Installing A Garage Door Opener

Learn How To Install A Garage Door Opener

Homeowners rarely give their garage door openers a second thought. It’s just a device that opens and closes the garage door so we don’t have to get out of the car and lift it manually. We don’t really appreciate it until it’s too late and the unit breaks down and you’re stuck trying to lift the garage door in the middle of a thunderstorm and you hadn’t eaten your Wheaties that morning.

There are two ways that you could remedy this problem:

  • Hiring a professional to install a replacement garage door opener.
  • Learn how to install a garage door opener and do it yourself.

Hire A Professional VS. DIY

Deciding whether or not you should hire a professional who is familiar with garage door opener installations depends on a few factors:


Installing one of these units in your home isn’t a simple task. It’s going to take you several hours from start to finish. If you’re a busy person, doing it yourself may not be an option.


Installing a garage door opener isn’t something you can do all willy-nilly. It’s takes patience, care, and understanding to be able to do it. One small mistake in the installation process could lead to a faulty garage door, which could cause serious injury to you or your loved ones.


Newer garages will have an automatic open and close mechanism that may be too advanced for a lay-person to understand. A professional will be familiar with these advanced systems and will be able to properly wire the opener so your garage and home is secure.

Profesionals give better security

If you feel that you can safely and securely install your new opener, you could spend a full day with the project—but you could save a couple hundred bucks in the process.

How To Install A Garage Door Opener Yourself

If you’re reading this article, you are one of two people: someone who is replacing a garage door opener or someone who is trying to save some money by installing a garage door opener themselves. Whichever category you fall into, you’re interested in learning how to install a garage door opener and you’ve come to the right place!

What You’ll Need:

  • Ladder
  • Step Stool
  • ​Socket Wrench and Sockets
  • ​Phillips and Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Electric Drill
  • Steel Angle (Used to Reinforce Lightweight Garage Doors)
  • Drill Bits
  • Pliers
  • Pencil
  • ​Hammer
  • Steel Measuring Tape
  • 1x6” mounting board
  • 1” and 2” shims

Important Note:

Safety is incredibly important! Before you start working, make sure your garage door is able to open and close properly, and you also want to make sure that the door is balanced.

If the door is in good working order, disconnect the hardware that supports the door and disengage any locks (if not, make the necessary repairs or call a professional who can). Also, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and/or dangling accessories.

Step 1: Choose The Correct Garage Door Opener

If you have a double door, you’ll want to go with a ½ horsepower opener. If your door has a wooden or faux wooden overlay, you’ll want to increase the horsepower to ¾ HP. The higher horsepower will be able to lift the heavier doors with no problem.

Along with horsepower, you’ll want to choose between three types of garage door openers:

  • Chain Drives: Inexpensive and loud
  • Screw Drives: Mid-range and require little maintenance
  • Belt Drives: Expensive but they are the most silent

Step 2: Set The New Opener On A Ladder For Easy Installation

Place your opener on a ladder and use the lumber to reach the height you need. You’ll want to align the opener’s rail with the center of your garage door when it is open. Not only can you find center easier, but you know how far back you need to go. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that you have everything assembled and lined up properly.

Step 4: Installing The Garage Door Opener Reinforcement Bracket

Garage door openers typically come with everything you need to do the installations however, the straps that come with the unit aren’t the best quality. If your opener is going to hang more than 6” from the ceiling, you’ll want to get a reinforcement bracket to prevent the unit from swaying while it’s being used.

Garage Bracket Reinforcment Instalation

Step 5: Replace Old Components From The Old Opener

You’ve just spent a bunch of money on a new opener, you might be tempted to use the old photoelectric eyes or the old opener’s remotes. If there are any exposed wires that go from your opener to the photoelectric eyes and button, you’ll also need to replace them as well—especially if there is any sort of damage to the wire.

The new opener is going to be a lot more sensitive than the old one, and it may not work properly with damaged wires. If the wiring is behind a wall, you don’t have to replace them.

Step 6: Adjusting The Door’s Opening Force

If when you tested the door’s resistance and it doesn’t stop when you apply 5 pounds of pressure, you’ll want to adjust the opening force. To do this, you’ll want to look for the adjustment screws on the opener.

Opening and Closing Force

The location of these screws vary from one opener to the next. The adjustment screw may not need much adjustment—sometimes less than 1/8” turn.

Step 7: Use Rough Service Bulbs

Once you’ve adjusted the opening force, all that’s left to do now is put the light bulbs in your opener. You’ll want to use bulbs that can handle vibration, either a “rough service” bulb or bulbs designed specifically for the garage door. Keep in mind to not use a bulb that has a higher wattage than what the manufacturer recommends.


Deciding to learn how to install a garage door opener may be a skill that you’ll only use once or twice in your life. However, it’s a skill that will save you hundreds of dollars and you’ll have a sense of accomplishment because you were able to do it all by yourself.

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