How Many Amps Does a Garage Door Opener Use?
Have you ever wondered how much electricity does your garage door opener use? Energy efficiency is a major concern especially when it affects your electricity bills. Which is why it is crucial to find out how much your electrical appliance and gadgets consume.
Keep reading to learn how to calculate your garage door openers amperage.
How many amps does a garage door opener need?
It depends on the type of garage door opener you have. Chain- and belt-drive garage door openers typically require between 3 and 6 amps, while direct-drive models generally require around 0. 5 amps. If you are not sure how many amps your opener requires, refer to the manufacturer’s documentation or consult with a professional.
If you have an older model garage door opener, it may require more amps than newer models. For example, some older models may require up to 10 amps or more. If your garage door opener is rated to be compatible with most modern garage door openers, it should not require more than 6 amps.
The typical power consumption of garage door openers ranges from 350 to 600 watts with an average of 500 watts. If you have the power rating of your garage door, you can compute the amperage needed by using this formula:
A (Amps) = W (Wattage) / V (Voltage)
Given you have a 500-watt garage door opener connected to a 120-volt electrical line, then the amperage that your device uses is:
A = 500 watts / 120 volts
A = 4.17 amps
Therefore, a 500-watt garage door opener uses 4.17 amps of current from your circuit.
How many watts does a garage door opener use?
Most garage door openers use from 350 to 600 Watts, with the average at about 500 Watts. this power demand falls under 600 watts when the unit is idle. At 500 Watts, the power needed is just over 4 amps. A garage door opener draws about 350 to 600 watts of power, with 500 watts serving as the average wattage when the unit is idle.
So, when the lighting is on and the door is in operation, the wattage requirements increase depending on the garage door opener and lighting type. Wattage ratings differ from one garage door opener brand and model to another.
Once the unit’s control board activates the door and sets it in operation, the wattage requirements go as high as 1,400 watts but settles to between 550 and 725 once the door is in motion. The actual energy requirement depends on the type of the door.
Of course, that’s without bringing in the lighting. But as for the lamps, they may not make a significant difference, especially if you’re using the energy-saving LEDs.
Here’s the math: Since Amps x Volts = Watts, then Watts / Volts = Amps. So, 500 Watts / 120 Volts = 4.17 Amps.
The garage door opener draws about 4 Amps and the lights draw less than 2 Amps, we know the total draw is less than 6 Amps for one opener. So, a 15 Amp dedicated circuit would be more than adequate for a 6 Amp draw.
If you have a 3-car garage with 3 garage door openers, here is what you could expect:
3 openers x 4 Amps = 12 Amps for the opener PLUS 3 lights x 1.67 Amps = 5 Amps for the lights. Keep in mind these numbers are at the high end of the average.
When planning an electrical circuit, the circuit load should be 80% of maximum. Thus, 80% of 15 Amps = 12 Amps and 80% of 20 Amps = 16 Amps. So, 3 garage door openers with 200 Watts of light running simultaneously would draw up to 17 Amps. While this slightly exceeds the 16 Amp maximum for a 20 Amps circuit, it is VERY unlikely you will ever have all 3 openers running at the same time.
Use a dedicated 20 Amp circuit for 3 garage door openers. For 1 or 2 openers, a 15 Amp circuit.
NOTE: If you have a modern DC garage door opener, they require a fraction of the power used by an AC powered model.
Does a garage door opener require a dedicated circuit?
No, a garage door opener does not have to be on a dedicated circuit. The National Electrical Code states that the majority of general use equipment, such as a garage door opener, can be placed on a non-dedicated circuit.
The amperage of the circuit must be adequate enough to supply power to the device. Overloading the circuit by adding too many devices could cause it to fail, and potentially result in electrical fires or other hazards.
However, adding a dedicated circuit to the garage can be a good option if the homeowner has several items that require a lot of power in the garage (like a freezer or workshop equipment). Dedicated circuits can also provide additional safety, as they are typically GFCI protected.
If installed correctly, it is also generally easier to troubleshoot in the event of an overload. Finally, there are also installations in which dedicated circuits are required by code, such as when there are more than three garage door openers on the same circuit.
In these cases, it is important to ensure that the circuit is installed and wired properly in order to ensure safety.
What size electrical breaker do I need for a garage door opener?
The breaker size depends on the type of garage door opener you have and how many you have. If you have a 1 car garage, a 15 Amp circuit is more than adequate. If you have a 3-car garage with three openers you may want to consider a 20 Amp circuit breaker. Here are the details:
Most modern garage door openers draw from 3 to 5 amps, depending on what type of lighting your opener has. If your opener has a 200 Watt lighting system, for example, the lights alone will draw just under 2 Amps.
Amps x Volts = Watts. Thus, Watts / Volts = Amps. So, 200 Watts / 120 Volts = 1.67 Amps for a 200 Watt lighting system.
Does the breaker for the garage door opener have to be GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected?
No. While modern electrical code requires all garage outlets to be GFCI protected, ceiling outlets are not “readily accessible,” like wall plugs. Consequently, most would agree that the ceiling plug does not require GFCI protection. Again, check with your local building code and building inspector.
Other Garage Door Opener Electrical Requirements
Grounding – Although the receptacle may not need to be GFCI protected, it DOES need to be grounded. Check any garage door opener manual and you will see the requirement for a grounded receptacle.
If your home has older wiring and ungrounded outlets, do not use a converter from 3 prongs to 2. The plug on your garage door opener has 3 pins, including one grounding pin. If your outlet does not accommodate the third pin, a new outlet must be installed. Call your electrician to help. Do not use a 3 pin to 2 pin adapter. And, do not use an extension cord.
Hard Wiring – Check your local electrical code to see if permanent wiring (“hard-wiring”) is needed, although this is not common.
Outlets – If you don’t have an outlet accessible to the opener, have one installed. Most, but not all modern homes have outlets installed in the ceiling. If you are installing a new garage door opener, have an outlet installed.
Electrical code for wiring a garage
The National Electrical Code (NEC) sets the wiring standards for all residential garage installations. When wiring a garage, it is important to follow the NEC to ensure the safety and protection of persons, equipment, and property from hazardous conditions.
The NEC sets out specific requirements for wiring a garage, including a provision for ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection for all convenience outlets, special requirements for outlets in the garage, and other specific requirements.
Outlets in the garage should be installed with a minimum of four inches of clearance from the floor and a minimum of 10 feet of height above the floor. They should also be installed away from any equipment that produces heat.
The use of aluminum wire is prohibited and all wiring should be in good condition. Outlets must also be GFCI protected and all wiring must be adequately supported. The wiring in a garage must also be designed correctly and grounded correctly with the use of an approved grounding electrode conductor.
Also, the main disconnect must be installed to provide overcurrent protection for all branch circuits. All branch circuits, including those for the lighting, should be clearly labeled. Every garage should also have a dedicated circuit for power tools.
Any equipment installed in a garage must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the NEC. Additionally, all installations should be inspected to ensure they comply with the NEC. Following the electrical code requirements for wiring a garage will help ensure the safety of everyone and the protection of the structure, equipment, and property.
How Many Amps Should You Opt For?
How many amps, specifically, should you run to your garage? For perspective, consider this: Most modern homes feature 100, 200, or 400 amps of electrical service. That’s more than enough volts to power multiple household appliances, lighting fixtures, receptacles, your HVAC system — the list goes on.
For the average garage owner, the level of electrical service necessary to operate devices exclusive to the garage won’t reach anywhere near the level of service required to operate an entire home. However, if you plan to tie your garage’s electrical service into your home’s existing service panel, depending on your planned electricity needs, you may need to upgrade your level of service.
Ultimately, your usage plans will determine how many amps you can feed out of your home service and whether you should opt for a separate panel. The distance between your home and your garage also plays a role in determining whether separate service is a better option. Generally speaking, basic service recommendations are as follows:
- 20 amps. Standard lighting, electric garage door operation, handheld power tools, etc. May not be enough service for the simultaneous operation of multiple electrical devices.
- 50 amps. Appropriate for the average household garage. Supports simultaneous operation of multiple electrical devices, lighting, etc.
- 100 amps. Appropriate for garages that see heavy electricity use. Supports heating, air conditioning, lighting, multiple large power tools, etc.
Garage Door Opener Phantom Load
Did you know that most garage door openers use three to five times more energy when they are “off” than they do when they are on? A garage door opener is always on; listening for the radio signal that will tell the machine to spring into action. The electrical draw when not in use is called a “phantom load.”
According to the LiftMaster manufacturer, the standby power draw of the 8550-garage door opener model is about 1 watt. Older garage door openers have a standby power draw as high as 14 watts. Be sure to account for the phantom load when determining dedicated amperage for your garage.
It only takes about 10 seconds to open the door. So, the average energy consumed within that time is about 0.033 kWh. The standby mode consumes 5 watts per hour, equating to 0.12 kWh in a day. However, when the cumulative consumption per month is considered, it’s only around 4.6 kWh per month. This is fairly low and makes the average electric garage door an efficient device in any home.
Factors That Determine How Much Power a Garage Door Consumes
Beyond the average energy consumption of a garage door, many factors could come to play. They include:
1. Make and Model
Like any other electrical appliance, the manufacturer and the model matter for energy consumption. Some garage doors are energy-efficient; some consume a lot of power. The range is between 15.8 kWh to 127 kWh annually.
So, it’s important to ask questions about the energy consumption of the door before they install it. The last thing you want is a device draining your power even when at rest. Most times, newer models are better when it comes to energy consumption. Their power consumption during standby mode is less than 5 watts. So you save a bit more.
2. Size and Weight
The size and weight of the door also matter as it determines the amount of power needed to operate the door. So, bigger and heavier doors will consume more energy when opening and closing than the average ones. Unless you have a multi-car garage, a small garage door is all you need. When on standby, the energy consumption is fairly the same.
3. Type of motors
The energy consumption of a garage door will also depend on its motor. It could be either alternate current AC or direct current DC. The DC consumes less power and has better speed control. This makes it easier for you to set the door movement more accurately. The DC drive is also less noisy, which is a great thing to have.