How do I Install a Garage Door Opener?

Adam Hill

Garage door openers have become a nearly indispensable part of modern life. Their convenience makes them a standard feature of almost every home with an attached garage. The steps one must take to install a garage door opener are straightforward enough that almost anyone can do it. Instructions vary between manufacturers, but every installation has certain techniques and important precautions in common.

Garage doors must be in good working order before installing a garage door opener.
Garage doors must be in good working order before installing a garage door opener.

To install a garage door opener, it is necessary to first make sure that the garage door itself is in good working order. The door must be well-oiled and sturdy so that it will not get stuck or damaged by automatic opening and closing. All ropes or cords must be removed before installation as well. Finally, the door’s spring tension should be checked. If the door stays in place when lifted up halfway, then the spring tension is correct.

It takes anywhere from two to five hours to install a garage door opener. Assembling the opener itself is one of the simpler steps. It is best to place the power head upside down on the floor, exposing the hole where the rail is to be mounted. Next, line up the sections of metal rail along with nuts, screws, and other hardware, on the floor in the position in which they will be assembled. Some have arrow decals to show the proper way that everything should be pointing. As stated before, manufacturer’s instructions vary greatly, so at this point, assemble all the parts together as directed by the manufacturer.

A highly important step, which is necessary to be able to install a garage door opener, is to ensure that there is an appropriate place for a header mounting bracket to be attached. This is the piece of hardware that attaches the track of the opener to the front wall of the garage. If there is not a secure place to do this, the frame of the garage may have to be augmented in this area by adding a stud to which to secure the bracket.

Metal straps come with the opener, for the purpose of attaching it to the garage ceiling. The opener should be mounted high enough that a tall person won’t hit his head while walking under it, but low enough so that the opener’s emergency release cord can be reached by any adult. Once the opener is attached to the ceiling, and its track attached to the front of the garage, the opener’s door bracket can be bolted to the door itself. The garage door opener can now be used. If needed, adjustments can be made to the amount of upward and downward force exerted by the opener.

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