April 29, 2020

Is a Jackshaft opener better than a standard central garage door opener?

In the past decade, garage ceilings have grown substantially in height, designed to offer additional storage and the feel of a bigger space. Historically, garage ceilings were around nine feet high. Today, it’s not unusual to see garages with ceilings of 12‑14 feet, or even higher. Considering that your residential garage door is only seven or eight feet high, how are you supposed to deal with all of that extra space?

Fortunately, LiftMaster/Chamberlain, a leader in the industry, was ready and has devised the perfect solution. They have created a new type of shaft‑style garage door opener, adapted from their existing industrial/commercial model, known as the Jackshaft garage door opener.


Get to Know the Jackshaft System

A central opener (trolley‑type) is usually installed in the middle of the door on the ceiling of the garage. When there is more than 12 inches of extra room above the door, this system cannot be used effectively. Instead, technicians will recommend installing a Jackshaft opener, which features a second shaft so that it can be installed on the wall by the door.

In the event that a garage was given higher ceilings for additional storage or the space has cathedral ceilings, the Jackshaft is often the best option. Plus, rather than having to store things in a damp basement or a separate storage unit, you can have everything in a dry space close to the home, and still have an electric garage door opener system installed.

The ability to move the garage door higher also increases the opportunity for space along the sides of the garage for hook systems, shelves, and other storage systems. There are also other situations where a Jackshaft door opener might prove to be the best solution:

  1. Low Headroom: If there isn’t room above the door, as is usually the case in older garages with concrete walls and ceilings, the Jackshaft can be installed beside the door instead.
  2. High‑Lift System: If you have garage door windows, some technicians might recommend installing a high‑lift track so that you can’t see it through the windows. If you have a false panel or transom window over your door, this is a great way to hide the tracks and still get the opening system you need.
  3. General Applications: The Jackshaft opener will work with any door that is a maximum of 18 feet wide and 14 feet high. Typical use of 2‑4 times per day is common for this opener, which can also be used in garages that store recreational vehicles.
Contemporary House | Jackshaft door opener

Installation: Space and system requirements

The Jackshaft has different installation requirements than a standard garage door opener system. You need to verify that you have:

  • More than three inches of overhead room above the door.
  • Eight inches (or more) available on the wall beside the door.
  • An electrical outlet available within six feet of the opener.
  • 16 ¼ inches of height for the opener housing.
  • A torsion spring system, which connects to the opener via a shaft that holds the spring.

Jackshaft vs. traditional openers: Points to consider

  1. Storage: As we’ve discussed, this opener helps move the garage door higher and offers additional storage space along the garage walls.
  2. Quiet Motor: This uses a direct current (DC) motor that starts slowly before increasing to a “standard” operating speed. It then slows again before closing completely, offering less noise than a single‑speed AC (alternating current) motor.
  3. Safety: Since this opener is installed on the side of the door, it’s not going to risk causing damage to cars or injuries to people like a traditional opener. Plus, it doesn’t have the same safety release that most criminals can break into within six seconds, protecting your garage from theft and other risks.
  4. Cathedral Ceilings: The amount of space required to attach an overhead opener to a cathedral ceiling is difficult to manage. Plus, the way that it has to be attached is far more dangerous. By securing everything to the garage wall, there are no overhead worries.
  5. Emergency Power: The Model 8500W comes with a battery backup. This is not available with all trolley‑style openers. Having this allows you to use your garage door up to 20 times during an outage.
Cathedral ceilings

Other Features to Consider

Besides the perks listed above, the Jackshaft also shares some features with standard overhead openers. These include things like:

There are some other features that are worth mentioning. Many of these are also found in trolley‑type openers:

  • MyQ technology to integrate with smart homes and manage from smart devices
  • Photoelectric safety reversal systems
  • Easily disengage with a pull of the emergency release cord
  • A remote with LiftMaster Security+ 2.0, which guarantees your remote code will not be copied
  • An included LED light (8500W) that can be installed wherever you want
  • Additional accessories and adaptable features for convenience
Jackshaft Opener

Ready to replace your opener?

If you’re in the Midland area, call us today at 705‑322‑0136. We can help you with all kinds of electric garage door openers needs.

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