All you need to know about electric garage doors

All you need to know about electric garage doors
Electric garage doors, or to use their proper name, electrically operated automatic garage doors, first started to appear in America in the 1930’s but it wasn’t until after the second world war that electric garage doors were becoming commercially available. By the 1970’s garage door automation systems were looking something like the products we would recognise today.

So what is an electric garage door?

Ok, for a garage door to be electric it needs to start with a garage door. The door needs to work on its own as a manual product irrespective of whether an automation system is used, just in case the power or operator itself fails, or if you just decide you don’t want to use the automation.

Most garage door systems are available as a manual only product and the electric part can be added at a later date or purchased and installed at the same time as the door. An automation system is usually comprised of an electric motor, a control system and a mechanism that attaches the motor to the door.

So to answer the question, an electric garage door is a garage door that has an electric motor and control system attached to it.

How secure are electric garage doors?

How secure are electric garage doors
The quick answer to this question is ‘it depends’… Not all garage doors and automation systems are made of the same stuff, and unfortunately, there can be big differences in the quality and security aspects of the various makes and models of electric garage door systems currently available.

While some automation systems can actually reduce the security of a manual door, some products are more secure with an electric automation system fitted.

One problem is that the mechanical locking mechanism of a garage door often needs to be disengaged to allow the door to open automatically; this means that the security of the door is relying solely on the locking mechanism of the electric operator which in some budget models can be quite limited.

Automation systems that offer physical mechanical locking, even in the event of a power failure, and systems that automate a doors own mechanical locks offer much higher levels of security. For more information on the security of electric garage doors check out our dedicated article Are electric remote control garage doors secure?

How safe are electric garage doors?

How safe are electric garage doors
Garage doors are pretty big and heavy. This means that they have a number of potential risks and hazards associated with them. Adding an automation system to a garage door can also add to that risk. Safety legislation has improved dramatically over the last few years to ensure that all the products available today meet extremely high standards and have a number of safety features built in as standard.

Currently, any automatic garage door system sold and installed in the UK falls under the construction products directive and has to be CE marked. This guarantees that the product meets a number of safety requirements and so most modern electric garage door systems are extremely safe and reliable.

They do, however, need to be installed and set up correctly for these safety systems to work so it is important to make sure that they are fitted by a professional company. For more information on the safety of electric garage doors take a look at our dedicated article Electric garage door safety and legislation

Can I automate my existing garage door?

Opening your garage door at the touch of a button (or the swipe of a fingerprint) can make life that little bit easier, especially if you have an older and heavier garage door, and whilst most manual garage doors can be automated it is not always a straight forward procedure.

An automation system will not automate the repair of a broken or badly fitted garage door. The addition of an automation system also needs to be safe and reliable. If the existing door is in good working order then adding an electric operator is often a reasonably inexpensive and simple procedure but if the door has older door gear or is extremely heavy to operate then the cost of repairing and upgrading it can often be similar to the cost of a complete new modern door and operator.

So what automation system should I buy?

Automation technology has come a long way in the last few years and most of the systems on the market today are reasonably reliable and safe. Obviously, if you need any additional features such as keypads, fingerprint scanners or integration into your home Wi-Fi network then you need to look for models that support these options.

There are a few basic features, however, that we recommend you look out for;

  • By law, all garage door automation systems in the UK should comply with the European safety standard BS EN 13241-1 and should be CE marked.
  • Operators that feature mechanical locking offer much higher levels of security.
  • Boom arms that feature fabric ‘belt drive’ systems as opposed to screw or chain drives are much more durable and quieter.
  • Soft start and stop motors ensure quiet operation and reduce wear and tear.
  • Built in courtesy lighting.
  • So what is the best electric garage door? The simple answer is one that is safe, reliable and secure. It also has to offer the features that the user needs, this might be supporting a fingerprint scanner or the ability to be operated by a mobile phone. If the system is being used in conjunction with an automatic gate system it may need to accept an external receiver or you may want it to integrate with a lighting system on your garage.

    Here at ABi Garage Doors we have been installing and repairing garage doors and automatic operators for over 25 years. We have seen a number of changes over this time and have experience of most garage door operators and their technologies. Our expertise is unrivalled and we are more than happy to discuss your electric garage door requirements. So for more information on safe, reliable and secure automation systems why not pop into our showroom or contact a member of our dedicated and friendly sales team.