Garage door openers: The basics

In 2017, it’s rare to come across a garage owner who doesn’t use an electric garage door opener. I mean, come on, they make our lives so much easier! We don’t even have to get out in the rain/snow to open the garage door… They’re a great invention.
Now, while they are very durable, you may have to change parts or replace your garage door opener at some point. So, here’s a useful article to help you find your feet when speaking with a garage door specialist.

You might be surprised to learn that most garage door issues specialists receive calls about are actually related to the garage door opener or its accessories!

The door opener

There are many different types of door openers available on the market. The two most popular models are chain drive (like a bike) and belt drive, which uses a rubber belt reinforced with steel fibres. Belt drives are quieter than chain drives. There are two types of garage door openers, AC and DC. AC garage door openers are cheaper, and thus the most popular choice. DC garage door openers start up slowly, increase as they open the door and then slow back down towards the end. DC garage door openers are the only ones you can equip with backup batteries.
The level of power also varies, most people opt for either 0.5 HP or 0.75 HP (horsepower). A well-installed properly balanced garage door should have a perceived weight of no more than 10 lbs., therefore a 0.5 HP garage door opener should be sufficient. Then you need to consider the trolley, this is the aspect that pushes and pulls the door. You can opt for a 1-piece or a 3-piece, a 1-piece trolley is sturdier.
There are other components to consider, such as the gear system. Yet another reason why a properly balanced door is so important, unbalanced doors will wear down the plastic gears much more quickly. And finally, the electronics. Like most appliances, garage door openers function with electronics, if the logic board burns out, you may need to change it.

Opener accessories


  • Remote controls: As long as your garage door opener isn’t more than 25 years old, your remote control should be equipped with rolling code technology. This means a new code is generated every time you use the control, so no-one else can pick up the signal.
  • Control panels: Your garage door opener might come with a control panel or a door control button. Control panels are useful as you can block remotes from accessing your garage door if you’re going to be absent for an extended period of time.
  • Automatic reversal systems: All garage door openers in North America have been equipped with two safety features since 1993. One is mechanical and stops the door from closing if the motor senses a resistance, the other is photoelectric and senses if something is in the way of the door as it’s closing.


Optional features


  • Wi-Fi connectivity: If your garage door opener has Wi-Fi connectivity you can download an app and operate (and monitor) your garage door from anywhere in the world.
  • Exterior keypad: Installed outside the garage, this provides access to your home through a 4-digit PIN. Harder for kids to lose than a house key!
  • Laser parking accessory: A practical way to make sure you don’t scuff your car when parking in the garage.
  • Mini remote: Attach it to your keychain and no-one will ever know it’s there!


To learn more…

If you need any more help regarding garage door openers, just give us a call at (603) 833-7135. As garage door specialists, we’re the best people to advise you about your options, we’ll even come out to your home and show you our range if you like. Or you can request a quotation online.
If you’re also thinking about changing your garage door, why not have a look at our image gallery or play around with our design center?