One of the things that has changed over the past decade or so is that garages continue to have higher interiors as time goes on when thinking about the space between the ceiling and floor.
Nowadays, there are many garages over 9 feet high and even those of 12 or 14 feet are hardly unheard of.
With a garage this tall, even a seven or eight‑foot‑high garage door is going to leave a lot of space above it.
The good news is that LiftMaster / Chamberlain, one of the top names in the electric garage door opener world, has answered that question.
Their industrial and commercial garage door opener has been adapted for use with residential dwellings.
Because of that, a new type of door opener with a secondary shaft was invented and named a Jackshaft opener.
What you can expect from a Jackshaft door opener
When you have a traditional trolley‑style opener, it is installed on the ceiling and along the door, but a Jackshaft opener has a second shaft which is installed right next to the garage door. In many cases, this sort of door opener can be used on a seven to eight‑foot‑high garage door but must have at least 24 inches of headroom above it.
Many of the newly constructed homes you see will use this as a way to offer extra storage space in a garage.
It can also be used in a space with a cathedral ceiling. Rather than filling up the basement with belongings or needing a shed, you have extra space in the garage to hold all those items you don’t need on a regular basis.
When you have the option of keeping the garage up high by the ceiling, you get extra wall space where you can put storage cabinets, shelves, or hook systems to hold items.
There are also other situations where using a Jackshaft opener might be useful.
- In areas with low headroom on top of the door but plenty of space by the door, this door opener can be added. This is most often seen in homes that are older with ceilings and walls created of concrete.
- In situations where you have a garage door with a wide window above or in situations where a false panel is located over the door. Some home designers have a preference toward putting a window in above the door rather than including it in the garage door itself. If you have a high‑lift type track system, the tracks won’t be visible through the windows. This is the same when it comes to an installed false door panel.
- While this door opener is useful for tall garages, it works best at heights of 14 feet or lower and widths of 18 feet or less. It is also recommended to be used with garages that are used about two to four times a day. This is most often the case for a garage used to store recreational vehicles.
Requirements for installing Jackshaft opener
As we mentioned, if you plan to install the door opener by the door, you want to be sure you have plenty of space. You will need to have:
- A minimum of eight inches of space either on the left or the right of the garage door.
- Three inches or more of headroom above the garage door.
- A torsion‑type spring lift system. You will find that the shaft holds onto the spring which is placed in the housing of the opener. It turns using the opener when you close or open the door.
- At least six feet from the installation location, you need an electrical outlet.
- Keep in mind that the opener housing is 16 ¼ inches in size.
5 benefits of a Jackshaft opener over a Trolley‑type
- Extra space for storage
One of the biggest perks of a Jackshaft opener is that the garage door can be close to the ceiling for extra space on the side walls to use for storage.
- Operates in quiet
This kind of opener uses direct current (DC), which means that it starts up slowly, speeds up for use, and then slows down again before stopping. Do you have a bedroom over the garage? The fact that the opener isn’t connected to the joists and instead is located on the wall is going to cut down on the level of noise and vibration that the opener makes which could interrupt you upstairs.
- Ideal for use with cathedral ceilings
If you are going to use a trolley type door opener with a door that has this kind of ceiling, there can be issues. You are going to need extra space of about four feet (1.2 m) behind the door. The extra distance between the ceiling and housing of the opener can be too much and necessitate the use of a triangle bracket, which can be dangerous.
- High level of safety
Since the Jackshaft opener is installed next to the door, it is far less likely that a component will fall and hit your vehicle. Have you heard about the fact that criminals can use a clothes hanger to open up a garage door in six seconds by pressing on the power outage safety mechanism? If you want to avoid this problem, Jackshaft openers are the top option.
- Equipped with a backup battery
Model 8500W comes fully equipped with an emergency battery which is something you can’t be sure of with trolley‑style door openers. Even during a power outage, a battery backup can let you open and close the door around twenty times.
6 extra features with a Jackshaft door opener
While we’ve already gone over many benefits, there are still others that they share with trolley‑type openers to ensure the best operation:
- Use MyQ technology, which allows you to open and close the garage door from a smartphone, tablet, or another device.
- Implement photo‑eye based reversal systems for safety.
- Can be disengaged by pulling on the emergency cord.
- Feature LiftMaster’s Security+ 2.0 system so you cannot have your remote code stolen.
- With the 8500W model, it comes with an LED light that can be installed in the garage anywhere you like.
- Many other accessories are also available to make your life a bit simpler.