Garage Door Openers 101
The opener is the electric appliance that opens and closes the garage door . They can be activated by push button, key switch or by a radio remote control. The radio frequencies have been refined to prevent the doors from automatically opening. Remember, the spring is actually the “motor” of the door. The electric opener or your arm is the “cruise control” of the door.
The weight of the door is supposed to be handled by the spring. If your door is becoming harder to open, it does not always mean you need new springs or an opener. Assuming there are no other impediments, you may only need a spring adjustment.
There are three types of drive mechanisms on openers: Belt, Chain, and Screw.
Openers having either a belt drive or chain drive move the belt/chain along a path between a gear on top of the motor of the opener and another gear located where the opener attaches to the door frame. You may not be able to see this on an installed opener, but it is there.
The garage door is attached by a “trolley” that moves along a track and is attached to the door by a bar called an arm. As the motor turns the gear, the belt or chain is moved by this rotating gear thus moving the trolley and opening or closing the door.
However, the screw drive has a steel screw inside aluminum housing. As the motor turns the screw in the housing, the trolley is drawn toward or pushed away from the motor, opening or closing the door. All three, when new, have the same strength in lifting ability. Therefore, the major determinant is quietness of operation over time.
The screw drive is very quiet for the first year or so but as the aluminum housing is worn by the friction against the steel, the housing becomes loose. What starts as a gentle whirring sound, soon becomes a deafening grinding sound, loud enough that a conversation is impossible while the opener is running. Lubrication will dampen the sound but it will return eventually.
The chain drive parts work with other metal parts and in time will wear. Metal gears driving a metal chain will get noisy quickly. Keeping the chain lubricated with petroleum jelly, or something similar, will increase its life but will not maintain quiet.
The belt drive is better than either. It is much quieter because there is no metal rubbing metal. The belt is the same material as the timing belt in your car but doesn’t experience the same RPMs. It is the only one of the three where a life time warranty is given by manufacturers.
One-third Horsepower openers will work on 95% of the doors out there, even ones 16 feet wide. Despite this, manufacturers put all of the bells and whistles on the one-half HP and higher doors such as timed lights and vacation switches. Most of the popular openers are three-fourths horsepower because they are not much more than the lower power openers, provide you with better features, and life time warranties.
There are also DC power motors on the market which allows for battery back-up systems that will open and close your door during power outages. Always makes sure that the locking mechanism on the door is disabled when your opener is operable. If it is not and someone accidentally locks the door, serious damage will be done to the opener and possibly to the door itself. Always makes sure the lift handle is on the bottom of the door inside and out in case the door needs to be worked by hand.
Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors serves a 50-mile radius around Pittsburgh. We handle all your needs when it comes to garage doors and openers! We also provide entry doors and storm doors that are installed in front of the entry door to protect it.
Entry Door Maintenance Guide
Maintenance on your entry door is essential to keep it looking as beautiful as possible and making sure you don’t have to replace them more frequently than usual. Different materials require a different kind of maintenance and this is everything you need to know!
Once or twice a year, wash the outside of your door with a mild detergent. It is a good idea to apply a liquid silicone wax at the same time you wash the door. A liquid car wash & wax product that does both in one step works wonders and can be found at most auto part stores. Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash and Wax is a great option!
Remember this rule: If you can use it on your car, you can use it on your door.
If your area uses salt on the roads in the in the winter and your door gets wet, you should rinse the bottom of your door clean to prevent the salty water from hurting your product.
We also recommend that you don’t use a paste wax. Paste waxes tend to dry in the wood grain texture and beveled edges of the door and are difficult to buff out. This leaves behind a dried residue in the low spots which will ruin the aesthetic appeal of your door.
Apply the clear coat/paint annually or every other year depending upon the amount of sunlight your door receives. The clear coat is a two-part urethane to protect from the sun’s UV rays.
Finish is usually available in pint or gallon size from the manufacturer or a paint shop. We suggest using a water based clear coat. If the clear coat is not maintained, the sun will damage your door similar to a “sun burn” causing it to peel and pull off the stain finish in the process.
The only way to repair this damage is stripping the door completely. Consistent maintenance will prevent this extreme damage from happening.
Wipe away dust and dirt monthly with furniture polish. On painted wood doors periodically check for blistering, cracking or peeling, particularly around any fixtures on the door.
The painted surface keeps water from damaging the wood. If the paint is coming away or is not sealed, water can soak into the wood and damage it over time.
If your door has a stained finish, check to see if it is still water repellent. If the door is becoming discolored, and water soaks into the wood, it is time to refinish the door. There are chemical treatments on the market that will rejuvenate discolored wood, for example polyurethane clear coat.
Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors serves a 50-mile radius around Pittsburgh. We handle all your needs when it comes to entry doors! We also provide storm doors that are installed in front of the entry door to protect it.