August 16, 2019

How to know when it’s time to retire the old garage door opener

Do you know the average life span of an electric garage door opener?

Ask an expert and they’ll say it is 10 to 15 years. And yet, like so many other “averages,” there are a few caveats to that figure.

For instance, technological advances might make it wiser and savvier to do an upgrade. Also, updates in government regulations could mean an upgrade is essential. As an example, following California’s horrible wildfires in 2017 and an even worse year in 2018, the governor of that state signed a bill that will require all new residential openers to be equipped with a battery backup.

Garage door opener LiftMaster

Of course, some openers have a longer lifespan, such as LiftMaster’s Elite Series, and that could increase the value over the long term. However, even the best garage door opener won’t last forever. At the very least, they won’t operate to the standard you desire throughout their entire life span.

Of course, how any garage door opener is used plays a substantial role in its life, and because most homes have attached garages (rather than free-standing garages), the garage door is often the main point of entry. This can cause it to be used far more than most realize.

So, let’s take a closer look at garage doors, easily the hardest working device in any home and determine when it is the right time to retire one and get it replaced.

Start with Actual Age

If you didn’t install the current garage door opener during your time in the home, it can be tough to know the actual age of the unit. Fortunately, there are two simple ways to determine this figure:

  • If it is equipped with an automatic photoelectric reverse system that uses two sensors on opposite sides of the door, about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the ground, it was made after 1993. If not, it was manufactured before 1993.
  • Hop up on your trusty ladder and examine the metal motor housing on the garage door opener. Chances are you will find a serial and model number as well as the year of manufacture.

Either way, if your opener is more than 10 to 15 years old, it is time to consider sending it into retirement and upgrading the system. Yet, if it is not that old yet, you still want to consider the upgrade if you use the door opener and garage as your main point of entry. As is the case with any machine – the more you use it, the faster it wears out.

Yes, you may or may not have had maintenance and repairs done, and that will play a role. But if you have hesitated to determine the origins of odd noises or other malfunctions, it is likely that the system sustained premature wear. So, consider how often you have used it, and if you do regular maintenance (or have it done) as part of your consideration.

Don’t feel that 10 to 15 years is a reasonable time? Just consider that the spring system, whether torsion or extension (which is a counterweight for the total weight of your garage door) has an even shorter lifespan of just five to seven years.

Still confused? At Regional Doors & Hardware, can offer a more precise evaluation and let you know if you should change it right away, or if a proper tune‑up is all that’s needed.

Consider the other reasons

Naturally, the age of your garage door opener is not the only criteria. You’ll also want to consider these other reasons to do a replacement:

  • Manufacturer went out of business
    It is never recommended to keep any major device in use if the maker is no longer in operation. This is why we suggest long‑lasting brands like recommend LiftMaster / Chamberlain garage door openers as the company, founded in 1954, has a proven track record.
Convertible in front of a garage door
  • Safety is your focus
    Garage door openers made just a few decades earlier were not required to feature the safety systems that are standard today. In 1982, a voluntary industry standard required an automatic reversing mechanism be part of the garage door opener. In other words, should the closing door contact anything, it automatically stopped and reversed. Ten years later, legislation enacted in 1993 required all garage door openers to feature automatic photoelectric reversal systems. Older doors just don’t feature these two key safety systems and can lead to serious injury or death.
  • Home security
    Another innovation in garage door openers boosts their service as a form of home security. How? Before 1993, door openers were programmed using 7 or 8 dip switches that were set to -, + or 0. While this was nice, it left a system vulnerable to thieves with code detectors. Between 1993 and 1995, LiftMaster / Chamberlain created a coding system named Security and it generated millions of unbreakable codes. By 1996, they began offering their Security+ system, which has made it impossible to steal or break codes.
  • Clunky and noisy is not your thing
    No one likes to be jolted by the thunderous sound of an outdated garage door opener springing to life. Today, metal‑reinforced rubber belts can cut down on such issues. Options for wall-mounted openers placed next to the door, called Jackshaft door openers, are also beneficial for residential owners. For example, if there are rooms above the garage, such systems cut down on noise transfer and prevent jarring moments.
  • You Appreciate Innovation!
    In 2013, LiftMaster / Chamberlain brought an all-new technology to garage door openers, with the introduction of their MyQ system. Using the easy to download app, this tech allows owners to operate their doors from anywhere in the world. Open or close the door from any connected device, i.e. smartphone, tablet or laptop, receive a notification if the door opens or closes, or even set up a timer to open and close the door at predetermined times of the day using it. You can even double check that the door is closed while away, and if you have ever turned around and driven back to see if the door is shut – even just once – you’ll appreciate that innovative option.
 Application MyQ on smartphone

Want to Learn More?

If you live in or around St. Catharines, just contact us at 1-800-263-4972. We offer the full range of LiftMaster door openers, including those with belt drives or chain drives, installed centrally or beside the door, models fitted with an emergency battery so that you can open and close your garage door in the event of a power outage, and those with mobile tech.

If you’d like, we can send you a quotation by email. You can also pop in and visit us in our showroom. And if you decide to change your garage door you can sample all kinds of styles on your home using the Design Centre as well as finding inspiration in our image gallery.

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