Add convenience and safety to your garage
If you're tired of having to get out of your warm car in the middle of a
snowstorm to manually open the garage door, it;s time to consider installing
an automatic garage door opener. Say goodbye to the frustrating days of
bending and lifting. Garage door openers not only give you the ability to open
the door with the touch of a button, they enhance safety and security as well
-- features that are particularly important if you have children running in
and out of the garage with bikes, skateboards and basketballs. Installing one
can be an all-day task for a motivated do-it-yourselfer, so you may want to
consider calling a professional if your electrical and mechanical skills
aren't up to the task. Consider the following questions as you shop to help
you choose the ideal opener:
Types, Controls and Safety
There are three different kinds of garage door openers, screw drive, chain drive and belt drive. Each operates a little differently, so make sure you know the differences before you purchase. If you have a bedroom or office located above or behind your garage, you'll probably want to keep the noise level to a minimum, so bear that in mind as you compare types. You'll also want to look closely at the types of controls that are available. While single-button remotes tend to be standard, some remotes feature multiple buttons to control different garage doors. You can even have keypads installed outside the house for added convenience. Regardless of what type of door and control you choose, make sure you look for safety features to help prevent accidents.
Types: Chain-drive garage door openers use a chain attached to a metal trolley to open the door. These units are amongst the most common. Look for units that hide the chain to help reduce noise. Screw-drive openers feature fewer moving parts and use a threaded-steel rod to raise and lower the door. Belt drives use rubber belts to open the door, eliminating the metal-on-metal contact that occurs in the other drives. Use the chart below to compare and contrast the benefits of each different type:
|Opener Type||Benefits||Points to Consider|
Controls: Remote access is the primary benefit of installing a garage door opener. No longer will you have to stop, get out of your car, raise the garage door and then get back into your car to park. While basic one-button remotes are very effective, there are a number of additional options you may want to consider. If you have a two- or three-car garage and plan to install multiple garage door openers, you may want remotes that feature buttons to control each one. If you're worried about the battery running out on the remote or you want to be able to open the garage doors when you're outside and don't have a controller handy, consider installing an outdoor wireless keypad. Simply enter the security code to open the garage door -- a very handy feature to have if you accidentally lock yourself out. Alleviate security concerns by purchasing a unit that features rolling-code technology. These controls cycle through billions of possible access codes to choose a different one every time, preventing would-be thieves from locking onto your opening code and gaining access when you're away.
Safety: Garage doors, while incredibly convenient, can also pose some
dangers when opening and closing, so look for a number of safety features
before you make your purchase. Most garage door openers feature standard
sensors that automatically stop the door from closing if something, be it a
bike, toy or child, gets in the way. They also tend to have automatic lights
that activate as soon as the door begins to open, ensuring that you'll be able
to make it safely into the house without tripping when it's dark outside. For
further enhanced safety, look for units that feature timed reversing systems.
These systems stop the door from closing and automatically reverse it if it
hasn't closed entirely within 30 seconds.
Manual Emergency Release: This feature is a necessity when you lose power, as it allows you to manually open the garage door by pulling a cord that detaches the door from the opener. It also comes in handy if something somehow gets stuck underneath the door and causes a malfunction.
Speed: If you're frequently in a hurry or tend to get impatient, look for doors that open faster. Openers can lift doors anywhere from 7" per second to 14" per second.
Motor: Motors that use DC current instead of AC current tend to run more quietly, an important quality if the door is located below a living area. If you have an especially large garage door, look for a motor that features at least 1/2 hp (horsepower).
Force Guard Control: This feature enhances safety by allowing you to select the minimum amount of force needed to fully open or close the garage door.
Vacation Setting: Units with this feature allow you to disable the opener while you're away to prevent it from responding to any transmitter, helping you rest easy knowing that no one can gain easy access to your house.
Have a The Home Depot specialist install your garage door opener for you.
Purchase a universal remote control if you need an extra one for your second car or to have a spare on hand in case one gets lost.