What to Do about a Noisy Garage Door Opener
One common complaint by homeowners is that their garage door opener makes too much noise. While it is not possible to have a truly silent opener and completely stop the noise, some openers are much quieter than others. Of the three main types of openers (belt, chain and screw), the belt drives are purported to be the quietest, with screw drives a close second and chain drives pulling up the rear. Higher priced units tend to run more quietly than economy-priced units, so you can say that money does provide help in this area.
Vibrations Transmit Noise
If you remember your basic physics, sound needs a medium to travel through, and air is by far the most common medium for transmitting sounds. Removing the air between your noisy opener and your ears will render your opener completely silent, but this not recommended, as life in a vacuum is pretty short. In the case of your garage door opener, your house also becomes a medium to transmit noise. Garage door openers are heavy machines and they need to be firmly attached to the framing members of your house to function safely. Noise and vibrations from the opener are often transmitted directly to the wood structure above. If this happens to be below the master bedroom, you can understand why this might be problem and why it’s not easy to stop noise from entering your home.
Mechanical Isolation is Possible
Handfuls of ways exist to address this common problem. One method is with the use of an after-market mounting kit designed to reduce vibrations. This kit uses air space and rubber cushions to reduce the transmission of vibrations and noise into the framing members of your house. Another method to stop the noise is more DIY, which can be as simple as hanging the opener from heavy duty rubber “straps.” Many new high-end openers have isolation mechanisms built into the frame and chassis to stop noise, so these special mounts are not required.
Gears or Track Noise
All openers have some type of track that carries and supports the chain, belt or screw. If these are not properly maintained, they can produce excess noise. You can stop the noise, or at least reduce it, by following the various manufacturer recommendations for lubrication and care. Another possible source of excess noise may be in the motor assembly itself. The opener motor typically transfers its rotation into the drive assembly through a set of gears; if these become damaged or worn, they can also produce unwanted noise. Check your owner’s manual for tips on keeping these gears turning quietly. If your opener was made before 1993 you might benefit from a complete replacement or upgrade. Newer designs have taken customer feedback into account and this has resulted in quieter machines. Machines built after 1993 also meet the newer federal safety regulations, so this can be a win-win situation for you as well.
Providing some type of mechanical isolation for the opener is one way to stop the noise; another may lie in a complete replacement or upgrade, or in some basic maintenance. Whether you dig out the old manual and your trusty ladder or just pick up the phone and call for help, you can stop the noise… or at least tame that noisy beast with some added knowledge.