If you’re replacing an existing garage door opener in your home, the simplest method for finding the right horsepower is to check the rating of the unit in your garage and get something with equal or higher power. Most homes have single- and double-car sectional garage doors made of aluminum or steel, which is the most affordable type of garage door. These doors are relatively light, so a motor with rating of 1/2 horsepower is more than sufficient. While 1/3 horsepower motors are available, they can wear out faster than those with 1/2 horsepower in such settings, so it’s a good idea to invest a little extra for a more capable garage door opener.
Safe automatic door openers. All automatic openers must now have an auto-reversing mechanism and photoelectric eyes located near the floor on both sides of the door (see photo). If the door is closing and the beam between the eyes is interrupted, the door will automatically reverse. If the eyes aren’t connected, the door won’t operate. For instructions on how to install a new garage door opener, see How to Install a Garage Door Opener.
Once the springs are torqued, the setscrews tightened, and the locking pliers and winding rods removed, do not play with turning the torsion bar using the winding rods. Doing so even momentarily can relieve the tension on the lift cables, which then easily slip off the drums. Replacing the cables on the drums can be difficult without repeating the entire spring unwinding-winding procedure again, and the cables can be damaged if tension is applied while they are off the drums.

Speed of a falling door:: Physics tells us that the transit time of a free-falling body is sqrt(2x/g), where x is the length of the fall and g is the acceleration due to gravity (32.2 ft/sec^2). If this typical 150 lb door were to fall an equivalent of 3.75 feet, this falling time would be sqrt(2*3.75/32.2) = 0.48 seconds (480 milliseconds). The terminal velocity is gt, or 0.48 seconds * 32.2 ft/sec^2 = 15.5 ft/sec = 10.6 mph.
The salesman-disguised-as-technician trick: In this trick, you arrange for a service call to your home, perhaps paying a small fee up-front, and a neatly uniformed man arrives in a very technical-looking truck, carrying an impressive tool kit. He carefully examines your door, perhaps using some impressive testing devices to lend weight to his expertise. He then condemns your door as not worth repairing, and tells you, to his sincere regret, that you must have a new one. In fact, this technician is not a technician, but a salesman who only sells, and does not repair, doors. Even if he doesn't sell you, he is doing well just collecting fees for service calls that are no more than sales visits. He doesn't actually have to ever fix anything, and he may not even be capable of doing so himself. He's an expert at selling, which genuine technicians are not. In the worst case, when you refuse to buy a whole new door, he might refuse to follow up with a visit from an actual technician, either outright, or only with an unacceptable delay ("we're too busy to get a guy out until next week", when your car is trapped). If you find yourself closing in on this situation, then politely invite him to leave, and try someone else. That is your right, and in fact the only power you have to bargain in such circumstances. At that point, he may offer to promptly bring in his competent colleague, who will turn up lacking charm and looking awful, but might actually do the work, possibly at a fair price. If so, you will have beaten a legal variation of the classic illegal bait-and-switch (see below). The switch was attempted, but not required, which makes this legal. This is a hazard of any direct-sales situation. Because it rarely appears in everyday retail sales, it can surprise the unwary.
I obtained my parts, as described on this page, from American Garage Door Supply Inc. (http://www.americandoorsupply.com/) They may have raised their small-order prices or imposed a minimum order since I ordered from them in 2002 at the prices in my essay above. The Web site offers a free catalog by PDF download or mail. Springs in 2005 were priced at $2.25/lb.
A knowledgeable installer with good inventory can offer you upgraded spring lifetimes by using longer, heavier springs than were originally installed. For example, you may be offered more expensive springs with expected lifetimes of 15, 25, or even 100 thousand cycles, instead of the standard 10 thousand. The difference in labor to substitute this upgrade is nil. Since the dealer's cost of springs is proportional to weight, and typically a small part of the job price anyway, the dealer's cost for this upgrade is slight. This would seem to be a excellent option to offer every customer, and if correctly calculated and reasonably priced, one that you should take as cost-effective. Yet you may not be offered such an upgrade, if the installer is not adept at making the rather simple calculations, or if the optional springs are not on his truck, or if you're not around to be asked, or if the installer just doesn't like selling or taking time to discuss such details.
Once the springs are relaxed and loose on the torsion shaft, the lift drums lose their tension on the lift cable, and the cable comes loose. The end of the cable is terminated by a press sleeve, which locks into a ramp on the drum. Different drum styles have a bolt or other method to fix the cable end to the drum. These steel cables are springy and won't stay in place without tension. If my pre-inspection had showed that these cables were worn or frayed, then I would have ordered proper replacements ahead of time from the spring distributor, since this is the opportunity to replace them. Standard hardware-store cable and fittings are not appropriate.
If return on investment is a priority and you don’t live in the West, your best strategy may be to buy a low- to moderately-priced door that significantly improves the look of your home. Consider adding an automatic garage door opener at the same time. The beauty of a new door and the convenience of an automatic opener are sure to be a winning combination.
The chain-driven Chamberlain C410's .5-horsepower motor has enough power to handle most residential garage doors. Owners say it lifts even heavy doors easily. While chain-driven openers generally are louder than belt-driven models, most say that, like its predecessor model, it's actually pretty good in that regard, and we saw fewer complaints about installation challenges, too. The opener is also well-equipped in the feature department, though you'll need to spend a bit extra if you want to use its smart functions.
Depending on the design, you can know in advance how many turns are going to have to be unwound. Lifting a 7-foot door by winding a cable on a 4-inch diameter (about 1 foot circumference) drum requires about 7 turns, plus one extra turn to maintain cable tension at the top-of-travel. Maintaining tension at the top-of-travel is critical; without it the cable will jump off the drum, requiring a serious repair.
While a sudden issue is usually easily repaired, a consistent issue that has gone unaddressed for months or years will likely require a total replacement. The problem is that garage doors have a number of heavy, powerful moving parts. If the door is working as it is designed, it can open and close hundreds and hundreds of times without issues. However, if there is even a small issue in the lifting mechanism that repeatedly influences the movement of the door, you will soon find that the damage caused over those hundreds of lifts can’t be fixed.

Step 2: Check the tracks with a level to make sure they're properly aligned. Horizontal tracks should slant slightly down toward the back of the garage; with roll-up doors, the vertical sections of track should be exactly plumb. Both tracks must be at the same height on the garage walls. If the tracks are not properly aligned, loosen but do not remove the screws or bolts that hold the mounting brackets, and tap the tracks carefully into position. Recheck the tracks with the level to make sure they're in the right position; then tighten the screws or bolts at the mounting brackets.


In my case, removing and replacing the relaxed springs required that I take down the assembly: torsion shaft, lift drums, and bearings. Doing that requires unbolting the center bearing plate from the wall, removing the drums from the shaft, and finally sliding the shaft back and forth out of the end bearings to remove the whole assembly off the wall. I am fortunate to have a lot of clearance in this garage to make the disassembly simpler. Tighter clearance to walls or ceiling would make disassembly a more difficult manipulation.

Manufacturers and distributors of torsion springs believe they are better off not retailing their product directly to the public. They believe they are maintaining higher prices for their product by restricting sales "to the trade." One brochure for parts even flatly stated, "We do not sell to the end user. We protect our dealers," which would seem to be prima facie evidence of an illegal restraint-of-trade scheme. But this is an old story which is true of virtually every product and service, going back to medieval guilds and before.
Garage Door Installation – This includes the installation of a new garage door. Includes the door itself, the track, cables, springs, hinges, handles, locks and rollers. It is the complete service and installation of a new door. We inspect all the parts, make adjustments to fit your garage opening, and service all elements during the installation process. Plus, we check to ensure all parts are in proper working order after installed.
Call Girard's Garage Door Service, and one of our technicians will walk you through all the options to find the perfect garage door for your taste and budget. We work with the top manufacturers across the country to ensure the utmost safety and security for your family. We’re a volume dealer, so we’re able to beat the prices that most local companies charge. We offer excellent service at an affordable price. Check out our garage door options here.
With more than 43 years of experience, Kitsap Garage Door is the trusted source for garage door and opener installation for home and business owners throughout the Kitsap, WA, area. We can dependably and expertly handle all of your garage door installation, maintenance or repair needs, and we offer a large selection of the most trusted and top-rated garage door brands and accessories available today. We’re proud to exclusively install Clopay garage doors and LiftMaster garage door openers.
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