Garage door openers do not last forever, just like any mechanical device. And when your trusty old garage door opener reaches the end of its service life, you will want to install a replacement.
You can always hire a technician to do the work for you, although they will charge you for the service. But if you know how to replace garage door opener, you can install the new opener by yourself and save on the installation cost.
If you wish to step up and save some bucks, read along to learn how to replace your old garage door opener for a better experience.
How to replace garage door opener
Older garage door openers have several limitations that an upgrade can fix. Advances in garage door opener technology have brought numerous changes that can be incredibly beneficial.
With a simple upgrade, you can improve your home’s security while enjoying better efficiency and convenience in operating your garage door. A new opener can also go a long way in making your garage door safer for your family, pets, and property.
If it is time to install a replacement garage door opener, this article is all you will need to get the job done.
It walks you through the process of replacing your garage door opener and provides the tools and supplies you will need to complete the task.
Tools and materials you will need
- Smart garage door opener with its accessories
- Plastic duct for looping the sensor cables through the ceiling
- Adjustable wrench (open-ended)
- Flathead screwdriver
- Screw gun
Procedure for replacing a garage door opener
While the garage door installation may differ from one opener to another based on its specific features or parts, these steps should apply to any opener.
Step 1. Prepare the garage door for the installation of your new opener
An old garage door system may be worn out. Take a moment to inspect the various components of the garage door to ensure they are sound and capable of working with the new installation.
If the garage door has worn-out parts, replacing or fixing them before installing a replacement opener is best.
Check the springs, pulleys, cables, and fastening nuts that support the garage door’s weight. Ideally, these components are the ones doing the heavy lifting, not the opener.
Your garage door opener only moves the door but does not lift its weight. So, if the springs are correctly installed and the garage door balanced, it should remain suspended midway if you disconnect the opener and raise it to that height.
Step 2. Power off the existing opener
Once you are ready to start the new installation, disconnect the power supply to your garage by turning it off at the circuit panel. Once that is done, pull the electrical plug from the outlet.
The power outlet for your garage door opener is typically mounted near the motor unit in the ceiling. Start by removing the plug to power off the current opener.
Step 3. Disconnect the cables attached to the motor unit
It is unlikely that your garage door opener will have advanced features such as a sensor. So you may not require this step.
However, if the unit was manufactured after 1992, it will likely have terminals where various cables go in. Disconnect these as soon as you have unplugged the power cable from the electrical outlet.
Step 4. Disconnect the opener from the door
Pull the opener’s manual release handle to disconnect it from the garage door. This is typically a red handle above the door.
Firmly pulling it will release the opener, freeing it from the garage door.
Step 5. Take down the old opener
The next step is to unscrew the bolts attaching the motor unit to its mounting frame on your garage door ceiling.
Once the bolts come off, the unit will fall off, so ensure you hold it while undoing the bolts, then lower it gently to the floor.
The entire project is a two-person job, so be sure to have someone helping you. Unless you are more than seven feet tall, you will likely be on a stepladder, with the person assisting you helping to lower the unit to the ground gently.
While at it, save all the nuts and bolts safely to avoid losing them.
Step 6. Loosen and remove the bracket from the door
Just like you removed the bolts securing the motor side of the opener to the mounting bracket, do the same on the opposite end.
The open-ended adjustable wrench should do the job in this case, loosening the bracket from above the garage door. Once the bracket is free, carefully take it down from above the door.
Step 7. Install the new bracket.
You may rest the new motor unit on the ground or on a stand as you install its bracket over the garage door.
A screw gun will come in handy at this point. Ideally, the user manual that comes with the new opener will tell you the specifics that apply to your opener. Ensure you familiarize yourself with the instructions and refer to them as often as you find necessary during the project.
Step 8. Set the track in place and install the motor unit
Slide the new opener’s track into the bracket and use a wrench to secure it. After that, install the new motor into the existing mounting brackets on the ceiling. Use a wrench to bolt it into the bracket.
Step 9. Connect the curved lifting arm
To finish installing the opener to the garage door, attach the lifting arm to the trolley on one end and the other end to the track. The opener will have clips for securing the arm in place.
The lifting arm is a curved metal that assists the garage door’s movement along the track.
Step10. Install the garage door keypad
Your unit comes with a keypad that sits inside the garage. Wire this keypad inside the garage wall and run this wire to the motor unit through a conduit in the wall.
Follow the instructions in your manual to connect the keypad to the garage motor unit.
If your old garage door opener had security sensors, all you will need to do is connect the sensor wires to their respective terminals on the new motor unit.
These are usually color-coded, so installing them should be a breeze with a bit of help from your user manual.
- If the old opener had no sensors, install the sensor cables that come with the new opener and run them through a conduit in the wall and the attic. This may involve crawling over the attic to loop the cables from the motor unit to the sensors at the door.
- Mount the two sensors on their respective brackets on either side of the garage door about six inches from the ground.
- Use a screw gun to mount the wireless garage door keyless pad on the outside of your garage door.
- Plug the new unit into the power outlet and turn the power back on at the circuit panel.
The video provides a guidance on how to replace garage door opener in few steps.
Why replace a garage door opener?
While garage door openers have been on the market for decades, technology has changed incredibly over the years.
If your current opener is a decade or so old, it may be simple compared to current models. Continuing to use it could mean missing out on a lot of convenient features.
You might want to replace it with a more modern model to take advantage of these improvements.
More specifically, here are the reasons you might want to replace your garage door opener.
1. To install a more powerful opener
Residential garage door openers may have horsepower ratings from 1/3 to 1 ½ horsepower. Naturally, the 1/3 horsepower models are cheaper and smaller, while the higher horsepower models are more expensive.
Most one- or two-car garages feature ½ horsepower garage door openers. However, such garages can benefit from ¾ or higher horsepower openers.
So if your current garage door opener is worn out, your garage door could probably benefit from a higher horsepower model. This is a good reason why you might consider replacing your current opener.
2. To make your garage door quieter
Chain drive garage door openers are generally noisier than their belt drive cousins. If you have an older opener, the chances are that it is a chain drive model.
While such an opener might pack a significant amount of lifting power, it may be too noisy for a garage located near residential areas.
If you have such an opener with noise bothering your family, you can replace it with a belt drive option that operates more quietly.
3. To make your garage safer
Replacing your old garage door opener with a new one can mean introducing safety features such as an automatic reverse system that helps make the garage door less prone to accidents.
Smart lights, which are a common feature in most modern garage door openers, can go a long way in preventing accidents. You don’t have to grope in the dark for a light switch when you enter the garage late in the day.
The unit automatically detects your presence and activates the lights to illuminate the space.
Such illumination can help you spot objects on the garage floor before stumbling on them.
4. To make your home more secure
Most modern garage door openers come with security features such as integrated cameras, rolling codes, and smartphone integration that can make your home more secure.
A remote control device with a rolling code helps make your garage completely impossible for intruders to enter without your intervention. The frequency codes for accessing the garage change constantly to something different after each use.
This way, it becomes impossible for a hacker to hijack your remote control and gain unauthorized access to your garage.
Openers with smartphone integration will send a notification to your mobile handset each time the garage door is opened or closed.
Garage door opener models with integrated camera features can also activate your smartphone camera, allowing you to monitor the activity in your garage in real-time.
Additionally, a new garage door opener with smart lights can help deter intruders. Since the lights come on without warning, they give an intruder the impression that someone might be watching them.
Some openers also have automatic locks or a timer-to-close feature that closes your door for you even if you forgot to do it yourself.
5. For added convenience
Upgrading to a more modern garage door opener can mean getting smart features and lots of handy features, such as a remote operation that allows you to operate your garage door from anywhere around the world.
With the smartphone integration that comes with modern openers, you can operate your garage door from anywhere with a Wi-Fi signal.
And if you leave your home in a hurry, forgetting to close the garage door, you do not have to drive all the way back to close it. You can do that with a simple touch of a button on your phone.
Neither do you have to rush back home to receive a delivery. Modern garage door openers have exciting features such as the Amazon Key that allows Amazon personnel one-time access to your garage to make a delivery.
When is it time to change your garage door opener?
The garage is a crucial entry point into your home, so you want it working properly at all times. Unfortunately, an older model with an accumulated list of problems may not work as desired.
Thankfully, garage door openers do not typically just break down overnight; they leave a trail of telltale signs to alert you to the need for action.
By reading these telltale signs correctly, you can easily tell when it is time to upgrade to a new opener.
Here are the warning signs to tell you when your garage door needs a new opener.
Your opener makes loud, unusual noises
Garage door openers consist of electric motors that become exceedingly noisy as they approach their end.
When the motor unit on your garage door opener starts producing unusual noises, it could be a telling sign that your opener has reached its sunset days—time to find a replacement for it.
The chains on older garage door openers will also typically become noisier as they age and become slack.
A new garage door opener will introduce a new set of parts operating more quietly.
Your garage door moves slower than usual
A slow-moving garage door indicates a worn opener motor. Such an opener is no longer operating at its peak.
At worst, the garage door may begin to detach itself from the opener from time to time. A detaching garage door opener can put your family, pets, and property in danger, as the door will fall to the ground each time the opener detaches.
Such a garage door can crush anything on its way during the free fall.
Unusual, noticeable vibration
An aging opener may have bent shafts and damaged armatures, creating excessive vibration while operating. Such vibrations will become noticeable as the garage door opener runs.
When you start noticing excessive vibrations on your garage door opener when it runs, it may indicate an aging unit. Replacing such a unit may be crucial.
Your garage door frequently opens and reverses
Several problems typically cause the garage door to reverse after opening. Most of these problems are easy to fix without requiring the help of an expert.
However, if this behavior becomes commonplace, it may signify an aging garage door opener malfunctioning due to worn electronic parts.
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs
Q1. Can I replace a garage door opener myself?
Yes. You can replace your garage door opener with a new one with tools like wrenches, screw guns, and stepladders that you likely already have in your home. The installation task is moderately challenging, so ensure you follow the instructions in the user manual carefully.
Q2. Can you replace a garage door opener without changing the rails?
You cannot replace a garage door opener without changing the rails because rails are specific to each automatic garage door opener installed. This explains why every garage door opener usually comes with its set of tracks to fit your garage door.
Final thoughts on replacing a garage door opener
If your garage door opener disturbs your peace with excessive noise or has started showing signs of aging, replacing it may be your best resource.
While you can hire a garage door technician to install a new opener for you, doing the work on your own can be an excellent way to save on the service cost.
If you decide to replace your garage door opener yourself, this guide and your user manual are all you will need to complete the job. We hope this material helps you out.
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.