One of the main reasons for upgrading an electric garage door opener is to enjoy more modern functions as well as a much quieter operation. After all, there are things like smartphone tech and ways of mounting a system to ensure the quietest operation.
If you are already confused, don’t fret because the goal of this blog is to answer all questions about this matter!
Begin with Basics
The garage door is often the most common point of entry for many homes. The garage door opener has the job of lifting and closing that door, sparing owners the need to do so themselves. That means that the purpose of any garage door opener is to make your life easy, as well as safe.
To do that, though, means that the garage door has to be properly balanced using either a torsion or extension spring system. Either of them will serve as a counterweight to the door’s own weight which is usually between 90 to 350 lb. or 40 to 160 kilos. When balance properly, however, a garage door feels as it weights only 8 to 10 lb. or 3 to 4 kilos, which almost anyone can safely and easily lift manually.
Keep in mind that any garage door opener is designed to lift a much heavier load, like up to 225 lb. (100 kilos), AND to push that same weight downward. If there are problems, including issues with the safety systems, people or objects can easily be harmed. So, checking balance is a must!
Is it easy to determine if the system is balanced properly? Actually, it is! Just close the garage door and disconnect it from the opener. Then, try to open the door on your own – but only about half way. When released, it should remain open and not move. If it falls back down or flies open all of the way, the system is unbalanced and you’ll need the spring system attended to.
We recommend you contact us immediately to remedy this situation.
Key Terms to Know
Now, we are about to get into more technical aspects of garage door opener ownership, and it is best if you are familiar with several key terms associated with them. As noted in the title, the focus is on motor sizes, and that is the terminology on which we’ll focus.
When speaking about most motorized products, you will hear a lot about horsepower, abbreviated as HP. You will also hear about the electrical currents. There are two types of electrical current used for garage door openers:
- AC (alternating current)
- DC (direct current)
It is only alternating current measured in HP, while direct current is described in newton force (N). And though you might say, “Well, I’m already confused,” understand that, though different, equivalencies do exist.
Let’s begin with biggest differences between them:
- AC-type motors remain at the same speed
- DC motors start slowly, increase in speed, and then reduce their speed before stopping
Is one better? No, both will be the same in terms of performance. However, if it is about quiet operation, it is the DC models that win.
Choosing Motor Sizes
So, you understand the types of currents that garage door opener motors use, but what sizes are available in residential options?
- AC motors – They range between ⅓, ½ or ¾ HP
- DC motors – These are found as 500 or 700 newtons.
As a comparison of what those mean, the ½ HP motor and the 500 N motor will perform similarly, while the ¾ HP and 700 N are alike. The most common size in residential garage door openers are those of ½ HP or 500 N.
Can the larger motor sizes be used for residential purposes? The commercial and industrial garage doors are often much larger and used more often. This necessitates motor sizes of ½ HP to 4, or even 5 HP.
And as we just mentioned door sizes, you are probably wondering how to factor that into your calculations. What we can say is this:
- Single doors, commonly sized 9 x 7 ft. (2.7 x 2.1 m), require a ½ HP or 500 N motor
- Double garage doors, commonly sized 16 x 7 ft. (4.9 x 2.1 m), require a ¾ HP or 700 N motor
- Solid wood doors typicall do best with a ¾ HP or 700 N motor
Also noted that doors are “rated” in terms of expected motor life. You will have options like seven to 15 years from which to choose. It is important to be clear on this when pricing a door because the longer life often comes with a higher lifespan, but that is not always the case. Do your research and find out the specifics.
Accessories can also effect your options, and can include everything from remote switches and door monitors, any of which boost the price. Obviously, many lower price are without all the accessories and it is best to get detailed explanations about options and specifications before choosing.
So, you know about motor sizes and specs, but there is a final criteria you’ll want to consider – connectivity. Almost all door openers on the market, regardless of size, will have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity or are able to be adapted to provide it.
Should you? With it you can control the door from anywhere, monitor its use, and more.
You can meet with us at Doan’s Overhead Doors, and have these capabilities explained to you. Even if it is not important to you right now, knowing such functions are available can be useful. Note: Less costly openers may not have every type of option available.
It’s to remember several key factors when narrowing down options and making choices about garage door motors and systems, and at the top is safety.
Any door must remain properly balanced. That means you should be able to lift it with one hand. Here is the procedure to evaluate your door:
- Close the door and disengage it from the system by pulling on the red emergency release cord.
- Open the door using the lift handle located on the bottom or 2nd from the bottom section. Lift with your knees!
- Stop opening at about 4 ft. (1.2 m) from the ground and release your grip. The door should remain at this height.
- If all is well, simply, reengage your door opener by backing up the fixture that pulls the door, and reconnect the system by operating the door from your remote.
- If all is NOT well, get in touch with us, we are specialized in garage door systems.
If You Need to Know More…
Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-780-3883. It always a pleasure to speak with you about our complete selection of electric garage door openers. Our goal is to assist you in finding the system that will best suit your needs and your budget. Additionally, we can provide a quotation by email.