Anything made before safety sensors came onto the market in the 1990's risks injury. Garage door openers are fairly simple mechanisms that tend to last a long time. Even if yours is still working fine, there are good reasons to consider replacing it. Newer models offer increased safety, security and convenience. Here are some of the primary reasons why you might want to install a new garage door opener. Safety is a key reason but not the only reason.
Safety Reversal: 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 any object, such as a child or pet, runs through the light beam created by these sensors while the door is closing, the door immediately stops and reverses. 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.
Noise Control: 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 screw drive or belt drive garage door opener. Even a newer model chain drive unit will likely be quieter than an older model.
Security: Older garage door openers were vulnerable to thieves. Because their remote controls functioned with a fixed code, someone with a special device could 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. Bad guys can no longer duplicate the code and get into your garage uninvited.
No Keys: 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 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.
Battery Backup: 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. This is of course counteracted by the use of the emergency pull cord that most garage doors have. But for extended problems with power outrage it's a great idea to have the battery backup in place.