If your considering a new electric garage opener for your garage door then you should be aware of the various types of mechanisms that are available on the market today, and how they operate to lift your door up and down.
Basically, garage door openers have three different types of mechanisms available that actually perform the heavy-lifting of the garage door, in both directions. When you couple that with the fact that there are a few different horsepower ratings on the motors available, you can pretty much narrow down what a reasonable cost-effectiveness ratio for your situation will be, and make your purchase based upon that information. Lets look at the various mechanisms available before we get into specific brands of garage door openers.
Chain Drive Openers
The chain drive electric garage opener has been around since the 1920's. The chain mechanism is essentially a continuous-loop that rotates about a gear at each end, and with the aid of the garage door spring mechanism in tension, lifts the door from closed to open position.
When the garage door is moved to the closed position, the weight of the door assists the opener in re-tensioning the spring mechanism so it will be ready for the next command to open. Without the spring mechanism, none of this would be possible unless there was a boost in horsepower of the opener motor and some gear ratio setup other than 1:1.
The chain drive opener has proved itself over many years to be very reliable. Little maintenance is required of the mechanism other than applying lubricants to the chain, and occasionally removing any slack from the chain as it wears. Generally, the electric motors last a very long time, especially if you have a torsion spring in lieu of the extension spring mechanism.
Screw-Drive Shaft Openers
The screw-drive electric garage opener is an innovative mechanism that is quiet and generally maintenance free. No lubrication of the shaft is required, and it is considered a direct-drive mechanism with no gear box at the motor end. They have been in operation for enough years now to prove their worth as a reliable mechanism.
The nice thing about the screw-drive system is that the threaded shaft never moves, but simply rotates about it's main axis. The coupler attached to the garage door moves the door up an down based upon the rotational movement of the threaded shaft. They are generally very smooth and quiet compared to the chain drive system.
The same principles of mechanics and weights apply to the screw-drive garage opener as apply to the chain drive system. If you want a quiet, maintenance free system then consider a screw-drive setup.
The belt-drive electric garage opener is an innovation that utilizes a gilmer type belt inside a "C" channel. The belt is toothed on its interior and mates with a matching steel gear at each end, and the tension on it is adjustable just as it is on the chain-drive system. No lubrication of the belt is necessary and these units are generally maintenance free with the exception of adjusting the belt tension.
Generally, these systems are very quiet and smooth as the belt absorbs any vibration that a chain-drive system can't. The key to the value of these units is the warranty that each manufacturer places on the belt itself.
The same principles of weights and mechanics apply to the belt-drive units as applies to the others described above. Overall, these units have not been on the market long enough to provide a good cross-section of their durability over time. If you are considering one of these systems, the key decision point should be the length of the belt warranty from the manufacturer.
When selecting a door opener type, the weight and size of your garage door will be the most important overall criteria that you will need to consider to properly size the opener to the task of opening and closing your door. If you get this right, you should get many years of trouble free service from the system.
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