Garage Door Openers

Way back in 1980 I bought a Genie model 850 screw drive with two remotes. Even though it was more expensive than the chain drive, I bought the screw drive because it was touted to be quieter and more reliable.

The old Genie finally quit being reliable recently and I was trying to decide if it was worth repairing it. I decided to replace it with a Chamberlain 1/2 hp chain drive opener.

I don’t remember where I got the idea that a screw drive was quieter. That old Genie was anything but quiet. You could hear it grinding a block away when it was moving the garage door. On the other hand, the new chain drive is very quiet. You can hear the motor hum if you are in the garage while it is working. If you are in the house and the door to the garage is closed, you cannot hear any noise at all.

If you stop to think about what is going on, the chain drive being quieter is perfectly logical. The chain drive moves the garage door with chain and cable. The cable runs on a plastic idler pulley. The only contact the chain has is with the drive sprocket. The screw drive has a ten foot plus floppy drive screw that rotates in a ten foot plus long housing. Lots of metal to metal contact. Of course it will be noisy.

I had been considering a 3/4 hp opener instead of the 1/2 hp because my garage door is a heavy wooden door. In actuality, door weight has no bearing on the force required to move the door. Garage door weight is offset by spring tension. In fact, the first step in the installation manual is to verify that the garage door is balanced. Meaning that if you open the door half way manually it will stay put when you release it. The weight of the door will keep it from opening further and the spring tension will keep it from closing. Thus it is balanced. When it is balanced it does not need much force to open and close it. A 1/2 hp opener is probably overkill for a properly adjusted garage door regardless of weight.

My only regret is not having bought a chain drive opener in the first place. This is one of those situations where the cheaper solution is the best solution.

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