Like an electronic greeter, your
automatic garage door opener welcomes you home. It allows you to enter the garage
without getting out of your vehicle, thereby enhancing security and protecting
you from the elements. It can even turn on a light as it opens.
Garage door openers come in three
basic types—screw drive, chain drive and belt drive. Screw drive systems
require no chains or belts, and never require adjustment. This how-to focuses
on a screw drive system, although the most basic elements of installation are
similar for the different systems. The motor sizes are usually 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower.
New models include federally-mandated safety features that reverse the door if
it hits an object. Better models also include an infrared beam system that reverses
the door if anything crosses the beam while the door is in operation. For additional
security, features such as "rolling code" systems which reset a new
code each time the opener is used are also available.
The openers come with 40" power cords, which require that electrical outlets be installed within 36" of the motor head. Some municipalities require that openers be wired directly to circuit breakers. All openers must be mounted at least 7' off the floor. Check your local building codes and have the appropriate wiring installed.
Although many homeowners may think
that openers actually lift their garage doors, the heavy work is done by the door
spring system. If the springs are set properly, the door lifts easily and does
not slip down when it is opened to the halfway position. If the door is not properly
balanced, you might need a professional to service the springs. (See Replacing
a Garage Door.)
Assembling the opener is straightforward.
Turn the power head upside down on a piece of cardboard, exposing the mounting hole for the rail.
Hanging The Opener
the header mounting bracket to the frame.
Attach the mounting straps (supplied with the opener) to the appropriate holes in the opener head. Cross the mounting straps in the middle and bolt them together to add stability to the motor mount.
Some openers come equipped either with wall buttons that operate the light and the opener simultaneously, or wall consoles that also allow you to turn on the lights independently and to turn off all power to the system when you go on vacation. These controls must be mounted at least 5' off the ground to keep them out of reach of small children.
The upward and downward torque dials
on the motor must be turned down as far as possible. Test the downward torque
setting by placing a roll of paper towels under the door and allowing the door
to descend. If it just begins to squash the roll before the door reverses itself,
the downward torque is set properly. If not, it must be adjusted. The upward torque
should be set to the lowest possible point that will lift the door.
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