An automated Garage Door is really the combining of two separate systems; The Garage Door and the Garage Door Opener. Some people refer to the opener as an operator, closer, or lift but they all mean the same thing.
Part of the Garage Door is the mechanism that counter balances the weight of the door which is usually done by springs. The two most common types of springs are torsion and extension springs.
As a Garage Door is raised from the vertical or down position to the open or horizontal position, much of the weight of the door is transferred to the horizontal track; so in effect the door gets lighter as it goes up. Because extension springs exert greater pull when they are stretched out and reduce the pull as they contract; a properly matched spring will offset the weight of the door through the entire travel. The same principle is true of torsion springs that are wound up around a torsion tube or shaft.
What I am trying to explain here is that the springs that are part of the door are really what raise the door. They do the heavy lifting. The Garage Door Opener which is an entirely different system only guides the door going up and down. The Garage Door Opener shouldn’t have to do much more work than you would do opening a manual door.
All that being said; adding a Garage Door Operator is wonderful. Over the past 30 or so years, Garage Door Openers have gone from being a novelty to the norm. Most of us expect that a new home will come with one. Because of the ease, comfort, safety and security that come from a Garage Door Opener, the price is a real value.
How much is it worth to not having to get out of your warm comfortable car to walk through the rain and bend over to pull the door up? Several years ago when we were just getting started in the business my family’s dentist had just moved into his newly built home. He asked us to install three new Garage Doors and three Garage Door Openers. The day we installed the doors his wife came home just as we were starting to put up the Garage Door Openers. She told us she did not want Garage Door Openers, that she was perfectly capable of getting out of her car and doing it herself and besides, she could use the exercise. Discretion being the better part of valor dictated that I not say anything about her needing the exercise, so I held my tongue. I explained that the good doctor had ordered them and she said: “We’ll see about that!” She went into the house and had a long and loud conversation with her husband and finally returned with the phone saying he needed to talk to me. Poor Dr. A. was very apologetic and said the compromise he made with his wife was to put up one Garage Door Opener on his door but leave the other two doors for manual operation, so that is what we did. Only a couple of months later Dr. A. called me and asked me if we could come install the other two operators. His wife had commandeered his door. She had decided that bending over and lifting a garage door in the dark and in the rain was not the kind of exercise she needed. She also conceded that the door was usually not left open as much and it was more difficult to tell if no one was home. She became a convert.
Garage Door Openers have come a long way since then. They are quieter, more reliable and safer. A more detailed explanation of these features can be found in my post: Garage Door Openers – A Short History (Part 3).
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