Garage door openers are fairly simple mechanisms that tend to last a long time. The average lifespan is 10 to 15 years, but if you keep current on the maintenance of the rollers and springs, it's possible to get 20 years or more out of a good garage door opener. But even if yours is still working fine, there are good reasons to consider replacing it. Newer models offer increased safety, security, and convenience, and these advantages may well be reason enough to buy a new garage door opener.
Since 1993, garage door openers have been required to be equipped with a safety reversing mechanism. This feature utilizes two sensors about six inches above floor level on both sides of the door. When an object, such as a child or pet, runs through the light beam passing between these sensors while the door is closing, the door immediately stops and reverses direction.
If your garage door opener does not have a safety reversing feature, or if the one it does have no longer works, replacing the opener is highly recommended as a safety measure.
Does your garage door opener wake people up or otherwise disrupt the household because it makes so much noise? If so, a new opener will almost certainly be quieter.
The original style of garage door opener opened and closed with a chain drive. If you can see something that looks like a bicycle chain near the motor unit of your opener, consider replacing it with a screwdriver or belt-drive garage door opener. Even a newer model chain drive unit will likely be quieter than an older model, but screw drives are noticeably quieter, and belt drives are the quietest of all.
Older garage door openers can be vulnerable to thieves. Because their remote controls functioned with a fixed code, someone with a special device may be able to sit outside your house and find the code, allowing them to open the garage door.
New garage door openers have a “rolling code” feature, which changes the code every time the unit is used. Thieves can no longer duplicate the code and get into your garage uninvited.
Older garage door openers did not offer keypads that could be mounted outside the garage. This handy feature allows you to enter a code into the keypad that will open the garage door. No keys are required. You may be able to buy a keypad to install with your existing garage door opener. If not, though, this might be a good reason to upgrade. Newer keypad units even eliminate the need to remember a code. They operate by touch, using fingerprint detection to open the door.
One of the big inconveniences of a power outage is often the inability to operate the garage door opener. Garage door openers are now available with battery backup systems that will kick in automatically when you lose electrical power.
Newer garage door openers make it possible to program and control a garage door from the Homelink feature built into many new automobiles. No remote control units are necessary with these systems; controls built into your car can open or close your garage door when programmed to recognize the garage door opener.
Wireless "Smart-Home" Features
The latest generation garage door openers offer wifi and cell-phone connectivity that allows you to lock or unlock your garage from a remote location, or alert you when your garage door is open, no matter where you are located. A cell phone, computer, or pad device equipped with the proper app can monitor and control the garage door. Such garage door openers often come with digital controls and read-outs that offer time and temperature display, motion-sensor light control, and programmed lock-down periods for the garage door.