Clopay’s Guide to Automatic Garage Door Openers

Automatic openers are a popular accessory for many homeowners looking to make entry into their garage more convenient.  Here are the basics you should consider when shopping for an automatic garage door opener, from benefits to drive types and more.

Garage Door Operator

Benefits of Automatic Garage Door Openers

Convenience
One of the most apparent benefits of an automatic opener is convenience. The ability to open or close your garage door without leaving your vehicle means less exposure to rain, snow, wind, and extreme temperatures. For maximum convenience, LiftMaster openers can bring smartphone control to your garage door opener, whether you want to replace your existing opener or just upgrade with a myQ smart-opener accessory.

Lighting
Most garage door openers include lights in the opener that help to illuminate your garage upon entry. This can help reduce situations where you bump into or trip over an object in your garage while heading for the light switch.

Safety
In addition to the safety benefits provided by the operator lighting, a garage door opener can also be safer than manual operation in some instances. For example, if you have an injury or medical condition that limits your mobility or range of motion, an automatic opener can eliminate the potential of further injuring yourself by attempting to open or close the door manually.

Do Garage Doors Come with Openers Included?

Because openers and doors last for different lifespans and both are customizable to the features needed for your home, doors and openers are typically sold separately. Some local garage door dealers may periodically offer promotions that include a paired door and opener.

What Are the Basic Components of a Garage Door Opener?

The Operator is the “brain” of your automatic opener. The operator houses the motor and gears, which use the power provided by your standard 120v outlet to raise and lower your door.

Operator motors can run on either AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current), with AC being the most common. Operator motors that run on DC offer softer starting and stopping, and some also offer a backup battery that can be helpful if there is a power failure.

The Drive Mechanism connects the operator to the trolley, and can come as a belt, chain, or screw. Belt drives are quietest and require the least maintenance. Chain and screw drives can sometimes be cheaper initially but are louder and require more maintenance over their lifespan.

What Power Rating do I need for My Garage Door?

When choosing an automatic opener, the choice of power rating should be based on the size and weight of your door.

  • If you have a standard-size, lightweight door, ¼ horsepower will meet your needs.
  • For most standard-size garage doors, ½ horsepower is recommended as the minimum power rating.
  • If your door is a larger size or is heavy (multiple layers of steel, natural wood with windows), ¾ horsepower is recommended.

 

How to Choose A Garage Door Opener

Clopay does not manufacture garage door openers but recommends LiftMaster® openers for easy and reliable operation. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right automatic opener for your home:

Consider Your Home’s Layout: Is your garage next to a bedroom or a living room? If so, you may want an automatic opener with quiet operation. Consider a belt-drive operator, an operator with a Vibration Isolation System (VIS), or both.

Consider Your Garage’s Lighting: Would you benefit from the convenience and safety of automatic, motion-sensor lighting in your garage? If so, consider a garage door opener that includes a motion detector on the wall button.

Consider Your Garage Door Configuration: If you have multiple garage doors, choose an opener with a three-button transmitter. This will allow you to open and close your doors separately. You should NEVER attempt to use one opener to control multiple doors!

If you have an extended height door, be sure to get a rail that fits your door height. Residential rails come in lengths for 7, 8 and 10ft high doors.

Does your garage door get excessive wear due to sudden starts and stops? Look for an opener with a DC operator, particularly one with soft start and stop features.

Can I Install My Opener Myself?

Experienced DIYers may be able to attach most popular automatic openers on their own, but if you are not confident in your ability to install your opener properly and safely, contact your local Clopay Dealer for installation services.

Download Installation Instructions

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