How Your Garage Door Works

Understanding how your garage door works and the choices you have will give you new respect for that great, big door that goes up and down. Here are 5 things to know about how it works.

1. There’s a Motor. Of course! Usually that motor is about a half horse power, 6-amp motor that plugs into a 120 volt outlet. It not only raises the door; it slows the door as it lowers so it doesn’t crash land against the garage floor.

2. What Moves the Door? Your choice! Each of these devices is connected to the trolley to drive the door. The drive mechanism can be a belt, a chain or a screw. A belt mechanism is both the quietest and the most expensive. It has teeth on one side that allow the gear to raise and lower the door. Another choice is the chain. It’s like a big a bike chain. It’s the least expensive, but makes the most noise. A screw is a continuously threaded shaft that “reaches” out and grabs the door to raise and lower it. It’s middle-of-the-road – not too noisy and not too expensive. However, it needs to be lubricated!

3. The Track Can Be Called a Drive Guide or T-rail. It is the guide that shields the chain, belt or the screw and connects this mechanism or operator to the trolley that is connected to the door. And, all together they make your door go up and down!

4. There’s an Inverter and a Battery. In most garage door systems, this lets smaller and more efficient motors do the work by converting AC current to DC current. It also charges a battery that works as a backup systems so you can go in and out when the power is off.

5. The Garage Door Sensors Keep You Safe. Mandated by law since the 1990s, this is a very important safety feature. Two “eyes” send an infrared signal to each other. If that beam is broken, the garage door automatically changes from closing to opening. This protects people, pets and things from being injured by a garage door closing on them. Additionally, the door operator is set so that if it encounters resistance from an object it also auto-reverses. Check this with a roll of paper towels that are soft like the body of a child or pet.

Your garage door does a lot of work for you. On average, a garage door opens and closes about 1500 times a year. When you understand its parts, you should also understand the importance of keeping them well-maintained. Have a safety and maintenance check by a technician from a licensed garage door repair and replacement company. It will keep your door working and keep you and your family safe.

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