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The Ultimate Guide to Today’s Garage Door Opener Features & Options

If you’re of a certain age, you likely remember what it used to take to open a garage door: putting the car in neutral, running out to lift the door, parking your car inside, and then manually lowering the door behind it. Those days are thankfully long gone, and today consumers have a wide range of garage door openers to choose from.

Overhead Door Co. of Indianapolis & Muncie offers a full line of automatic garage door openers, one of which is sure to be perfect for your needs. Let’s take a look at the different garage door openers now available, as well as all the options and features most modern models have.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Garage Door Opener

Before you dive in and buy a new garage door opener, it’s important to know what your basic needs are in terms of power, safety features, and installation requirements.

  • Horsepower. How powerful your new garage door opener needs to be depends on the size and weight of the garage door. For instance, if the garage door is wider than 20 feet, you’ll need at least a 1/2-HP opener, the most popular power rating for openers. Opening and closing speeds also vary according to horsepower, but the average opener lifts a garage door about six to eight inches per second. A good rule of thumb is to go for an opener that’s a little overpowered for your door. Heavier garage doors with insulation call for at least 3/4 HP, and solid wood doors need a 1-HP model.
  • Extension kits. If your garage door’s height is greater than seven feet, you’ll need an extension kit so the door opener can handle it.
  • Installation. While it’s certainly possible to install a garage opener yourself, hiring a professional is a relatively inexpensive option if you don’t have the time or skills to do it.

Types of Garage Door Openers

There are three main types of garage door openers:

  1. Chain-driven models are one of the most affordable and offer highly dependable performance.
  2. Belt-driven openers use a metal-reinforced belt to open the garage door. More expensive than chain-driven ones, they offer superior, quiet operation.
  3. Screw-driven models have a steel rod that runs on a lifting device. These models are noisier than chain- and belt-driven models but can be a good, affordable, and low-maintenance option.

Safety Features

No matter which type of garage door opener you choose, safety is an important feature to consider. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans who thought their garage door was safe get injured. Pinched fingers are the most common injury, followed by being struck by a falling garage door and lacerations from broken garage door windows. A trusted professional can ensure your garage door and opener are both installed safely. Here are the safety features to look for.

  • Automatic reverse. Federal law since 1993, automatic reverse switches the direction of a closing garage door when it encounters an unexpected object. The two most common mechanisms are electronic sensors at the base of the door and photoelectric eyes mounted at the door’s threshold that sense when something obstructs it. If you still have an older model garage door opener, investing in a newer version ensures you’re getting the latest in this safety technology.
  • Rolling code. The latest wireless technologies are great, but they also leave your opener vulnerable to hacks. Rolling code technology randomly chooses a new code every time you use the opener. Standard on all garage door openers since the early ’90s, rolling code protects your car, your home, and most importantly, you and your family.
  • Manual release. There are still times you’ll need to revert to the old-fashioned way of opening the garage door by hand. Modern garage doors are much heavier than older ones, but a spring system offers enough counter-balance so the door can be manually lifted. A manual release comes in handy if there’s a power loss at your home. It’s also a great diagnostic tool for checking the garage door is properly balanced.
  • Security lights. Security lights turn on automatically when the garage door opener is activated. They offer many benefits, including avoiding hitting something in the garage, making it easy to navigate the garage once you exit the car, and deterring intruders. While many models have a security light as a standard feature, newer models are connected to a motion detector, so the light also goes on when you enter the garage from an interior door.

Another feature to consider is a battery backup. Together with manual releases, battery backup ensures you can open your garage door during a temporary power outage. Once the power’s back on, the battery backup begins to recharge itself.

Central Indiana Garage Door Openers

Overhead Door Co. of Indianapolis and Muncie proudly offers the finest in garage door and openers sales and service for our residential and commercial customers. To learn more or to upgrade your existing garage door opener, contact us today at 317-489-0825 or 765-215-2932.

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