Why Researching Your Garage Door Opener Is A Brilliant Idea
Everything you need to know about researching a garage door opener that lasts. Learn tips to decipher specifications, software, instructions, programming, reviews, and other helpful resources.
Specifications — What are they and what do they really mean?
A specification sheet, or spec sheet, gives buyers a snapshot of the opener. Unfortunately, the information is typically displayed in a graph or table that isn’t very easy to read. What happens is that most consumers simply skip over these details because it looks too technical.
Why this is worth researching: Important things like part numbers, how to mount the device, motor speed and type, power cord length, and electric wattage are normally included.
Tip: Write down a list of your own specs before researching the product — it will make reading the chart easier.
Software vs. hardware: The basics
While all openers use some type of hardware to operate, only some require the use of software. For those that do, the software is used to program features like automatic locking, home security integration, and intercoms.
Why this is worth researching: Software components vary and most require a newer version of Windows to operate smoothly.
Tip: Mac users can look for brands that don’t require software. If that’s not an option, invest in a spare computer that can run Windows or consider downloading a copy of Parallels or VMware Fusion that lets you operate Windows from inside your Mac.
Always Follow the instructions
Plenty of people hate following instructions. Instead, they prefer to figure things out on their own. When it comes to openers, this is not something you want to do. Always follow instructions to ensure safety and the longevity of the unit.
Why this is worth researching: A lot of openers include instructions in the manual for monthly and annual maintenance. These instructions can include things like checking moving parts for signs of corrosion, testing the safety mechanisms, and lubricating the motor. If the opener came with a warranty, these tasks must be performed regularly and adequately. Failure to do so can void the warranty and make buying parts more expensive.
Tip: Use an electronic calendar to schedule reminders for routine maintenance.
Programming made easy
Nearly all openers come with a manual on how to program the unit. Some are relatively simple to install and program. Others are more complicated and require a sequence of steps to get the unit up and running.
Why this is worth researching: Some manuals are more than a hundred pages long! Importantly, some models require altering the dip-switch located in the remote. What takes hours to read in a manual can be accomplished in five minutes or less when learning from someone who has already figured out the tricks.
Tip: Watch video tutorials or read explanations online instead. YouTube (videos) and Ezine (articles) are great places to check for such materials.
Review before buying
Since openers themselves are expensive to ship, it’s better to read about other people’s experiences before buying.
Why this is worth researching: Most openers are rated by how quickly or quietly they will open and close the door. Product reviews usually provide more specific and detailed information about the opener. User information about compatible remotes, parts, and opener problems are almost always included in reviews.
Tip: Visit the manufacture or retailer’s website for customer reviews. Amazon is another great place because reviews can sort by either negative or positive content.
Other helpful resources
Other helpful resources about the openers can be found at the manufacturer’s website.
Why this is worth researching: Registering the opener online can help guarantee the owner will be notified if there are rebates, recalls, upgrades, or known problems with the unit.
Tip: Just because the opener is bought through a reseller doesn’t mean the unit won’t qualify. As long as the reseller is an authorized vendor, registration can still be completed.