Garage door openers are a modern day convenience and luxury investment invented in 1926 by C.G. Johnson. Since that time, door openers, as well as garage doors, have undergone many refinements. Originally, garage doors were composed of solid wood and were exceptionally heavy and cumbersome to open or close. It was not until much later that steel doors and fiberglass doors became commonplace. A variety of openers have different horsepower ratings in order to handle the variety of doors on the market today.
Gone are the days of the 1940s and 1950s when a home owner would open their door with the remote, as well as the garage doors of multiple neighbors. Because of this and the use of scanner tools being able to detect the transmitted codes of earlier openers, allowing unscrupulous individuals the ability to program a remote and enter the home, manufacturers developed the use of rolling codes. The purpose of this rolling code technology is to enhance the security and privacy of the home owner by preventing scanners the ability to hi-jack the transmitter codes, thereby leaving occupants protected and the contents of the home safe from being stolen. Rolling codes are now universally found on every garage door opener.
Today’s garage door openers have a plethora of additional features unheard of in the “good ‘ol days”. Some of the mainstream features found with every opener are photoelectric sensors, or seeing eyes, pressure sensing technology, and a trolley quick release handle. These features were developed for the safety of small children and preventing the door from crushing an object as it descends. While an injury may still be possible, these changes have greatly increased the safety of the automatic door operation.
The main features to be considered are the type of mechanical drive system the door opener utilizes. The three main types are the proven chain drive, screw drive and belt driven openers. If the speed of which the garage door opens is of major concern, only one type needs to be considered. Screw drive openers generally provide the fastest opening of most garage doors. In addition to being the fastest at opening the door, the screw drive rolling code transmitter opener is one of the most maintenance free of all the openers.
The quietest of all the garage door openers is the belt drive type. Despite seeming flimsy and delicate, the rubber belt is reinforced by steel for durability. Belt drive models also provide virtually maintenance free operation, but often times cost more than their chain driven counterparts.
If cost is the primary concern, then the chain driven openers are the least expensive to purchase. While chain driven models are the least expensive and the most common to find throughout the majority of homes, the durable construction is a long proven method for opening a door. These particular units usually require more routine attention as the opener ages.
The second main feature to be examined is if the opener is able to accept remote keypads and operate with a battery backup. A few openers on the market are not able to accept additional components, but these models are usually found at the bottom of the pricing scale. A large number of automatic door openers include keypads and extra transmitters. A few openers include a backup battery which will allow the continued automatic operation i the event of a power outage. Starting at the high end of the mid-ranged price point openers also allow the transmitter to operate more than one garage door or gate for convenience.
The most important feature of any garage door opener, however, is the horse power rating. Carriage gates or solid wood construction will determine what rating of opener to buy. Should the garage door be constructed from steel, fiberglass or wood composite, a 1/2 horse power rated garage door opener should be sufficient. For maximum longevity and superior lifting capabilities, a 3/4 horse power opener should be considered.
Once a garage door opener has been chosen, it is recommended to have it professionally installed. While the typical home owner may be handy with a screwdriver and hammer, installing a garage door opener can be an entire day or weekend project of back and neck straining work. A professional installer will have the equipment and experience to make quick work of any joist or ceiling reinforcement necessary and install the opener in the least amount of time possible.