Over the past few years, more and more garages have been built with higher interiors. The ceilings are higher in the garages than they were in the past. Most are at least 9’ high, while others might even be as high as 12’ or 14’. If your garage door is about 7’ high, you might be wondering what you will be doing with all of that extra space. It will often depend on the type of garage door opener you have.
LiftMaster / Chamberlain, one of the top manufacturers in the field of electric garage door openers, have an answer for what can be done with the space. They have adapted the commercial and industrial garage door openers for residential use. It is called a Jackshaft opener, and it is a residential door opener with a secondary shaft.
What is this type of opener?
A trolley‑type opener is installed on the ceiling and in the middle of the door. A jackshaft opener, which has a second shaft, will be installed beside the door instead. These are often used in garages where there is at least 24” of headroom over the door. They can also be used in garages that have cathedral ceilings. Since the opener is on the side of the door, it means that it would be possible to use the extra space in the garage for overhead storage.
In addition to providing extra storage space, you will find that there are other times that it might be more advantageous to use a Jackshaft opener. For example, if there is low headroom over the door, but plenty of space on the side of the door, this type of opener could be a good fit. This is often the case with older garages. If there is a wide window over the garage door, or if there is a false panel installed over the door, the Jackshaft opener could be a good option. In some cases, the architects will prefer having a window above the garage door rather than on the door. If the track system is a high‑lift type, you will not see the tracks through the window. This will hold true if false door panels that are the same design as the door are installed.
This type of door opener will work well for doors that are 14’ high at most and 18’ wide at most. They can work well for “residential frequency of use.” This means that they are opened and closed between two to four times per day. This should be about normal for most garages, including those where recreational vehicles are kept.
What are the requirements?
To have this type of opener system installed, you will need to have at least 8” of space on one side of the door. It does not matter if it is the right or left side. There will need to be at least 3” of headroom over the top of the door.
You will also need a torsion‑type spring lift system for opening and closing the door and an electrical outlet that is at least six feet from the installation area. The housing for the opener is 16 ¼”, so make sure that you will have plenty of space available for it.
What are the benefits?
Now, let’s get a better understanding of just why you might want to choose this type of opener over the trolley‑type openers. As we’ve already mentioned, you will have a substantial amount of additional storage space when you select this option. This can help to keep things off of the floor, and it will ensure you don’t have to use a basement or an outdoor shed for your storage space.
The Jackshaft openers use a DC motor, which means that it will start slowly, increase to normal speed, and finish slowly. This will generally mean that the overall operation is quieter. This is especially true since the opener will not be attached to the wood joists, which can transmit sound and vibration through the garage and to the house beyond.
If you have a cathedral ceiling in the garage and choose a central trolley system, you would need to have a lot of added space behind the door, which is not always possible. It also has the potential to be dangerous. You will not need to worry about those concerns when you have a Jackshaft opener instead.
Safety should always be something that you consider carefully when it comes to choosing your garage door opener. When you have a Jackshaft opener installed on the side of the door, it reduces the risk of falling parts that could damage your vehicle, a pet, or a person. It is also safer from criminals since it will not be as easy for them to hit the safety release mechanism to open the door.
These openers also come with a backup battery. Model 8500W has an emergency battery that you will not find with trolley‑type door openers. It will ensure that you can open and close your garage door even if there is a power outage. The battery will generally provide you with about 20 open and close cycles.
Other fantastic features
In addition to the benefits that have already appeared above, you will find that there tend to be quite a few other benefits to using this type of garage door opener. You will have MyQ technology so that you can control the door from your phone. There are photo‑eye based reversal systems, you can disengage the system by pulling the emergency cord, and thanks to LiftMaster’s Security+ 2.0 system, your remote code can’t be copied.
The 8500W model also has an LED light that can installs anywhere you need in the garage. You can find plenty of other accessories for the door, too.