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Getting to Know Your Garage Door Opener

November 30, 2015

Now that your opener needs repairing or replacing, it might be a good opportunity to get yourself acquainted with its inner workings.

One might assume that the operator (or the large box affixed to your garage ceiling) does the heavy lifting; in fact, the torsion spring does this job. The torsion spring is a metal arm attached to the door that runs along the belt (or the metal track that runs along the ceiling from the operator to the garage door). Now that your opener needs repairing or replacing, it might be a good opportunity to get yourself acquainted with its inner workings.

Operator Parts

The operator itself is made up of several parts including, the motor and gears, the drive guide, the height adjustment, inverter and battery.

The motor typically runs on ½ horsepower and 6-amps. This is enough power to get the door moving, and the gears work to keep control of the closing door so it doesn’t come crashing down.

The drive guide guides and protects the chain, screw or belt (known as the drive mechanism) as the door is operating.

The height adjustment works to assure the door is fully opening or closing to its settings.

In order for the motor to work more efficiently, it operates using DC current. As households run on AC power, the inverter switches this power to DC, which is also used to charge the backup battery that keeps things working in the case of a power outage.

Operator Drive Mechanisms

Garage door openers use one of three different types of drive mechanisms: belt, chain or screw.

The belt mechanism is typically the quietest and the costliest option. The belt opens and closes the door as the teeth along one side rotate through a gear on top of the operator to pull the trolley. In contrary to the belt, the chain is the cheapest option, and it’s also the oldest. Similar to a familiar bike chain, the chain sits a little slack when open and makes a fair bit of racket. With the screw mechanism, the threaded screw connects the operator directly to the trolley. The screw mechanism falls in the middle of its counterparts when it comes to price and noise, but typically wears out the trolley quicker than the other options.


The average garage door opens and closes about four times a day. That might not sound like much, but that’s 1500 times every year. With an average life expectancy of 8 – 10 years, at some point the pulley, belt or battery will wear out.

You might not have had reason to give your garage door opener much thought while it was working seamlessly at the push of a button

 Garage Door Opener, including repairs or replacement

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