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You may be well aware that your garage door works by pressing a button (either on a remote, the MyQ app, a keypad, etc.) that communicates with something in your garage and makes the door lift up. However, in the event of a broken garage door or your system needing servicing, knowing the basics about how your opener works will help you understand the problem and communicate with professional technicians effectively.

What does ‘opener’ refer to in a garage door system?

A number of people refer to their garage door openers incorrectly. While a lot of people refer to the remote they press in their car as an opener, this is not technically accurate! The true ‘opener’ is the unit located typically overhead in the garage (more on that below) that sends and receives radio signals. That being said, there are a few different types of openers and each is part of a garage door system that works a bit differently. Knowing which opener you have and how it works with the other parts of your garage can be beneficial.

Types of Garage Door Openers and How They Operate Differently

Chain-Drive Openers

If your garage door is noisy as it opens and shuts, chances are you have a chain-drive system. When you tell the door to open via your remote, the opener receives the signal and the door is pulled with a chain and gear mechanism. The loud clunky noises are to be expected, and come with the contact of the metal chain, gears, and tracks.

Belt-Drive Openers

Belt-drive openers are also located between the tracks and affixed from the ceiling of your garage. These are often the preferred type of opener because they are very quiet, and ideal for homes with attached garages that may sit below a bedroom (for example). The mechanism operates in much the same way as a chain-drive opener, but rather than a metal chain, the door is pulled with a rubber belt.

Jackshaft-Drive Garage Door Openers

Jackshaft drivers are unique and not as common in most areas. These openers are affixed to a wall rather than the ceiling of a garage, and operate on a DC motor. These openers are ideal for large garage doors, and also carry the benefit of saving space for overhead garage storage.

Openers & Garage Door Anatomy

Regardless of which type of opener you use, all openers serve a central role in your automatic garage door system. For this reason, it is important to have a general understanding of the other parts involved.

  • Tracks/Rails: Every system has its own set of 3 tracks located on the sides and in the middle that the door slides along.
  • Spring: This is a part that holds the tension of the door and winds/unwinds when the door is in motion. You should never try to service a spring yourself as it is very dangerous.
  • Safety Sensor: Mandated by federal law that each home have a pair, the safety sensors or photo eyes are located on the inside of your garage near the ground. They play the important role of reversing the opener system if something is in the way.
  • Rollers: These are located along the garage door tracks to help guide your door smoothly up and down. These can sometimes be culprits of loud noise, and lubricating your tracks with garage door lubricant may ease the issue. If lubrication doesn’t work, they can be replaced.
  • Emergency Release: This is the (usually) red string and handle that hangs down from your opener. When pulled, you can operate your garage door manually.

Troubleshoot Your Garage Door with Amega

Amega Garage Doors & Openers services Des Moines area garage door systems with maintenance, repair, and installations. If you have an issue or are due for an inspection, contact our team today!