There’s going to come a time in most of our lives when we’ll need to go shopping for a new automatic garage door opener. If your time has come, how do you know which of the different types you should choose. Easy, you choose the one that comes with the most advantages! Once you start looking you’ll find there are different drive mechanisms: chain‑drive, belt‑drive, screw‑drive, and our newest model, the Jackshaft.
Now, let’s get to which of the drives has the most advantages. The answer to this will sometimes depend on your specific garage space, but most of the time, a garage door opener with a belt‑drive comes with the most advantages. Let’s look at why.
A Word About Opener Motors First
We’re just going to briefly talk about the two different kinds of motors you’ll see in garage door openers. There’s the direct current, or DC, motor and the alternating current, or AC, motor. Overall, neither type of motor will open or close your garage door any faster. They take about the same amount of time to do this. The difference comes in how they each start and finish the process. The DC motor starts and finishes slowly but speeds up in the middle of the cycle. The AC motor maintains the same speed throughout the cycle.
There are also a couple of other big differences. DC motors are known for being quieter than their counterparts. They can also come with a back-up battery installed, which is not the case for an AC motor.
Back to Belt‑Drives: How They Work
Belt‑drive garage door openers have a trolley that is situated above the center of the garage door on the ceiling. The belt itself, which moves on the track to open and close the door, is made of rubber that has metal wires running through it, much like some kinds of tires. There can also be other materials found in the rubber, such as polyurethane or fiberglass.
This system has a track on the ceiling that is T‑shaped for the belt to travel over. To get the right tension on the belt, you can adjust it with a wrench. You’ll need to have a motor that powers the whole opener system. It should have about .5 or .75 HP. Typically a double garage door (16’ x 7’) needs more HP to power the system because it weighs more.
Your garage door opener has to be balanced properly for it to work right. You can check that everything is functioning how it should be by trying to open your garage manually. You should be able to easily open the door with one hand. It should feel like the door weighs no more than 10 lbs. If it feels heavier or is hard to open, you may need to have a professional come and check to see that everything is balanced and see if there are repairs needed.
Belt‑drives are not as loud as other types of opener drives. Take a chain‑drive, for example. The chain is made of metal that travels across its track, also metal usually, making all kinds of loud noises. There’s also a lot of shaking and vibrating, which causes additional noise. Belt‑drives reduce the noise level by up to 30%. The smooth rubber loop moves around the track, staying much quieter than other types of drives. Those who have bedrooms over the garage may want to make their openers even more quiet by installing DC motors. LiftMaster’s 8550W is one that works well for this.
Another big advantage to having a belt‑drive opener is that the rubber belt doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. When the opener is installed, the technician will grease the drive sprockets at the ends of the track where the belt turns around. There’s no need to grease those again for at least seven years. Chain‑drives will require regular lubrication that should be done about twice a year.
Most of the time, advantages will come at a cost. And this is true of the advantages that a belt‑drive gives you too. Belt‑drives are usually more expensive than the other types of drives because of the benefits that you get. Most people find that it’s worth it to pay a bit more though, when you’re getting something that’s better.
Making Your Belt‑Drive Garage Door Opener Even More Quiet
Make openers mounted on wood joists as secured as possible.
When openers are mounted on wood joists, they can sometimes wobble or shake quite a bit. That makes them produce more noise. You can cut down on that noise by putting rubber strips between metal parts and between the joist and the steel angle. A vibration isolation kit will also work to reduce vibration noise that comes from the housing of the opener.
Nylon rollers instead of metal ones.
In the place of metal rollers, nylon ones can be used to reduce banging noises.
Keep metal parts lubricated.
Metal parts need to stay lubricated to keep friction noises down. Regularly scheduled lubrication should be performed at least twice a year. If you use your garage door more than the average household does (2‑3 times per day) then you may need to add lubrication more frequently. You’ll use motor oil like 5W30 to lubricate the metal parts of your opener
Change your flooring.
Many home designs have a bedroom located just over the garage. If you have a bedroom above the garage that has wood flooring, you’ll want to either put down large rugs or switch the wood out for carpet. The carpet will absorb some of the noise coming from the door opener so that it doesn’t transfer through to the bedroom.
Opt for a Jackshaft door opener.
You also have the option to put in a Jackshaft door opener if you have the right space for doing it. This will make it where your opener is mounted to the wall next to the garage door instead of in the ceiling over the door.
Your best bet for making your garage door opener as quiet as it can get is to do as many of the things we’ve talked about as you can. If you want help coming up with a good combination of these for your garage, you can find an expert ready to help you at Baker Door Company.
Time to Get the Advantages You’re Looking For
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We are well‑versed in how to get you all of the advantages you want with your garage door opener. We work hard to give you exactly what you’re looking for. Let us email you a quotation today.