How to Install a Garage Door Opener

Disclaimer: These are general instructions for a garage door opener installation. We highly recommend hiring a professional garage door technician for the job. We are not responsible for any consequences following this guide. 

Are you tired of opening the garage door by hand? You can try to install a garage door opener yourself instead of hiring someone to do it. The installation should be ready in a few hours and having an opener will make opening and closing the garage door every day much easier and faster.

Part 1: Prepare to install a garage door opener

Assess if you have the type of garage door to which an opener can be added. Most new overhead garage doors with multiple horizontal sections should be compatible with an opener. Older doors with a one-piece panel may need to be replaced before the opener can be installed.

Choose the door opener to install. There are two basic types of openers: chain and belt. Both work basically the same but operate with slightly different parts.

A belt drive garage door opener is quieter in operation. It must be taken into account when selecting which one is more convenient for you (e.g. bedroom above the garage vs. detached garage, etc.).

Prepare your garage door for the opener installation. Make sure the door is in good working condition.

The weight of a garage door is supported by the door springs, cables, and pulleys, not by the opener. If it is not possible to open and close the door normally by hand, do not install the opener until it has been repaired.

Remove all the strings and cords from the door so as not to get caught with them during installation.

Deactivate or remove all door locks, so that they do not accidentally activate and damage the opener or cause an injury.

Make sure there is an electrical plug in the area near the opener motor. They usually are on the ceiling, facing down. You will have to use an authorized electrician to do it if you don’t have it yet.

If you need to install permanent electrical cables, remember to disconnect the power in the box where the main switch is before connecting the cables. Always connect the power supply of the opener to a properly grounded plug to avoid the risk of electric shock.

Part 2: Install the garage door opener

Arrange all opener parts. Verify that the parts list included with the opener matches the physical parts included in the box.

The assembly begins. The opener will come with a detailed installation manual, so follow it faithfully to begin assembly.

Assemble the rail first. It will be divided into several parts that are easily assembled. Connect them following the installation instructions.

Next, you will have to slide the trolley onto the rail. It is the piece of the opener that will open the door when moving on the rail.

Attach the rail to the engine compartment. It is the largest part of the opener and will be the one that is furthest from the garage door.

Slide the belt or chain along the end of the rail, and then install the pulley at the end of the rail, on the side opposite to the engine compartment. The end of the chain or belt should have a screw to be able to screw it to the trolley/carriage with ease. This screw also allows you to adjust the tension of the belt or chain.

Install the ceiling mount, if it is not already. This is how you can hook the door opener to the ceiling. The instructions must include detailed specifications for installation.

Be sure to hook the opener construction to the beams (solid wood) of the ceiling and not to the plaster.

Find the point of connection to the door and hook the bracket included with your opener to the door itself. The distance to the top of the garage door should be specified in the opener’s instructions and most commonly it should be placed centered on the door.

If the opener does not include the bracket, check the instructions to determine which one you need.

Support the end of the assembly (the opposite part of the engine compartment) above the garage door. Attach the opener bracket to the wall above the door and springs, and insert the end of the rail assembly into it. Connect them as instructed in the instruction manual.

Lift the motor end of the assembly and place it in place. Install the motor unit high enough so that it does not pose a danger even to very tall people, placing it parallel to the ceiling, if possible.

Attach the opener to the garage door bracket. In many cases, there will be two pieces to be used to hook the door to the opener, allowing some flexibility in the connection, since the distance between the door and the opener assembly is variable.

Part 3: Install additional items

Attach the safety cord to the trolley. Garage door openers must have a manual disconnect cord. It should be adjusted to be about 6 feet so that any adult can reach it.

Place a bulb in the opener socket, if you have one. In the instruction manual or inside the opener compartment, the appropriate voltage for the bulb should be indicated, but it is convenient to buy one that is resistant to withstand vibrations. The light will come on when the door is opened, but it can also be turned on manually.

Many garage door openers use the light to indicate that they are making programming changes. Be sure to install your opener bulb to ensure you can program the door correctly.

Install the safety sensors included with the garage door opener. You will have to run two small wires through the bottom of each side of the door, to which the sensors will connect at no more than 6 inches above the ground.

Be sure to follow the instructions and wiring diagram included with the opener.

Install the wall-activation button about 5 feet from the ground, so that children cannot reach it. Place it in a spot where the person using it can see the garage door.

Install and program any optional equipment included, such as the keypad to open the door from outside or remote openers.

Adjust the safety sensor system correctly. Look for the details in the opener manufacturer’s instructions.

Test the garage door to make sure the opener is working properly and follow the manual instructions to adjust the opening and closing limits. If the door and opener move smoothly, all parts are properly secured and there are no obstructions that block the movement of the door or opener, everything is correct.

Some openers can make a lot of noise when they work normally, so don’t assume that this noise indicates that the installation is not correct.

Tips

If you see that there is damage in any part of the opener, do not use it until it has been repaired by the qualified technical service. Never use the door if the security system does not work properly.

Once a month, check that the safety reversing system and the sensors work and readjust whatever is necessary. Also periodically check the manual operation of the door.

Always give priority to the installation manual included with your opener. It is written for the specific opener, while these instructions are more general.

Reinforce light fiberglass or metal doors before installing an opener to prevent damage to the door and ensure that the safety reversing system works properly.

Warnings

If possible, use manual disconnection only when the garage door is completely closed. The opener will not have to carry the weight of the door and, if the springs are weak or broken, disconnecting it could cause the door to slam on the ground.

Always disconnect the electrical power of the opener when you are checking the unit or working near the chain/belt or other moving parts.

Never alter or remove the springs, cables or pulleys from the garage door. Doors with torsion springs should only be checked by a qualified garage door service technician.

Do not allow children to use or play with the opener. Keep the transmitter in a place inaccessible to them.

Do not wear rings, watches or large clothing while installing or maintaining the garage door or opener. They could get caught with a moving part and cause you an injury or damage an item.