Garage door openers are a convenience that most homeowners can't live without. But there comes a time when even the most reliable garage door opener requires a replacement. If you're looking forward to tackling your garage door opener installation as a DIY project, then there are a few tips that could help make the process much smoother than you'd probably expect:

You Won't Need Your Old Wiring or Photoelectric Sensors

Chances are your new garage door opener will come with brand-new wiring, push button controls and photoelectric sensors for detecting objects within the garage door's path. This means that you can toss out the components previously used on your old garage door opener. There are a couple of good reasons why you wouldn't want to hold on to your old components:

  • Your old wiring and photoelectric eye may be incompatible with your new garage door opener.
  • Even if you could use your old components, your new garage door opener may not operate with 100-percent reliability.

You May Be Able to Use Your Old Brackets

Along with new sensors and wiring, your new garage door opener may also come with new mounting brackets. However, there's a good chance that you can reuse the brackets that once held your old garage door opener in place, especially if the replacement happens to match your current setup. As long as the old brackets can securely hold the garage door opener in place, you may be able to shove those new brackets in a drawer for some future use.

If the garage door opener uses different bracket mounting points or screws or bolts used with the old mounting brackets are too large or too small to fit, you may have to resort to using the new brackets.

Don't Be Afraid to Shore Up Your Mounting Hardware

Whether you decide to use your old mounting brackets or use the ones provided with your replacement garage door opener, you want to make sure your mounting hardware won't weaken and become loose as time goes on. If necessary, you can connect a couple of braces made from angle iron from the mounting hardware to the bottom of the ceiling joist. Don't forget to use thread-locking adhesive or lock washers to keep the lag screws from being loosened over time by vibrations.

Don't Forget to Mount and Align Your New Photoelectric Sensors Properly

The photoelectric sensors that come with your new garage door opener are a crucial safety feature that helps prevent damage to the door and injury to those in its path. But for this safety feature to work properly, you'll have to make sure the sensors are adjusted properly.

For starters, the sensors must be at the right height in order to work. Experts recommend mounting the sensors 6 inches above the ground. For greater ease of installation, you can use a ruler or measuring tape to measure where the sensors should go and mark off that location with a grease pencil. This will save you time and the frustration of having to re-measure everything as you mount the sensor.

Once you have the actual sensors mounted, you'll need to make sure each one lines up with its counterpart. Photoelectric sensors require a clear line-of-sight in order to work, so they must be able to "see" one another. Until then, the green or orange indicator light on each sensor will flash or stay off until a clear connection is made. Use a bubble level to adjust one of the sensors until it's perfectly level. Afterwards, you can adjust the other sensor until the green or orange light on the sensor remains solid.

If you run into trouble or don't feel up to one of these tasks, don't hesitate to visit a site like to contact a pro.