Garage Door Repair 101: Replacing The Garage Door Opener

The average garage door opener can offer years of reliable and faithful service. But as with any mechanical device, there's a limit to how long your opener will last. A well-cared unit can last for as long as 12 years with the proper care, but you should be prepared to replace it when the time comes. The following offers a comprehensive guide for removing and replacing your home's garage door opener.

Try a Little Troubleshooting, First

Prior to replacing your garage door opener, you'll want to make sure it isn't malfunctioning due to a simple oversight or minor cause:

  • Make sure your garage door opener is plugged into a functioning power outlet, first. It's minor yet common oversight that causes unnecessary repairs and replacements.
  • Make sure the garage door opener's locking feature hasn't been activated, if it comes with one. It's yet another reason why homeowners assume their opener is malfunctioning.
  • Check the remote control and make sure it has fresh batteries. You might want to reprogram the remote based on the manufacturer's instructions, just in case.
  • Clean and check the photoelectric sensors. Dirt and grime can easily block the signal needed to open or close the garage door.
  • Take a look at the chain and make sure it hasn't come loose or snapped under strain.
  • Check the tracks and make sure they're not bent or filled with debris.

If the above checks out, but your garage door still doesn't work, then there's a good chance that the garage door opener has stopped working due to age or defect. At this point, you'll want to go ahead with the replacement process.

The Removal Process

The removal process is surprisingly straightforward, although it requires a second person to successfully complete:

  • First, unplug the garage door opener from its power outlet. You'll also want to disconnect the photoelectric sensors and radio transmitters connected to the opener at the unit's low-voltage terminals, which are accessible by removing the unit's cover.
  • Next, place a stepladder underneath the garage door opener. If necessary, you can shore up the opener's height with plywood until you reach the correct height. Carefully disconnect the opener's control rail from the bracket above the garage door.
  • Disconnect the opener from the support brackets holding it in position. As you unbolt and lower the opener, you may want another person at the other end to hold the rail for added safety.

Afterwards, you'll be ready to install your new garage door opener.

Installing the New Opener

As you inspect the new garage door opener, you'll notice that it requires quite a bit of assembly before it can be mounted in place of the old unit. The first step involves assembling the rail according to the instructions provided with the new opener. This includes installing the chain, belt or screw that'll help move the door, as well as the stop switches and couplers.

Once this is done, you can proceed with the following:

  • With the garage door opener situated on the floor, attach the rail onto the opener using the supplied fasteners. Make sure the belt, chain or screw is properly connected to the opener.
  • With the help of your assistant and with the garage door closed, lift the assembly into position and carefully set the opener on the stepladder. Have your assistant connect the other end of the rail onto the bracket on the garage door.
  • Carefully connect the garage door opener to the support brackets using the supplied fasteners. Once the opener is firmly secured to its brackets, attach new wiring to the photoelectric sensors and radio transmitters as instructed in the manufacturer's manual.

Afterwards, give your new garage door opener a test run to work out any kinks you come across. In addition to aligning the photoelectric sensors, you'll also want to adjust the railing stops so the door opens and closes at the correct height.

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