How To Size A Garage Door Opener: 5 Measuring Tips

R&S Erection of Vallejo, Inc.

When installing a new garage door, the first step is to ensure the garage door opener is just the right size. If it’s too big, it might be inefficient or cumbersome. And if it’s too small, it might not support the full weight of the garage door itself, which spells bad news for safety and your wallet. 

With that in mind, the team at R&S Erection of Vallejo, Inc. shares the guide below on how to size a garage door opener correctly. You can also call us if you want to chat with specialists in residential garage doors in Vallejo, California!

What Does A Garage Door Opener Do?

An electric garage door opener has a motor that automatically opens and closes your garage door when you activate the unit. The motor provides power to a metal carriage that moves along a track. The opener works with the torsion spring system to raise and keep the door open. 

Residential garage door openers are popular because of the convenience they provide. Most of these openers include a wall button and remote control options for opening and closing the doors. You can also typically plug openers into a regular electrical outlet, thanks to their added safety features to prevent damage and injuries

Manufacturers also include the ability to activate manual release if the opener is broken. That way, you have the option to open the door manually.

Types Of Garage Door Openers

The basic function of garage door openers is simple. But there are several types of garage door openers to choose from that differ according to their drive type. For example, a smart door opener option may add app compatibility, programmable routines, or door activity monitoring.

Chain drive

Chain drive systems commonly underpin an electric door opener. They feature a single metal chain that connects to and pulls the door trolley. 

Chain drives are affordable and reliable, even for heavier double doors, but they make a lot of noise because of the many moving parts. These systems also require slightly more maintenance. 

Belt drive

Belt drives are similar to chain-based systems but use a durable rubber belt instead of chains. Belt drive types are a quieter option since the belts consist of polymers and reinforced rubbers. It’s a good choice if you use your garage as a living space or want to minimize the noise produced when opening and closing the doors.

Screw drive

A screw drive system has a threaded steel rod that rotates around the motor as it moves. As it spins, it pulls the carriage back and forth. 

Even residential openers of this type have a lot of lifting power, making them suitable for double-door systems and heavier doors. However, extreme temperatures can cause the threads to expand, which may affect smooth functioning.

Sizing For A Garage Door Opener

A garage opener’s size is basically shorthand for how much horsepower and Newton force the unit can produce. The size of garage door opener you need depends on

various features of your garage door itself, including the following:

The door’s size affects the power

The main factor determining the size garage door opener you need is the size of the garage doors. All other things being equal, one-piece doors can use smaller motor sizes than double doors. A single-door garage door size is about ten feet wide by eight feet tall (larger than that counts as a double garage door when installing openers).

Door material weight changes the requirements

Garage door materials have different weights, which influence the type of electric opener required. Wood doors are usually the heaviest garage doors. They will need stronger openers with better safety features than lighter metal or fiberglass doors.

Motor type and power offer some flexibility

Your new garage door opener will have one of two types of motors: AC or DC. 

AC motors use alternating current, with transformers to reverse current to allow for door opening and closing functions. AC motors are powerful and durable. However, they don’t allow much control compared to DC motors.

DC motors use direct current to draw power from a static DC power source, such as a battery backup. A DC motor is usually smaller, allowing more precise control over the garage door opening process. You can also modify speed, torque, and door height to your preferred settings and program them to a handy button press.

As far as motor power, the average single-unit residential garage opener produces about 1/2 HP (~500 newtons). A double garage door will probably need at least 3/4 HP (700 newtons).

Door depth must match the room’s dimensions

The garage’s depth refers to how much space lies between the garage doors and the back wall. A door that is ten feet wide by eight feet tall will typically need at least 11 feet of space. If not, the doors won’t have enough space to completely open when the motor moves.

The highest point needs careful measurement

Is there enough space between the highest point of the doors when the motor raises them? Minimum clearance is at least two and a half inches. Anything less means the top of the doors will hit the ceiling when the motor raises that section for opening.

Does A Smart Garage Door Opener Work With Any Type Of Door?

Smart and regular garage door openers should work with any type of door, provided they are powerful enough to hold the doors’ weight. However, some motors suit different types better. For example, wood doors need a heavier-duty AC belt-drive or chain-drive opener.

The best garage door opener for the job is one that exactly balances the torque with the power consumption. So, your doors will be easily managed by an opener that is sized correctly for the material and weight.

We’re Here For All Your Garage Door Needs

Do you want modern garage door styles or more detailed answers on how to size a garage door opener? Call R&S Erection of Vallejo, Inc. at (707) 644-5537 or send a message online today!