A guide to side- and wall-mounted garage door openers

Traditional ceiling mount garage door openers have made garages easy to enter for decades, but some garages aren't built to handle the extra bulk on the ceiling or the size of some of the extra-wide doors out there. Luckily, jackshaft garage door openers have become a viable alternative to bulky ceiling models. They are wall-mounted garage door openers that work in tandem to pull your garage door up from both sides, rather than a central point on the ceiling. Jay Leno, a huge car aficionado, uses this type of opener on the garages he uses to store his many boxes on tires.

Should I use a wall- or side-mounted garage door opener?

If you are happy with your current ceiling model, then you probably don't want to make the switch. Wall-mount garage door opener models use completely different pulley systems that attach directly to the torsion bar. It is pretty hard to do a conversion from one style of opener to another without completely disassembling your system and doing a little fabrication work. This kind of opener is best done on an original install.

Since these openers are sleek and slim, you don't have to worry about the bulk of a ceiling mount or if it will be able to haul your large door. Wall- or side-mount garage door openers attach to the wall on either side of your door and don't take up much space at all. These models are good for garages with extra-tall ceilings, since they will offer easier maintenance access to your opener. They are also good for extra-low garage ceilings, since they clear up space above your cars. Jackshaft openers are also good for garages with odd beam placement or tight and awkward installation spaces. Plus, a wall-mounted garage door opener is a lot easier to get to for repairs; instead of working with your arms over your head, you can simply climb a ladder and be on eye-level with all the elements.  

Side-mount openers have some convenient advantages for people who are tired of the sounds of grinding chains, and the inconvenience of having to open the door yourself every time the power goes out. Jackshaft openers are much quieter than models that use chains and pulleys. If the power goes out, most models include a battery backup so that your door will still open no matter what type of inclement weather is headed your way. Like ceiling-mounted garage door openers, jackshaft openers offer manual shut-off and light beam sensors to prevent accidents. And of course, you can program any type of remote openers to work with your side-mount jackshaft opener.

It is possible to install side-mount openers yourself, but most people hire a professional to do the installation and tuning. Whether you are looking for your first garage door opener or just wish to replace an outdated model, Sears can help you find and install the perfect opener model for your garage.

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