Garage door openers are usually the largest moving object in a person’s home. There our both commercial and non-commercial openers to choose from. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the non-commercial types, used for the home.
There are many different types of units on the market today. Most are, of course, both automatic and remotely activated. Usually, one comes with a button on the wall of the person’s home inside the garage, for when opening the door from the inside. The basic construction of the automatic door is either wood or metal paneling with wheels on either side of the panels.
What Are Your Options?
Keypads can also be installed just outside the door, on the door jam to open it from the outside without a remote.
Just as a note here some commercial openers are opened by sensor when the car approaches the door.
And some by rollover sensor when the vehicle rolls over a tube sensor on the ground to activate the garage door, when a car approaches.
Keychain remotes are also available on some models.
How Do They Work?
The wheels slide along in tracks that are located on both sides of the doorway.
An electronic opener is attached to the door paneling and pulls the door up the track to an open position.
Please note, contrary to popular belief the opener isn’t the force that opens the door entirely, it merely initiates and guides the opening of the door.
There are springs on most garage doors that are the actual force that opens the door using counter-balancing.
This counter-balancing in conjunction with the door opener lifts the door for the user.
Where Do You Buy?
Most consumers will visit their local hardware store and purchase the electronic opener itself with the remote and open switch included. They usually have the door paneling, tracks, wheels and springs already.
Others choose to buy new online, or used from a friend or local dealer.
What About Features?
Some of the features that you’ll be looking for in an opener may be a courtesy light which lights up and stays lit before and after the door is opened.
Also you may want a remote lockout feature which can lock the door when you are away on vacation.
Wireless keypads are also a nice option.
You may choose solenoid operated deadbolts for the door panels for more security.
Some openers have sensors to detect monoxide fume build up and will automatically open the door when it senses too much monoxide build up.
Newer models will have open and close features that you can access over the Internet or with an iPhone app.
Also available are wireless fingerprint keypads that can be installed outside on the door jam, which can be activated by pressing your finger only once. This is great for latchkey kids so they don’t have to remember a pin number.
Are They Safer Today?
Since 1982 all openers have a quick release latch to separate the automatic opener from the door panels. All units since 1982 are required to reverse direction when confronting an obstruction too. The wall button on the inside should be mounted at least 5 feet from the ground to keep out of reach of small children. Also children should not be able to play with the remote.
As a side note most commercial units have an electric eye located anywhere from 6 inches to a foot and a half off the ground. Why they do this is in case someone is standing directly in the path of the door or if someone is laying on the ground unconscious in the path of the door. Automotive shops have this eye so that if a car is idle or parked in the garage doorway, the door does not close on the car itself.
How Much Will It Cost?
Garage door units range in price from as cheap as $100 to as high as thousands depending on features. I recommend having a professional install the unit. It is not difficult but for most people getting a professional handyman, which does not cost a lot, to install it for them, will save themselves a lot of heart ache and money. I hope this article was very informative and that you enjoyed reading it.