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Q:Is my Garage Door Suitable for an Electric Opener?

In most cases, the answer is yes, but there are some doors that simply will not work properly or safely as an automatic door. If you have a garage door that was manufactured in the last 10 years and is an up and over, sectional or side hinged mechanism then you can almost guarantee it can be made into a remote control, electric operated door. Older than 10 years then you will have to be careful what the manufacturer and model is as there are some doors that simply won't operate properly whatever accessories are used.

A simple rule of thumb however is if the door works fine manually, then it is OK to automate, but an electric operator should never be seen as a fix for a badly fitted or unbalanced manual door, or indeed a very heavy old door with everything worn out. The safety detection systems built into every garage door operator wont work properly if your door isnt balance correctly in the first place.

If you have a Hormann, Garador, GDO, Wessex, Fort or Novoferm up and over door and it has the 'retractable' operating gear with tracks running horizontally into the garage, then you can buy any number of simple 'boom' type electric operators. They simply bolt on to the door and will pull and push the door open and closed all day long with ease, assuming the door is balanced properly already.

If the door is one of the 'canopy' types then you can still achieve electric operation but will require what is known as a 'bow arm converter', which is a metal device that fits to the back of the garage door panel and helps to simulate the twisting action required with a canopy door to operate properly, all the way up and down. You still need to buy the 'boom' type operator, but also need this device to achieve full opening and a secure closing position. See our 'electric operators' page >

For ANY sectional garage door the addition of an electric operator is very simple, by adding a 'boom' type operator above the door you will be able to operate this door type with ease. All sectional garage doors have to be balanced with their spring system as a manual door so adding an operator is simple as they all operate in the same way. The only exceptions would be any sectional door with high lift gearing where you would ne further adaptations to enable.

Of course as with any of the doors types additional headroom is required to accommodate the electric operator 'boom' and also the motor head section at the back end. Generally to have a modern European manufactured electric operator you will need about 50mm above the highest point of the top section of the door panel when half opened.

For swing type, hinged, garage doors you need a 'swing door conversion kit' to be installed with the electric operator and what this does is pushes and pulls the 2 door panels for opening and closing and has the built in safety feature of the obstacle obstruction detection present in all modern electric operators sold in the UK. Of course some operators are far better than others and when using these additional items to make a garage door electric we always recommend you get the sturdiest door opener possible to alleviate any issues with sensors and excessive movement in the operator during operation which may trigger the safety cut out as it thinks it has hit something.

Roller garage doors are not quite so easily made into electric operation as the very popular double skinned aluminium roller door always has a 'barrel' motor drove hidden within the centre of the curtain barrel. If you order a roller door of this kind as a manual door then making it electric operated at a later date will be very tricky indeed as the whole think will require unassembling to reassemble with the motor and other parts. For a steel single skin roller door the motor can be added easily as it is fitted externally.

For ANY garage door that is currently a manual operation you must never assume that because the door may be difficult to open or close that an electric operator will be the answer. For an electric operator to work correctly and safely the garage door must be balanced as near to perfect as possible in order for the safety mechanisms to work properly. If the door is very heavy it is certainly possible to get an electric motor to hoist the door up by overriding the safety cut out but of course the safety will be non existent and the motor will be under undue stress and not last very long at all. An electric operator is not a substitute for a badly fitted or balanced garage door!! Automating Existing Garage Doors >  

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