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Ever since we moved into our home, we've noticed the garage door was very noisy. Noisy enough that we'd always wait until we were inside the car with all doors and windows closed before pressing the garage door opener. I don't know much about garage doors, but assumed the noise was coming from the actual garage door opener. Later, I heard that the noise could be coming from the wheels on the garage door, which could be resolved by applying garage door lubrication. However, as it turns out, I believe most of the noise was coming from the fact that one of the torsion springs on the garage door had broken, which threw the garage door out of balance. This would then cause the garage door to rattle (noise) as it moved up and down the track. I also informed that have an old/cheap garage door might also be the source of the noise.
Given that my garage door itself looked to be in great condition, I didn't feel like spending money on a new garage door, especially if it was unnecessary. I did some quick searches online and estimated a new two car garage door would start at roughly $3000. That's too much. I decided to purchase a new Chamberlain 1-1/4 HP Belt Drive garage door for $245 + tax. I originally found it on Amazon for a similar price with the option of adding a $99 installation several years ago, but that deal was no longer available. Luckily, I found the deal at Home Depot.
Note there are cheaper garage door openers available, but there is a law in California (SB-969 Automatic garage door openers: backup batteries) that requires new garage door openers to have battery backup, in case of emergency. The battery increases the cost of the garage door opener that could have been nearly half the price.
The new garage door also has all types of bells and whistles, which my older screw drive garage door opener did not have. The most important feature I wanted was a more complicated security with over 100 billion combinations making it more difficult for random people to activate my garage door. My old screw drive garage door opener only had pins, which great limits the number of potential combinations.
Garage Door Types
There are three main types of garage doors I've experienced.
- Chain Drive - Chains pull up, which can cause a lot noise. This was what I recall from my home growing up.
- Screw Drive - Screw-like mechanism, and is also very quiet. This is the garage door in my current house (installed by previous owners)
- Belt Drive - Rubber belt, so should be very quiet (newly installed garage door opener).
The belt drive on a newly installed door is noticeably quieter. I do worry that in a hot garage, the rubber will wear out faster. A bit like how windshield wipers need to be changed as the rubber hardens under the sun. But time will tell.
New Garage Door Spring
When the garage door technician came by to install the garage door opener, he noticed the garage door spring was broken, only on one side. His recommendation was to change it out both, similar to how when one of your tires is looking flat, you change all four if possible. Not sure if he was trying to up-sell me, I was uncertain if I wanted to change both or just do one. Luckily, he convinced me to change both springs at a cost of $250 (in SF Bay Area in 2020). This price includes the parts, labor, and disposal of the old hardware. Part of the service includes greasing the springs and making sure the garage door is balanced.
After the installation of the garage door springs, I immediately noticed that the garage door was noticeably quieter when operated by hand. At this point, the new garage door until wasn't fully installed and plugged in yet. At this point, I realized the changing out the garage door was the right decision.
New Garage Door Opener
Now that the new garage door springs were installed. All that remained was a new garage door opener.