One way to add convenience to your garage is to purchase a garage door opener. A garage door opener allows you to open the garage without having to step outside in inclement weather. There is more to purchasing and installing a garage door opener than just picking one up at the home improvement center. It is easy to pay too much for a garage door opener that exceeds your needs, but it also is a waste of money to purchase a door opener that will not handle your garage door. Take a few moments to evaluate your situation and choose the right garage door opener with confidence.
Measure the width and height of your garage door with a tape measure. Write down what material your garage door is made from. Although the door springs balance the weight and do the actual job of lifting the door, wood doors and insulated steel doors are heavier than a standard uninsulated steel door. Doors that are 10 feet wide by 8 feet tall are single-car garage doors. Doors larger than this are considered double-car garage doors.
Look for an opener that has the horsepower necessary for your garage door size. A 1/3-horsepower opener can handle most doors 10 feet wide by 8 feet tall. Single-car garage doors do not require a heavier horsepower. Standard steel uninsulated double-car garage doors also can use a 1/3-horsepower opener without straining the motor. If you have a wooden or insulated double-car garage door up to 16 feet wide and 8 feet tall, choose a 1/2-horsepower opener. For doors that are more than 16 feet wide, purchase a 3/4-horsepower opener.
Choose between the various drive models of openers. Single-car garage doors can use a belt, screw or chain-driven opener without damaging the motor. Screw and belt-driven openers are less noisy than chain openers. Chain openers, on the other hand, are less difficult to repair for the average homeowner. Double-car garage doors should have either screw-drive or chain-driven openers.
Decide whether you want to install the opener yourself or have the opener professionally installed. Self-installed openers use rails that come in three pieces that you assemble. A professional model has a one-piece rail. Though there is no difference in the strength or durability of either rail, assembling the rail correctly is vital to the proper operation of the opener. Most homes are now pre-wired for openers, which makes the task of hooking up the opener sensors and wall button less difficult for the do-it-yourself homeowner.
Determine what extras you want for the garage door opener. Outside keypads and optional remote controls are available for all makes and models of garage door openers.