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Garage Door Opener Power Consumption

What is Normal Garage Door Opener Power Consumption?

Garage door openers are extremely useful – with just a single click you can open up your garage and park your car. Unbeknownst to many though, these machines can pull a lot of electricity – even when they are off!

Tell me more about garage door openers.

Originally invented by C.G. Johnson in 1926, garage openers didn’t take off until the end of World War II. It was the Era Meter Company of Chicago that invented these devices to include an easy to use keypad and switch.

How do garage door openers work?

Similar to an elevator, the majority of the work is done by a counterbalance. The torsion springs manipulate the shaft, and thus the weight. This counterbalance is on even manual garage doors, as without it the door would be impossible to open.

How does the electric motor work?

The motor actually doesn’t do much of the work – all it does is turn an arm that extends along a track. From here a trolley propels forward or back with either a chain or a belt. In case of power failure, this trolley arm can be disconnected to be manually opened.

What about a Jackshaft garage door opener?

Unlike traditional versions, which are attached to the ceiling, this model is connected on the side of the door. The Jackshaft is best in high ceilings of 12 feet or more, because of this you won’t typically find them in residential applications.

What kind of breaker should be attached to a garage door opener?

The make, model. And the number of openers can cause this number to vary. While it’s best to check the manual for specifics, generally a single garage door opener needs only 15 amps, while up 2 or 3 will need 20 amps.

Wait, do I need a dedicated circuit for a garage door opener? According to A1 Garage Door Service in Las Vegas (http://a1garage.com/las-vegas/) you do not, regardless most new homes are with a dedicated circuit for the opener. As specified in the manual, all wires do need to be grounded.

This all sounds complicated, should I get someone else to install it?

If you have basic carpentry and electrical knowledge, you shouldn’t find it too difficult. If this seems outside of your skill set, I would recommend getting an installer. Prices vary from state to state, with the national average coming out to around $336.

So, how many watts does it pull?

As the technology becomes more streamlined, newer models use up less energy than their older counterparts. Today, most residential openers are between ¼ and ½ horsepower. This gives it around 1,100 to 1,400 starting watts, and 550 to 725 running watts.

That doesn’t sound too terrible. Considering you’ll probably only use your opener a couple minutes each day, this power consumption is fairly negligible. This can be deceptive though, as there is a thing called phantom loads that you need to reflect on.

Phantom loads! Do I need an exorcist?

Before you contact your local priest there are a few things you need to know about phantom loads: They are merely just power some of your appliances use when not in use. While low, this latent power consumption can add up over the course of months and years.

How do these phantom loads work exactly?

Everything that has a remote control has to stay active, and this activity requires power consumption. The switch may be off, but the only way to really turn off these appliances is to unplug it from the wall.

Does this standby energy consumption cost a lot of money? A study done by Cornell University shows that $3 billion dollars a year is spent on this latent power consumption. This comes out to approximately $200 per year per household or up to 10% of residential electricity use.

So how much energy does my garage door opener burn when on standby?

Like everything else, this answer is heavily dependent on the make and model. When several different models were tested, the Annual energy use varied anywhere from 15.8 kWh to 127.0 kWh – or $2 to $16 per year. How much energy is this really? To put it in perspective, a higher end garage opener can burn through more energy than a typical entertainment system. With high energy burning models burning twice as much energy as a video game console

Yikes! What can I do to bring this down? Many newer models are specifically designed to cut back on the standby energy consumption – clocking down from 5 watts to 1 watt. But, the best way is to merely not use a garage door opener – you might not need one if you are able-bodied.

Is there anything else I need to know? If you are still worried about phantom loads from your garage opener and other appliances, I would recommend looking into using smart power strips and installing solar panels on your roof to offset the cost.