How To Install a Garage Door Opener
Do you know how to install a garage door opener? There are a lot of advantages to having a designated opener for your garage door—including convenience, security, comfort, and peace of mind—and it’s not too challenging to install a new opener or replace an existing one once you research what the required steps are.
There are a few key components to most garage door openers. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the motor unit, which is the part that drives your garage door up and down. This motor unit is connected by a chain to a carriage that runs from the motor to the garage door. In some garage openers, this chain is replaced by a threaded rod. You’ll also have a keypad and/or a remote that connects to the opener for easy access.
Installing your garage door opener correctly is key, both for safety and for utility. And while you can certainly call in a pro to do it for you, a DIY garage door opener installation is possible—and it can save you quite a bit of money in the process. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Make sure the opener will work in your garage
Not all garage doors can have an opener installed, so it’s important to do a quick evaluation to ensure that yours can. So how do you know? It basically comes down to style. Doors with multiple horizontal panels that fold in as the garage goes up are well-suited for an opener. Solid doors however, such as those typically found with older homes, usually can’t accommodate an opener and may need to be replaced before you install one.
Step 2: Prep your garage
Do some prep work before you get to installation. This includes uninstalling or otherwise deactivating any existing garage door locks, as well as clearing the space where your garage door opener components will go—including any ropes or cords that are hanging down. As a final prep step, double check to ensure that your garage door can be raised and lowered by hand. If there’s something preventing it from operating properly, your garage opener won’t work.
Step 3: Figure out exactly where your garage door opener is going to go
Choose a garage door opener location that fits the unit and the space. In most (if not all) cases, garage door openers are installed on the ceiling several feet back from the garage door itself, and are centered so the carriage chain or rod can lift the door with balanced weight. You can find exact guidance on where to put your opener in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 4: Assemble and mount the carriage chain or rod
The garage door opener that you purchased will have directions on how to assemble and mount the carriage, which is the first step in installing the unit. Make sure to measure the rod or chain before assembly so that you can be sure the length provided is the length on the box (it almost always will be, but it’s better to know this in advance so you don’t run into any unwanted surprises later on).
Step 5: Add the carriage unit
Once the chain or rod mechanism is in place you can add on the carriage itself. Usually this just slips on, but check the directions carefully to see if there are extra steps involved.
Step 6: Install the mounting bracket and motor unit
The mounting bracket will secure your carriage and motor unit to the ceiling. You may need to first install some wood blocking so that you have something to secure the bracket to. Once it’s in place you can mount the motor unit.
Step 7: Install the arm bracket to the door
Install the bracket that will hold the arm of your unit to the door. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on placement. Then connect the arm to the bracket.
Step 8: Attach safety rope or device
Most units come with some sort of safety device, be it a sensor or a rope (you might even have both). This is the last part of your installation, and is necessary to include.
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