally.
Sectional Garage Doors are identified by hinged panels that allow the door to rise vertically without swinging out as the door opens.
They are perfect garage doors for automation as no additional parts are required and you can use any type of AC or DC operator. To ensure the operator will fit it’s a good idea to check the clearance above the door during its opening cycle then check the minimum clearance requirement for the operator as they vary.
Again your choose an operator powerful enough to lift the door.
A garage door can make up to 25% of the frontage of your house, so making sure you have a garage door to complement your home is important in maximizing its value and appeal.