As the largest moving piece in your home, the garage door should command a lot of respect and attention. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t understand that garage door openers don’t last forever and never consider the possibility of replacement. If you own a garage door opener that’s more than 15 or 20 years old – and especially a pre-1993 version – then you’ll be interested in learning more about the benefits a replacement can provide.
It’s Time to Replace, When…
The average garage door opens and shuts roughly 1,500 times per year. And while everything might seem fine one day, it’s possible that it’ll give way the next. That’s just the nature of garage door openers. Sometimes they’ll give you a warning sign, while other times they simply decide to stop functioning.
There are things you can do to ensure your garage door opener enjoys a long, safe life, but there are also a number of factors out of your control. However, one of your key responsibilities as a homeowner is to remain aware of what your garage door opener is telling you. Keep an eye (or ear) out so that you know when the time is right. Specifically, here are 5 reasons to replace your garage door opener.
1. 1993 CPSC Rule
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries to children and pets who became entrapped underneath garage doors with automatic openers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) established a new set of rules in 1993 for automatic residential garage door openers.
The rule was enacted as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990 and required that any automatic garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 conform to the various entrapment protection requirements laid out in the legislation.
The 1993 CPSC rule contains a lot of information, but the basic gist is any garage door manufactured after the ruling is required to have a safety reversing mechanism. This feature uses two sensors on either side of the door. If at any time during the closing of the door an object, child, or pet interferes with the beam running between the two sensors, the door immediately stops and reverses.
If you have a garage door opener that was manufactured and installed prior to this ruling, then it’s time to replace it with a new one. You’ll need an opener that’s equipped with a safety reversing mechanism.
Even if you have a post-1993 unit, it’s important that you regularly check the safety reversing mechanism to ensure it’s working properly. You can do this in three simple steps:
- Look to the bottom of each side of the garage door and verify that the sensors are mounted no higher than six inches off the ground. Any higher and the sensors won’t be able to recognize objects in the garage door’s path.
- Use an object to the block one of the sensors and then press the garage door opener button. The door should not close while you’re blocking the sensor.
- Lay an object that’s 1.5 inches or higher on the ground (in the door’s path) and again press the close button. The door should begin to close and then reverse direction.
Most people aren’t aware of how important their garage door’s safety reversing mechanism (or lack thereof) is. Keep these tips in mind and check to ensure you’re compliant..
2. Noise Issues
Every neighborhood or street has that home with the noisy garage door opener. Don’t be that neighbor. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can be a nuisance for everyone. If your garage door opener has been noisy for years, you probably don’t even notice. Take this opportunity to check the noise level of your opener. Is it on par with the neighbors’ garage doors, or does it seem unusually loud?
Older garage door opener models were built with large, noisy components, while newer models use much quieter chains or belt drives. The latter is virtually silent when compared to an old chain unit. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3. Home Security
Older garage door opener models were very low on security features. They had fixed codes that could be stolen using radio frequency identifier devices, which made them a popular entryway into the home for burglars.
On the other hand, modern models use advanced technological features with rolling codes. This means the code changes each time the door is operated. As a result, the code cannot be stolen. This prevents break-ins and enhances security. If you’re still using an older model, then it’s important that you review its security features to know whether your home is fully protected.
4. Battery Backup
Few things are more frustrating than having your car locked in the garage during a power outage. While older models have latches that can be pulled to manually open the door, these mechanisms often get stuck over the years and can be difficult for some individuals to operate.
New models have battery back up features, which are extremely useful during power outages. Your garage door can open and close for many cycles using this battery. While you may only need to use it once a year, it provides peace of mind.
5. No Outside Keypad
Older garage door opener models had manual operation. If you wanted to open the door from the outside (without the remote opener in your vehicle), you’d have to use a key. Newer models feature keypads on the outside of the garage door, which require a simple programmable code for entry. This lets you to give access to people, even when you aren’t home.
Contact a Local Expert Today
It’s easy to take your garage door opener for granted; however, it’s imperative that you give it the attention it deserves. If you have any of these five issues, then it’s time to consider replacing your outdated model with a newer and more functional solution.
A Hacked Child’s Toy Can Open Any Garage Door In Less Than 10 Seconds
When you think of “hacking” you most often associate it with computers, bank information, and other online accounts, but it’s not just these that can be hacked. What if we told you that a child’s toy can be programmed to open your garage door? Well, it’s true! A popular security researcher, Samy Kamkar, demonstrates how he can hack most garage doors using nothing more than a modified electronic toy. The product is the IM-me, which was marketed by Mattel to replicate texting on a single-use device for young girls, but is now discontinued.
Fixed Code Systems Vs. Rolling Code Systems
It’s important to note this hack doesn’t work against every garage door opener—only ones that respond to “fixed code” transmitters. The fixed code garage door system use 8-12 bit codes—that’s 4,096 possibilities. In modern technology security terms, that’s an insignificant level of security.
More secure “rolling code” systems feature advanced technology that prevents hacking of the radio signal that opens your door by selecting a new code from billions of combinations every time you open your door.
If you value not only what’s in your garage, but the safety and security of your home and family, then you’d better make sure your garage door opener uses a secure system. To ensure your garage door opener is secure, upgrade to a system that uses rolling codes, hopping codes, Security+ or Intellicode. Each time the remote is activated it automatically changes access codes, which prevents illegal entry from any type of access code signal duplication device like Kamkar’s. Current products from garage door manufacturers’ Overhead Door®, LiftMaster and Genie offer up to date security. Contact your local Garage Door Repair company to find out more about these products.
Do You Have A Vulnerable Garage Door System?
In this video, Kamkar explains how to determine if you have vulnerable garage door system.