Install a Garage Door Opener
Rita Ribiat - Detroit, MI

Hardwarian Rita Ribiat

Gratiot True Value Hardware

Detroit, MI

Install a Garage Door Opener

Level: Experienced

Installing a new garage door opener is a great way to update a part of your house that gets used everyday — the garage. Today's units are equipped with sensors that will make your garage more child-safe by stopping the door in its tracks should something get in the way. By purchasing a garage door opener kit, installation should only take an afternoon. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions since there are different types of garage openers available.

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  • Before you begin, it's important to make sure your garage door operates smoothly. Undue strain can ruin or shorten the life of your new opener. Start by cleaning the tracks and rollers. Lubricate the roller bearings with silicone spray but avoid getting any on the tracks, as it will cause dirt buildup. Finally, test for proper balance.

    • Preparation
      side of a garage
      Helpful Tip

      Test door balance by raising the door to midpoint and releasing it. It should stay put. Raise or lower the door another foot or so, and it should open or close slowly.

      Safety Alerts!

      Don't adjust or replace tension springs (one above each track) without the instructions supplied in the owner's manual or without the proper replacement parts. Never service a torsion spring (the spring above the door opening) system. These can be very dangerous and are best handled by a professional.

      The last thing to consider before getting started is power. You'll need a GFCI-protected receptacle in the ceiling adjacent to the power unit. If you're comfortable with basic wiring, you can extend power from an existing unswitched outlet or junction box. If not, hire a licensed electrician. If your ceiling is closed, use a surface wiring system. Remove all the ropes and locks from the door.

      Now that you've taken the proper precautions, it's time to start installing your new opener.

    • Step 1: Assemble the Opener

      Start by assembling the head tube or rail sections. Some snap together while others require fasteners. Make sure the traveler is installed on one of the sections and that an end cap is in place. You may also need to assemble a pulley on the idler assembly at one end. Then secure the other end to the power unit.

    • Step 2: Position the Traveler

      Place the traveler along the header tube or track, making sure to keep the correct distance between it and the power unit according to the unit's instructions. Measurements will vary according to the type of door you have – tracked or trackless – and the opener model.

    • Step 3: Attach the Chain to the Traveler

      Secure one end of the chain to the power-unit-side traveler carrier using a master chain link. Assemble the two links over the chain and traveler. Then push the retaining clip over the protruding link shafts with a screwdriver to lock it into the grooves on the end of the shafts. Wrap the chain around the power unit drive sprocket.

    • Step 4: Attach the Cable to the Traveler

      Attach the end of the chain to the looped end of the cable with a second master link. Make the second master link just like you made the first. Then feed the cable through the opening in the idler assembly, over the pulley, and then back toward the traveler. Attach this looped end of the cable to the door-side traveler carrier with a third master link assembly.

    • Step 5: Adjust the Chain/Cable Tension

      To tighten the chain/cable loop, turn the tension chain/cable adjustment screw clockwise. The chain should be nearly taut with only about 1/2-inch sag at its midpoint.

    • Step 6: Attach Unit to Header

      Locate the door center and draw a plumb centerline on the header above the door with a short level. Open the door to measure the distance from the floor to its high point with a tape measure. Then, measuring from the floor to the plumb line and adding the allowance prescribed for your door type, use a pencil to mark for and install the header bracket. With the power unit on the floor, raise the track/rod to attach the end in the header bracket.

    • Step 7: Locate the Power Unit

      Guiding the opener assembly, raise the door fully open so the opener rests on top of it. Using a short level, add a spacer between the door and unit to level the track. To locate the power unit, slide it from side-to-side until the measurements from a center point on the unit to an identical point on either side of the door are the same.

    • Step 8: Attach Power Unit

      Attach mounting straps (supplied in the kit) to the power unit. If your garage has an open ceiling, attach the mounting straps/bracket to a joist. If necessary use a hammer and nails to attach blocking between two joists then attach mounting straps/bracket to the blocking. With a closed ceiling, attach a 2" x 4" mounting board across the ceiling with screws and a drill. Then attach the straps to it. Check that header rod/bar is still level and adjust straps if required.

    • Step 9: Attach to Door
      power drill

      Attach the door bracket to the L bar, and the L bar to the straight bar. Then pull the emergency release on the traveler and slide the traveler to the door. Next, attach the straight bar to the traveler with the clevis pin or other fastener provided. Finally, fasten the bracket to the door with a power drill.

    • Step 10: Install the Manual Control

      Attach the manual button switch at a convenient location near an entry door but out of reach of young children. Run the low-voltage wires up the wall and across the ceiling, using a staple gun to staple them to the surface every couple of feet. Be careful not to damage the wire insulation.

    • Step 11: Install Switches & Sensors

      With some units, position the open-and-close limit switches along the traveler rail/rod and connect wires at the power unit. Install obstruction sensors, one on each side of the doors, at the same height and no more than 6 inches above the floor. Run the wires – stapled next to trim or wherever they are best protected – to the power unit where they plug in.

      Helpful Tip

      Mount the receiving sensor on the side least likely to have direct sunlight on it.

    • Step 12: Set Up Your Remote
      garage openergarage

      The remote control is set up so only it can activate the opener. On some models, there are dipswitches on both remote and power units that must be set to an identical set of positions. On other, more sophisticated units, the setup is done automatically and a different code is randomly activated every time you use the remote.

      Helpful Tip

      No door opener installation is complete without final adjustments to the open-and close-force controls and obstruction sensors. Be sure to test the door's operation according to installation instructions.

      Voila! Your garage door will now open and close with the mere touch of a button.

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