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Install A Garage Door Opener In Nine Easy Steps

If you are tired of getting out of your car in the snow, rain, wind, or blazing heat to open your garage door, the solution is an automatic garage door opener.

You can hire a contractor to install a garage door opener for you, but you can save money and do it yourself with a free Saturday and a few simple tools. Choose a suitable opener at your local hardware or home improvement store. Automatic garage door openers can be found in three drive mechanism types (chain, belt, and screw drive) and different horsepower ratings. Consult an expert at the store for advice. Rule of thumb: double or oversize garage doors will require a more powerful unit than single doors.

When you get ready to install the opener, always follow the manufacturer's detailed installation instructions. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Assemble the required tools and materials. You will need a ladder, steel measuring tape, pencil, electric drill and drill bits, a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench, and 1" and 2" lumber for shims. Depending on your particular situation, you may also need steel angle to reinforce the garage door and a mounting board for the power unit.
  2. Assemble the drive mechanism to the power unit, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Carefully measure the locations of the header bracket on the door and the power unit on the garage ceiling. Adjust height per manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Mount the power unit solidly to ceiling joists, or to 2X4 nailed between joists, using the steel angle and mounting straps provided.
  5. Manually check for smooth operation and proper clearances, then attach traveler to the garage door bracket using hardware provided.
  6. Mount the push-button control unit at least 5' above the floor, out of reach of small children. Mount and adjust electric-eye safety interlock.
  7. Provide power to the unit. Use a nearby electrical outlet if possible. If you need to add an outlet, be sure to follow local electrical codes.
  8. Turn on power and test. Adjust open position and safety reverse per manufacturer's instructions.
  9. Program remote controller(s) per manufacturer's instructions.

Now you can stay warm (or cool) and dry as you come home and drive into your garage. Remember, before you begin your installation, check your local building codes and make sure your installation is in compliance. Observe all safety precautions during installation: make sure the door hardware is functioning properly; remove mechanical locks from the door; turn off electrical power before doing any wiring; wear safety glasses while using the drill.

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