Electric garage door openers are much more than a convenience; in many cases, they are essential for homeowners who need assistance with opening and closing heavy garage doors. However, as useful as they are, some garage door openers are noisy. Much of the noise comes from their lack of sound dampening, as well as the use of inadequate hanging supports. By installing dampening pads and replacing thin supports with substantial pieces of angle iron, you will be pleased at how much needless noise can be removed. Below is how you do it:
Tools and materials needed
- One-and-one-half inch slotted angle iron, zinc plated – you will need to measure your existing support pieces to determine how much you will need. Instructions for measuring are provided in step # 1 below.
- Hack saw with new blade – sawing angle iron pieces will go faster if you purchase a new blade for your hacksaw. Be sure to have one or two extras in case you break one while cutting.
- Lag screws – you will need three-inch long, galvanized screws for fastening the angle iron crosspiece to the ceiling. Purchase hex-headed screws so you can apply maximum torque with a socket. You can reuse existing lag screws if they are in structurally-sound condition and are sufficiently long.
- One-inch fender washers – choose either stainless or galvanized. Be sure the lag screws purchased will fit through the washers' center holes.
- Foam rubber mat – buy a section of interlocking, foam rubber mat commonly used for play areas or creating non-fatigue flooring.
- Length of two-by-four lumber – the board will need to be cut to a length so that it fits snugly under the garage door opener; this will help keep the opener in place during the work.
- Thread-locking agent
- Razor knife
- Socket set
- An assistant
How to install your upgraded, sound-dampened support pieces
1. Determine how much angle iron you will need – the typical garage door opener will be installed using a crosspiece mounted directly to the ceiling, two vertical supports and an angled support piece, in some instances. Measure each one of these pieces, and purchase enough angle iron to provide for these lengths.
2. Cut the angle iron to length – once you purchase your angle iron, use a hacksaw to cut the sections to length. Be sure that a hole or slots in the angle iron is within about one-half inch of the ends of the vertical and angled supports.
3. Cut the foam sound dampening pads to size – you will need to prepare one pad for each screw location on the crosspiece. Cut the foam pieces with a razor knife into rectangular shapes measuring 3 inches in length by 2 inches in width.
4. Turn off the power to the garage door opener – in most instances, you can power off the garage door opener by simply unplugging it from its ceiling mounted outlet. If that's not possible in your circumstances, turn off the appropriate breaker.
5. Prop the garage door opener in position – with the two-by-four piece of lumber cut to length, prop the garage door opener so it is supported from beneath. Don't push it too far up or you may damage the drive unit.
6. Remove the old support pieces – before you remove the support pieces, either sketch a drawing or take a photograph to record the layout of the pieces. Next, with a helper assisting, begin removing the old support pieces from the garage door opener and ceiling. Be sure that your helper maintains firm control over the garage door opener as you remove the old pieces.
7. Replace the crosspiece – once the old pieces are removed, you can replace the crosspiece with your new angle iron section. Place the foam rubber dampening pieces over the holes in the ceiling, then a fender washer, followed by the new angle iron crosspiece. Hold the crosspiece in place, and insert a lag screw through the angle iron, washer and foam pad to screw it back into the ceiling with a socket. Repeat this step for as many screws are needed to mount the crosspiece.
8. Replace the vertical and angled support pieces – after this, install the new angle iron vertical and support pieces in their appropriate positions. Reference the drawing or photograph you made in step 5 if you have difficulty. As long as they are in satisfactory condition with no rust or corrosion, reuse the bolts, nuts and washers used to fasten the original support pieces. Apply a drop of a thread-locking agent to the connection to help hold the pieces together in the long term.
9. Restore power and test the functioning of the garage door – carefully remove the two-by-four "prop" and inspect the work done. Be sure that all nuts, bolts and screws are firmly in-place. Restore power to the garage door opener and test it for functionality as well as sound reduction.
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