Know Your Options When Choosing A New Garage Door Opener

There’s nothing like having someone else do all the heavy lifting for you. With many garage doors weighing in excess of 200 pounds, having an automatic garage door opener takes all of the labor out of getting in and out of your garage.

When choosing a new garage door opener, it pays to know about the different types of openers available. The following provides an in-depth look at four common openers along with the different advantages each type offers.

Chain Drive

Just as the name implies, a chain-driven garage door opener uses a chain attached to a metal trolley to open and close the garage door. They’re not only the most common type of garage door opener used, but they’re also the most affordable option available for homeowners.

Chain-driven openers offer excellent durability due to their relatively simple and robust construction. With the proper amount of care and upkeep, you can expect one of these garage door openers to last for years on end.

Unfortunately, chain-driven garage door openers are also the noisiest out of the four most common options available. This is due to the constant rattling and bouncing that often plagues drive chains, especially if those chains are either worn out or in need of readjustment.

Belt Drive

Belt-driven garage door openers are surprisingly similar to their chain-driven counterparts. In fact, the only difference between the two is that the former uses a rubber belt to raise and close the garage door instead of a traditional chain.

Because of this, a belt-driven opener offers quieter overall operation than a similar chain-driven opener, making them ideal for homes with living spaces above the garage area. You’ll also notice that your garage door opens with smoother action than with a chain-driven opener, since there’s little to no slack in a drive belt when compared to a typical chain. This also allows the garage door to open and close faster than with an ordinary chain-driven opener.

Belt-driven garage door openers are not as economical as comparable chain-driven openers; plus, the drive belts often require more frequent maintenance than a similar chain would due to age and overall wear and tear.

Screw Drive

Screw-driven garage door openers do away with chains and belts altogether in favor of a unique screw drive system. A specially-designed carriage rack sits atop a threaded steel rod. As the garage door opener turns the actual rod, the carriage rack moves along the rod, raising and lowering the garage door depending on the direction the rod is turning.

With fewer moving parts than a typical belt or chain-driven garage door opener, screw-driven openers are often designed as compact units that are ideal for garages where space is at a premium. Their simplified construction also means they require less maintenance over time. However, screw-driven garage door openers tend to be noisier than their belt-driven counterparts.

Jackshaft Drive

All of the garage door openers that have been mentioned so far are mounted above the center of the garage door. Jackshaft-driven garage door openers differ by being mounted on the side wall of your garage. Instead of relying on springs or belts, jackshaft-driven openers instead use a powerful DC motor directly connected to the garage door’s torsion spring to raise and lower the door.

There are a couple of advantages that jackshaft drives offer when compared to other types of garage door drives:

  • Jackshaft-driven garage door openers are ideal for use in garages where ceiling clearance could be an issue. This includes garages with exceptionally tall ceilings as well as garages with low ceilings and little to no room for a traditional garage door opener.
  • Jackshaft-driven garage door openers are also relatively quiet when compared to other types of openers.

Keep in mind that jackshaft-driven garage door openers often cost 25 to 30 percent more than openers that use traditional trolleys. However, the advantages that these garage door openers offer for garages with irregular ceiling heights may be worth the added cost.

For more information about your garage door options, contact a company like Overhead Door Of Akron.

Garage Door Safety Features to Invest in

If you want to invest in a new automatic garage door, then you have countless options available to you. While many people are concerned with the general look and function of the door, your main concern may be safety if you have children and pets. If safety is your concern, then you will want to choose the features of the door you buy and have installed. Keep reading to learn about a few things you should look for.


Safety Eye

Almost all garage doors come fitted with automatic eye safety devices. One eye on the right side of the door will transmit an infrared beam to another eye on the left side of the door. If the beam is broken, then the door will stop moving downward and will reverse. Make sure the door you purchase has these eyes, and also see if the eyes come affixed to their own brackets so they are left undisturbed by the movement of the garage door. If possible, see if the lights come with LEDs on the side as well that will alert you to whether or not the infrared beam is being transmitted and received. Usually, a green light will indicate that the beam is working correctly and a red light will indicate an issue.


Another standard feature of most garage doors is a pressure sensor. This sensor will note whether or not it feels an object underneath the door as it closes. If the door feels resistance, it will open immediately. The pressure sensor is similar to the safety eye, but it will open the door when an object is smaller or lying underneath the infrared beam. This is a good feature if you have a small dog or cat or if your child falls underneath the door.

When the garage door is initially installed, ask the specialist to test the sensor for you to make sure that it is relatively sensitive. Adjustments can be made easily that can reverse the door when slight pressure is detected. However, the sensor should not be so sensitive that the door jerks open when it hits the concrete floor. A good way to assist with the setting is to place a tennis ball or a stuffed animal under the door to ensure that it opens when hitting these soft objects. Also, a door bottom that is considered “pinch proof” will help to make sure that your child’s fingers do not get injured if they are placed underneath the lip of the closing door.


One sensor that is not necessarily standard, but important in terms of safety is a CO2 sensor. These sensors are placed on the door or the motor unit of the opener to detect the amount of carbon dioxide gas that builds up near the sensor. This gas, along with carbon monoxide, is a dangerous one that will build quickly in a small space when you turn your car on.

Leaving your car on for too long can cause hazardous levels to build in your garage, and the safety sensor will open the door to release the CO2 and CO when the gases are detected at high levels. Make sure that your garage door has this sensor. This can keep both you and your children safe from car exhaust incidents that can be potentially fatal.

Self-Diagnosing Systems

While the various sensors attached to your garage door system can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe from accidents and incidents, they will not protect you fully. Garage door malfunctions can be just as hazardous. Both compression and torsion springs can snap with great pressure, and the door itself can come off the tracks if it is extremely unbalanced. Tracks can break too, and the bearings can wear down. While squeaks and sticking doors may indicate a problem, you may not be warned of a serious issue before a break occurs.

A self-diagnosing computer system attached to the main electrical system of the device can alert you though. This system will check for irregularities and cause an LED light to blink when there is an issue. The number of blinks will indicate the problem, and you will be able to look in your manual to find out what the issue is. Contact an installation expert or local garage repair specialist through resources like for assistance when this happens. 

Automatic Gate Failure – 3 DIY Fixes To Consider

If you have an automatic gate that sits in front of your driveway and allows you to access your home, then your property is likely quite secure. However, this security also means that you may not be able to drive onto your property if the gate malfunctions and does not open when you need it to. If this happens, then you may need to contact an automatic gate repair person. You can try a few things first, though, to see if the problem is an easy fix.

Clean the Sensor

Your automatic gate will have a photo sensor much like an automatic garage door will. This sensor is a safety feature of your gate that will prevent injuries and damage from occurring. Specifically, the sensor will emit a beam of infrared light that will hit a sensor on the other side of the gate. If the light does not reach the sensor, then the gate will not open. The sensors will sit in front of the gate if it swings open towards the road, and it will be behind it if the gate swings towards your home. Some of the sensors will be mounted on poles, and others will sit on the ground close to the gate.

While most gate sensors will be made with small overhangs that keep rain and mud from collecting on the photo eyes, the sensors still can become dirty. Also, the sensor housing can be a good hiding place for beetles, ants, geckos, and other small creatures. Inspect the photo sensors to see if any bugs or animals are seen sitting on them. If not, use a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth to clean each photo eye lens. 

Check the Actuator Rams

Swinging automatic gates are activated with the assistance of two steel devices that are bolted onto each side of the gate. These devices are called actuator rams, and they push the gate open and then pull it closed. A metal pin inside the actuator housing moves in and out to do this. To check to see if the rams are moving correctly, make sure your gate is set to manual mode. You can set the mode with a key that comes with your automatic gate. This key can be placed somewhere within the motor or the control panel. There is usually an obvious place to put the key in the front, top, or side of the panel. You will generally need to turn the key clockwise to put the gate in manual mode.

Afterwards, try to move the gates back and forth and check to see if the ram pins are moving in and out of the housing in a smooth and continuous manner. If the pins do not seem to move well, check for rust, bends, and the buildup of debris. Also a small rubber seal will be secured between the housing and the pin. Make sure the seal is still in good condition, and also inspect the wires that run from the rams to the control panel. If you see debris and dirt, clear it away, place the door on automatic mode, and try the gate again. If you see any other issues, then you will need to contact a repair person to have one or both of the rams replaced.

Change the Battery

Many automatic gates are connected to solar panels that charge batteries to provide the gate with power. This is a wise choice due to wiring concerns and lack of function during a power outage. However, the battery connected to your gate will need to be changed on occasion. If your system was installed within the last 5 to 15 years, then you may need a new battery. Since lead-acid batteries can begin to leak fluids from their casing as they go bad, you should not attempt to change the battery yourself if the battery is corroded or covered in a fluid. If the battery appears clean, then place rubber gloves on your hands and remove the battery from the terminals. 

Take your old battery to your local home store so a new one can be found that matches the old one. Also, most stores that sell solar batteries will take your dead products and recycle them when you purchase a new one. 

If none of these tricks fixes your problem, contact an automatic gate repair company.

4 Tips For Maintaining Your Garage Door Springs

Being a homeowner requires a lot of maintenance, and maintaining your garage door is just one piece of the puzzle. However, garage doors are big with a lot of moving parts, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause injury or damage. Check out these four tips for maintaining your garage door springs.

Determine What Type of Springs You Have

The first step to maintaining your garage door springs is to determine which type you use: extension or torsion. You can easily determine this by checking where your springs are located. With your garage door closed, look above the upper tracks (the ones connected to your ceiling). If you spot some long springs up there, you have extension springs. If you don’t see any, check above the top of the closed garage door. If you have springs wrapped around a rod running parallel to the garage door, you have torsion springs.

Each type of spring has its own set of pros and cons. Extension springs are cheaper, but they aren’t as durable as torsion springs. Torsion springs will last longer and offer more control than extension springs, but you will have to pay more.

Maintain the Garage Door Springs Annually

Your best bet is to maintain your garage door springs about once a year. Start by opening and closing your garage door a few times to see how it moves. If it hangs to one side, doesn’t open at all or makes unusual sounds, it may indicate a problem with the springs.

The next step is to actually check the springs. You want to check the condition of the springs. Are they old and rusty? Are they becoming stretched and worn? Are they detached or loose? If the springs look like they are in good condition, you’ll also want to determine if they need extra lubrication. If the springs look dry, they probably need more lubrication, so use an aerosol spray lubricant. This type of lubricant gets into every nook and cranny and won’t create buildup.

Check for Safety Cables

Extension springs have cables than run through the center of them. This protects you and your belongings from injury or damage. If the spring becomes loose, the extension cord stops it from speeding across the garage. If your garage door uses extension springs, you’ll want to check the safety cables to ensure they are still in good condition.

The first step is to make sure you actually have safety cables and that they are still connected. If you have torsion springs, don’t worry. They don’t have safety cables. Instead the rod on which they sit provides protection. Once you’ve identified the safety cables, check for fraying, which could lead to complete breakage in the future.

Don’t Repair Springs or Cables Yourself

So, what if you spot something wrong with your springs or cables? If your safety cables are missing or frayed, it’s extremely important you don’t attempt to fix your springs or cables yourself. The springs are under a lot of pressure, and if they become loose, they can cause deadly injuries or severe damage. Without the safety cables, the chance of injury and damage increases.

However, even if the cables are in good condition, you’ll have to remove them to remove the extension springs, increasing the danger. Even torsion springs with their protective rod may cause damage or injury if they become loose. Always play it safe and contact a professional instead of trying to do it yourself. You never know when something might go wrong.  

If you don’t know what you’re doing, repairing or replacing garage door springs and cables can be deadly. Instead of taking the risk, hire a professional. If your garage door springs are in need of repair, contact a garage door technician in your area today. 

Visit a site like for more information. 

Bringing Home Baby? Now’s The Perfect Time For Garage Door Maintenance

Will you be bringing a baby home from the hospital soon? If so, you probably know that a newborn requires roughly 16 – 17 hours of sleep a day, and you’re probably spending much of your time trying to create a calm, quiet environment so those sleep needs aren’t disrupted. You may have requested that your family and friends only call your house during certain hours or yanked the batteries from the coo-coo clock on your wall. You might be trying to train your dog to not bark at the mailman in preparation of your new family member’s sleep schedule, but have you thought about quieting your garage door? 

Garage doors can get pretty loud when they’re not maintained, and if your garage is attached to your house, there’s a good chance any squeaks or bangs its door produces will be heard from inside your home. Here are some tips to keep your garage door quiet so it doesn’t interfere with your newborn baby’s sleep needs.

Kill The Vibrations

Start your garage door quieting plan by tightening every single screw and bolt on your garage door assembly. Loose components can cause your garage door to rattle more than necessary when it is opened and closed. Check your garage door owner’s manual to find out what screwdrivers or wrenches you’ll need to get the job done.

The plastic cover over your garage door opener’s motor is a notorious source of noisy vibrations. For this problem, you can purchase rubber adhesive strips that fit in-between the motor and its cover. The strips work to cushion the cover from banging on the motor while the door is in operation. Just visit your local hardware store and ask for a chassis cover isolator kit. 

Consider Switching To Nylon Rollers

Your garage door’s rollers are the little wheel-shaped pieces that slide up and down the track. Rollers come in steel and nylon. While steel rollers are great for longevity (lasting up to 20 years), they’re absolutely terrible when it comes to noise control. If you want your garage door to operate quietly enough to not wake a sleeping baby, it’s best to opt for nylon rollers. Nylon rollers need to be replaced every few years, but you can always switch back to steel rollers once your little one’s sleep schedule is cemented. 

Lubricate Moving Parts

If too much friction exists between the moving parts of your garage door, the result is an awful screeching or scraping noise. To make sure your baby isn’t startled awake by such sounds, lubricate all moving parts of your garage door thoroughly. You’ll want to use regular engine oil for this task; grease will gum up and cause problems. Just dip a cloth in a small amount of oil and use it to gently wipe your garage door, tracks, hinges, and chains (if your garage door has them).

If your garage door opener has springs above the tracks on both sides of the door, then it uses extension springs and you can go ahead and oil these, too. If, however, the door only has one spring that is located above the center of the door, then it uses a torsion spring. Do not attempt to oil a torsion spring yourself. These springs store energy and can be very dangerous to anybody not trained to work on them. Contact a garage door specialist to assist you with oiling a torsion spring door.

Nylon rollers don’t require lubrication, so if you’ve installed them, don’t worry about lubricating them. If you’re still using steel rollers, however, they’ll require oil, too.

If you’re trying to eliminate unnecessary noises around your house in preparation of bringing home a baby, don’t forget about your garage door. Of course, if you find yourself too busy to perform the above maintenance tips, don’t hesitate to call a garage door specialist and ask them to do some garage door noise-proofing for you.

Repairing Garage Door Springs And Cables: 3 Essential Tools You’ll Need

An average garage door weighs anywhere between 150 to 250 pounds, which is entirely supported by the garage door springs and cables. Non-coated garage door springs are expected to last approximately 10,000 cycles or anywhere between 7 and 10 years. As the garage door springs reach the end of their life, chances are you’ll have to replace the cables too. As garage door springs are responsible for holding up the entirety of the weight of the garage door, they harbor a substantial amount of potential energy. If these springs or cables snap when they are being replaced, they could cause a whole lot of damage. In general, you should leave these repairs to a professional; however, if you feel confident attempting the repairs yourself, here are 3 essential tools you’ll need.

Winding Bars

You’ll need winding bars to relieve the pressure and strain harbored within the garage door springs. Every spring will have winding cones at the end with inconsistent hole sizes. You’ll need to insert the winding bar into the hole and turn clockwise or counterclockwise to unwind or wind the garage door springs.

Winding bars typically come in three lengths: 18″, 24″ and 36″. All are suitable for both residential and commercial purposes. Naturally, you’ll get much more strength out of longer winding bars, and you should always use longer winding bars when you are working on garage doors that are at the heavier end of the spectrum. In addition to different lengths, you can expect the winding bars to come in different shapes as well. In particular, round and hexagonal winding bars are most popular. Hexagonal winding bars offer better grip and more strength. As a result, it’s the better option to go with.

C Clamps

To replace the garage door springs, you must first release the tension in the springs in order to reduce the risk of it snapping or causing any type of damage. To do this, you will need to open the garage doors completely before working on the springs. Another essential tool you’ll need will be C clamps. The C clamps are responsible for holding the garage doors in position as you work on the garage door springs. They are normally attached to the track at a point located below the lowest garage door roller.

If you want to confirm whether the C clamps are doing their job, you can try closing the garage door with your remote. If the C clamps have been installed properly, the garage door will not budge one bit.

Cable Puller and Come-Along Puller

The cable puller and the come-along puller are to different tools; however, they are used together to both unwind and wind the cables without having to remove the entire thing. You first need to clip the cable puller onto the cable before you attach the come-along puller. The come-along puller can then be cranked to wind and unwind the cable by releasing or adding tension. Together, these two tools will also hold the cables in place and prevent them from snapping while you tinker with the garage door springs.


When working on replacing or repairing the garage door springs or cables, it is important to take it slow. Make sure you wear some safety equipment and that you are familiar with the instructions. More often than not, you’ll have to replace all of the springs and the cables even if only one is damaged or needs to be repaired. This is because the rest of the springs and cables will not be far behind in terms of their lifespan, and will likely degrade and deteriorate soon after. 

For more information, or if you’d rather leave the work to the professionals, contact a local garage door repair company like DSI Door Services North Shore