An automatic garage door opener brings convenience and safety to your home and allows you to easily go in and out of your garage without having to lift up those heavy garage doors yourself. If you are ready to switch from a manual garage door to an automatic garage door, this guide will help you consider the many factors involved when choosing a garage door opener for your unique needs.
Chain Driven Mechanisms
The traditional, and most common, choice for garage doors is the chain driven type of garage door opener. These operate by using a chain (similar to a bicycle chain) that pushes or pulls a metal trolley. The trolley, when pushed by the chain, opens or closes the garage door. While the noise that this type of garage door tends to create can be a negative factor for some homeowners, others may appreciate the noise for security reasons.
The noise that the garage makes serves as an audio warning, alerting the homeowner to the fact that the garage is being opened or closed. If you are concerned about noise, newer units of this type usually use soft start-and-stop technology with DC motors and can be somewhat quieter than the traditional, older units. If cost is your primary concern, chain driven systems are your safest bet.
Belt Operated Mechanisms
Belt-driven garage door openers are the fastest growing choice for garage doors because they have a very quiet operation and they are the smoothest type of opening mechanism available to buyers, producing little vibration. The design is very similar to chain drive models but employs the use of polyurethane, fiberglass, or steel-reinforced rubber. This is a good option for heavy garage doors, as the mechanism is as strong as a steel-belted tire. If you are tired of your noisy garage door opener, or have living space adjacent to or above your garage, belt operated mechanisms may be the perfect choice.
Screw Driver Mechanisms
A screw driven garage door opener uses a lifting mechanism, which moves along a threaded steel rod. You will find these units to be very powerful and reasonably quiet. Screwdriver mechanisms are often touted as requiring less maintenance than other types because they do not use many moving parts, but this may not always be entirely accurate.
The metal rod works against a drive area with plastic teeth which are used to catch the threading. This requires lubrication every few months, as the metal rod can cause wear on the plastic teeth and eventually strip them. These units provide the quickest movement-- around 10 to 12 inches per second, compared to about 7 inches per second, which is more typical. If you live in an environment with large variations in temperature between summer and winter, you may want to look into another option due to the fact that the extreme transition in temperature will cause the rod to wear quickly.
Direct Drive Units
Direct drive garage door openers are claimed to be the very quietest type of garage door opening system on the market. Due to the fact that the motor is the only moving part of the system, they make a lot less noise than other choices. These are less common than other models, but are proving to be a quality option that is gaining in popularity. The motor moves along a stationary chain that is mounted on a rail overhead. These cost roughly the same as belt driven units and come with a lifetime guarantee.
While each type of garage door opener provides its own unique features, there are other things to consider when you are choosing the right garage door opener for your home. You also need to consider things like wall controls, various safety and security features, lights, battery backups, remote control types, and warranty (full units, as well as parts). You should also consider how easily, and at what price, a garage door repair professional could fix your opener in the event that it breaks. You don't want to be stuck with a garage door opener that is difficult to repair or breaks down often.
For more information, contact a local garage door repair and installation company.