In recent years, the interiors of garages have begun scaling up. It’s actually not uncommon for a home to have a garage with a nine, 10, 12, or even 14‑foot ceiling! That provides plenty of extra space, but it can be difficult for a regular garage door opener to function with such high ceilings.
Thankfully, there is a solution. Chamberlain and LiftMaster noticed the increase in garage size and realized the issues that it could cause. In response, they adapted a commercial‑style of opener for use in residential settings This new opener is called a Jackshaft opener.
The Jackshaft garage door opener
The Jackshaft opener, with its secondary rod, is installed beside the door, unlike the trolley‑type of opener which is installed in the middle of the door and on the ceiling. Standard garage doors, which are seven to eight feet high, that have a headroom of more than 24 inches are perfect candidates for the new Jackshaft opener.
The extra high garage ceilings are becoming more common because of the extra storage they can add. It is a great addition added by the home builder, especially for those properties that don’t have basements or room for extra unattached storage buildings. Seasonal items or sporting equipment can easily be kept in racks on the ceiling.
By being able to move the garage door as high as possible near the ceiling, you gain wall space on side walls to put shelves, storage cabinets, or hook systems.
The high‑rise ceilings are not the only reason to use a Jackshaft opener, however. You may also find them in the following situations:
- When there is low headroom over the door which may be common in older homes where the garage is made out of concrete blocks.
- In a home where there is a window or false wall above the garage door. Sometimes, home builders will put a large window over the garage door instead of adding windows to the doors themselves. If the track system is a high‑lift type, the tracks are not visible to prying eyes. The same is true if a false door panel, the same design as the door, is installed.
- Note that this type of door opener works for doors with a maximum height of 14 feet and a maximum width of 18 feet. Plus, you don’t want to open the garage door more than two or three times per day. Jackshaft openers are great for garage doors that are storing recreational vehicles that aren’t accessed quite as often.
The requirements for installing a Jackshaft opener
In order to install a jackshaft opener, you must have sufficient space. The requirements include:
- At least 8 inches of space on one side of the door, either right or left.
- At least 3 inches of headroom over the top of the door.
- A torsion‑type spring lift system. The shaft holding the spring(s) slips into the opener housing and is turned by the opener, either opening or closing your door.
- An electrical outlet at least 6 feet from the installation area.
- Note that the height of the housing for the opener is 16 ¼ inches.
The advantages of a Jackshaft opener
- You get more storage space: By using this type of door opener, the ceilings can be higher and the space on either side of the garage door can be expanded, freeing up a lot of room for storing your stuff.
- You get quiet door operation: The Jackshaft opener runs on DC current, making the process of opening and closing the door quieter. Plus, the opener isn’t affixed to the wood joists which means fewer vibrations and less noise. This is a great opener for those that have a bedroom above or next to the garage.
- You can use it with cathedral ceilings: A trolley opener needs to be installed centrally over the top of the door, but if you have cathedral ceilings in your garage, the installation will require a triangle bracket. The distance between the door and the ceiling is just too high to install the trolley opener any other way. However, the triangle bracket can cause a dangerous situation that builders wish to avoid. Thus, the Jackshaft is the better option for this type of ceiling.
- Your door will be safer: The way that the Jackshaft opener is installed makes it much more difficult for a potential thief to trip the safety release mechanism and gain access to your home. Plus, the installation of the Jackshaft negates the risk of the parts falling on your car, should they break or become loose.
- You get a battery backup: The Model 8500W is equipped with an emergency battery which isn’t provided with all trolley‑type door openers. This battery allows you to open and close your garage door up to twenty times during a power outage.
Other important features
There are a few other important features that you should be made aware of Jackshaft openers:
- Use MyQ technology which turn your garage door into a “smart” door.
- Have photo‑eye based reversal systems.
- Disengage when the emergency cord is pulled.
- Have a remote code that cannot be copied thanks to LiftMaster’s Security+ 2.0 system.
- Have an LED light (with the 8500W model) that you can install practically anywhere you want in the garage.
- Have other accessories you can add to your door opener to simplify your life.