Residential Garage Door Opener Options
Automated garage door installation is a popular project for do-it-yourself people because of the ability to customize and control such variables as noise and speed. In general, you have three types of drives to choose from, each with unique pros and cons. None are the clear best option, meaning the type of garage door opener you choose comes down largely to personal preference. Here are a few advantages to each of the three types of automated garage door opener drives: screw, belt and chain drive.
Screw Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: Screw drive garage door openers are different mechanically than the other two options, as they require a trolley to ride on a threaded-steel rod, which rotates with a motor to move the door. It does not require the same type of pushing and pulling force of traditional belt and chain driven garage door openers.
The advantages: Screw drive openers are simple, and for that reason, preferable for people who want fewer moving parts to maintain. Screw drive units are somewhat sensitive to temperature and are not considered optimal in regions that see drastic shifts in temperature as seasons change. In most cases, they are noisier than belt drive units. Cost-wise, screw drive units tend to be more expensive than belt drive and chain drive openers.
Chain Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: Chain drive units are classic garage door openers and are among the oldest and most common styles, running the door along a track. These units rely on a bicycle-like chain to push the trolley connected to the J-arm, which is attached the garage door itself.
The advantages: One caveat (or advantage, depending on how you look at it) is noise. Because of the design, chain drive units tend to cause a slight vibrations and metal-to-metal noise. For that reason, these units are more popular for detached garages than garages situated beneath a bedroom, for example. Some people prefer a garage door that opens with a bit of racket so they can be warned if someone is about to enter. Over time, chain drive units have become much quieter with newer technologies, such as softer start-and-stop features and DC motors. Chain drives are considered to be the most economical option.
Belt Drive Garage Door Openers
What it is: For many people, belt drives are considered to be the most luxurious option because of their sleekness and relative low level of noise. Belt drive openers use the same mechanisms as chain drive openers, with the exception that instead of a chain, they use a belt — largely eliminating the vibrations and noises associated with chain drive openers. The belts are typically made from fiberglass, steel-reinforced rubber or polyurethane.
The advantages: Belt drive garage openers are the quietest types of openers (almost silent by comparison with chain drive units), although they tend to cost just a bit more than the chain option.
* If you’d like further information and prices on garage door openers, be sure to consult one of our expert garage door repair companies. Find your local expert by entering your zip code in the form in the footer!
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably give little thought to your garage door — until it breaks. Suddenly, you’re forced to make all kinds of decisions about materials, installers and even the types of springs required to safely raise and lower your garage door.
Your garage door springs are more important than you probably realize. Property damage, personal injury and even death are just a handful of the dire consequences awaiting homeowners who gloss over garage door spring selection and safe installation. Yes, actual deaths have been a result of poorly installed springs, which is one of many reasons replacing a broken garage door spring should not be a DIY project. Always contact your local garage door experts when you are dealing with a broken garage door spring.
This article covers the most common spring types:
Different Types of Garage Door Springs
Although there is a broad range of different spring types (and sub-types), the two most popular categories are extension and torsion springs.
1. Extension Springs
Usually located above the upper horizontal tracks on both sides of the door, extension springs are the most common residential garage door spring type. In order to open the door, these springs extend — providing counterbalancing force to support the door. The more force that is applied (via hand or motor), the more the extension spring expands. All extension springs should be paired with safety cables. Safety cables prevent the extension spring from becoming a projectile in the event of a spring, cable or bottom bracket failure. These events can occur at any time while the door is open, closed or in motion. Safety cables should be installed on all extension spring doors.
2. Torsion Springs
Whereas extension springs “extend” or “stretch,” torsion springs use torque to raise garage doors. Attached above the garage opening, torsion springs slowly twist and coil on the shaft whenever force is applied (via hand or motor).
Torsion springs come in a wider variety of options, including various wire sizes and lengths. These variations are calculated specifically dependent upon your garage door weight, height, track radius and more.
Which Garage Door Springs Are Best?
Because extension springs are usually much cheaper, they are often the garage door spring solution in most residential construction projects. It is important to note, however, with more exposed parts, they’re also more dangerous.
By contrast, torsion springs are able to support more weight and last twice longer. They offer greater overall balance, making it easier to open and close your garage door. And with fewer exposed parts, they’re also safer to use. As a result, torsion springs tend to be more expensive.
If you’re in the market for new garage door springs, be sure to factor in the added benefits of a torsion spring system. When it comes to home improvement projects, garage door replacements provide some of the highest returns. You can further boost the ROI of your investment by choosing longer-lasting torsion springs over extensions springs.
Remember that whether through stretching or torque, both types of springs operate using extreme tension. To limit exposure to damage or injury, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a professional garage door installer before attempting any repairs on your own. To find reputable consultants in your area, use the free search tool located in the footer below.
As you pull into the drive after a long day of work and press that garage door button, the last thing you want is to have your garage door fail to open. If the torsion spring is the culprit, you’re facing the need for professional repair. When garage door springs break, many homeowners are left scratching their heads, wondering where they went wrong.
These common problems can lead to damage to the torsion spring and, ultimately, failure of your garage door.
Rust on the Spring
If the spring develops rust, it’s going to lead to failure. When the spring has rust on it, it increases the friction on the coil. It also corrodes the coil and weakens the spring. The good news is you can prevent rust by spraying the coil with some lubricant every three or four months. This will lubricate the spring and prevent rust from building up on it.
Each garage door has a specific spring that is engeneered to operator the door. If the spring being used with your door is not the specified spring length and wire size, it is likely to break and cause failure more quickly.
General Wear and Tear
The most common reason for failure in a garage door torsion spring is simple wear and tear. Torsion springs only last a set period of time. In general, they are rated for about ten thousand cycles, which is one up and down cycle. So, you go through at least two cycles every day, one when you leave in the morning, and one when you return. Most families go through many more than two cycles a day. You could easily use up your ten thousand cycles in just a few number of years.
If you know your family is going to be heavy on the garage door use, consider investing in extended lifespan torsion springs. These will last up to four times as long, and only cost about two times the cost, so the investment is worthwhile.
The last problem you could have with your torsion spring is poor maintenance. The better you maintain your door, the longer the lifespan of your torsion spring will be. In addition to lubricating your door, make sure the door is balanced. To test balance, lift up the door to the halfway point, then release. If the springs are in balance, the door will be still. If you notice problems with balance, have the springs inspected to ensure that you don’t end up with a failure and a car stuck in your garage.