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Is it time to replace your garage door opener?



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Colin West McDonald / CNET


Garage
Door openers are a modern convenience that many of us take for granted. With only a push of a button we can access our garage space. Every year we open and close the largest door to our house thousands of times and expect it to work flawlessly.

This does not always happen, and when your opener wears off, there are signs. Even if your older model still works, it can lead to security problems. Look for these signals that your garage door opener is nearing the end of its life, and think of a smarter, safer upgrade .

Mechanical Meltdown

There are a handful of problems that could indicate the end of your opener. Whether it's suspicious noise or moving part problems, the bolts and nuts on your machine can cause real problems once they reach their destination.

Vibrating

An opener that tends to vibrate may seem harmless at first, but keep an eye on it. Older engines with worn fittings or angled shafts may vibrate in their housings.

You may even notice that the opener detaches itself from its attachment points to its structure. If that happens, watch out. A vibrating opener could eventually come out of its holder and fall to the floor (or your car). When crucial mechanical parts like this fail, it's time to get a new opener.

Opening and then reversing

If your garage door opens and then reverses, this may indicate a problem with the safety sensors on the bottom of the garage door frame. Check that the sensors are properly aligned and consult the manual of your garage door opener.

If the inversion problem is not resolved, sweep the floor over the garage door sill to remove it and remove the dirt that could stumble the system. It is also a good idea to give the photo eye of every sense a cleaning with a paper towel or a soft cloth.

New Noise

Traditional chain drive openers are naturally noisy. Your bicycle-like chain was not made to keep noise at a tolerable level, and the older it gets, the worse your home gets bothered. Consider investing in a newer belt drive for quieter operation.

If you have a newer opener that's suddenly extra loud, that's a cause for concern. Have a technician examine it to find out the cause of the racket. Remember, most electric motors get louder as they near the end, and it may be time for a replacement.

Intermittent or unresponsive opening

If your garage door does not open when you press the buttons on the wall or on the remote control, there are some things that could be wrong. Always check if your remote control has fresh, working batteries.

If this is not the case, an unresponsive opener could indicate problems with the logic board or the wiring of the opener. While these can be repaired with some spare time and extra parts, it is often easier and more reliable to buy a new unit.

Upside Upgrades

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Smart your existing garage door opener with an additional controller, such as Home8, which includes camera and voice assistant compatibility.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Even if your garage door opener does not need to be replaced urgently, there are still a few reasons to opt for an upgrade. Look for holiday sales online and at your local hardware store, and look for those helpful features.

Rolling Codes

A rolling code is a protocol used by garage door openers to keep your door secure. When the radio signals from your remote control are sent to your garage door opener, it uses a specific code for communication. Older models used the same code each time, making garage door openers susceptible to burglars with a radio frequency identification device.

Newer, running code systems change the code each time. In this way, no one can guess or learn the code of your garage door and enter your room uninvited.

Battery back up

Power failures happen, and when they do, it stops your garage door in its tracks. If you have a model without a replacement battery, you can not use your garage door. Newer openers provide batteries to power your system in the event of a power outage.

Batteries are not the standard power source for a garage door opener, but using them as a backup can come in handy if you have any power problems.

Exterior keypad

An exterior keypad is a feature that can really save the day if you are ever locked out of your garage or do not want to worry about moving a garage key. You can enter a code using the keypad to raise the garage door.

Not all opener models are equipped with a keyboard. So, if you replace your existing opener, look for one who does. If you have a garage door opener that still works well, but can use the keyboard upgrade, you can buy additional keyboards to work with some garage door openers.

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Intelligent garage systems include apps that let you control your garage door from anywhere.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Security Features

In 1992, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission released new rules for automatic garage door openers. Everything that was made after 1993 had to include either an electric eye (a pair of sensors that detect an obstacle to the door opening) or a wall-mounted control button that users hold down to fully close the door. Most manufacturers have opted for the electric eye method, which is sometimes referred to as safety sensors.

Today's garage doors are supplied with these door sensors, and if there is something in the door, the sensor detects them and raises the door back to position. These precautions are important for families with small children or pets. Even if you do not have a mini-boyfriend or a furry friend in your backyard, it's a good idea to have a garage door that's safe for you, your guests and your belongings.

Add Smart

Smart garage door openers are not as expensive or hard to find as you might think. In fact, no matter what
intelligent home
platform that you use, there is an opener that will work for you. Intelligent garage door controllers provide convenience such as remote access, voice control, scheduling and vehicle detection for your garage door. You'll never have to wonder if you'll ever open it again.

You can open it remotely for friends, family members, or delivery services. You can even buy kits that include a camera so you can keep track of your garage space from anywhere using an internet connection. For a complete overview of all your smart garage options, check out our Guide to a Smarter Workshop .

Whether it's security, style or safety, upgrading your garage door opener at the first sign of trouble saves you time, money, and adds comfort to your everyday life.


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