Does your garage door opener look like something used by Fred Flintstone? Do you have to go through all sorts of contortions with your opener to finally get your door to open or close? Then here are some good reasons that make you think seriously about changing your old garage door opener.

First of all, some facts

To start, it is good to take note of some everyday realities concerning garage doors that often go unnoticed:

  • Did you know that almost 70% of people use their garage door as a point of access their house?
    • It may be when your kids leave for school in the morning or come home at the end of the day at times when you’re not around.
    • Sometimes it’s when you are doing outdoor work around the house.
    • If could be simply when parking your car.
Garage door opener
  • Did you know that a garage door is the largest moving object in a home?
    • And that its inherent weight is considerable, even with a spring system that acts as a counterbalance to this mass.
    • This means that it’s your electric garage door opener that becomes the way to secure your safety, and that of your family, by controlling this immense object, day in and day out.
  • If your old garage door opener uses a remote programmed with dip switches that you move up and down into +, 0 and – positions, then it is missing a second automatic reversal system, one based on photoelectric sensors (UL 325 standard).
    • Electric door openers manufactured before 1993 are also not equipped with a system to prevent the copying of the code of your remote.
    • In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for these door openers as safety standards and manufacturing techniques have changed significantly.

So then, what is out there on the garage door opener market today?

Electric garage door openers have come a long way since 1993. They provide more safety and, since 2014, they come with the latest technology in regards to intercommunication.

  • Safety comes first
    • Since 1993, it has been mandatory for garage door openers to come with two automatic reversal systems. The first one is mechanical and the second is based on photoelectric eyes. For the first, if it is adjusted correctly, when the bottom of the descending edge touches an object or person, the door must reverse automatically. In the case of the second, it consists of two units installed on each side of the door with an invisible light beam being sent across the threshold of the door, a similar technology to that used to open entry doors on supermarkets. If a person or an object breaks the beam as the door descends, it automatically reverses direction.
    • Starting in 1996, garage door openers have used what is called “rolling code” protection in their operation. This system, called Security+ by LiftMaster (or Chamberlain’s labels), stops anyone from stealing the communication code between your remote (the transmitter) and the opener motor (the receiver). How does it work? It’s simple. Each time you use your remote, it automatically changes its access code. There are more than a billion possible codes thus making it impossible for someone to pick up your signal and get into your garage with a stolen code.
    • If you live in an area where power outages happen more often than you’d like, be aware that you can equip your door opener with a backup battery.
  • Quieter than ever
    • Instead of door openers using a chain drive (or a combination of chain and steel cable), there are door openers equipped with a rubber belt reinforced with metal fibers, like used for manufacturing tires. As you might imagine, this choice is much quieter, and is definitely preferred if you have a bedroom over the garage.
    • Another new development that has been added in recent years is DC-type motors for door openers instead of the AC-type we were normally used to. This follows the European trend where manufacturers use DC motors for reliability and quietness. With AC motors, there is a jarring jerk when the door begins moving versus DC motors that start slowly, increase to regular speed, then slow before stopping to prevent the door from slamming.
  • Increasingly “intelligent”
    • Since 2014, LiftMaster has offered its MyQ® technology – its contribution to Internet connectivity – which allows you to open and close your garage door from your smartphone, tablet or laptop, no matter where you are in the world
    • It is also possible to get email or text alerts informing you if someone is using your garage door, or if you had forgotten to close it earlier for whatever reason.
    • Tied into these functions is the ability for you to operate your door long distance and allow someone you have confidence in to access your garage via the garage door.