Did you know that the average lifespan for a typical garage door opener is approximately 12 years? If it's been a decade since you last replaced your garage door opener, there may be time to consider shopping for a brand-new unit. But it's not just old age that can spell the end for a garage door opener -- unexpectedly quick wear and tear due to prior damage or neglect can also take an opener out of service.

The following guide shows how you can replace your garage door opener on your own in the event your opener comes to an end.

Making Preparations

There are a few preparations that need to be made before removing the old garage door opener. You'll also need an extra set of hands to help with the removal and installation.

Start by making sure the garage door opener is unplugged from its power outlet. If the garage door opener is hardwired into your home's electrical system, make sure the circuit breaker for the garage door is switched off. Use a mains tester to ensure there's no electricity flowing to the opener before removing it.

Next, make sure the photoelectric sensors and radio transmitters have all been disconnected from the garage door opener. You'll need to undo the terminal screws or release the quick-connect tabs holding the wiring in place. Depending on the type of opener you've purchased, you may end up using a different set of sensors and transmitters.

Removing the Old Opener

With the garage door opener completely disconnected, position your stepladder directly above the garage door opener and a small table in front of the stepladder. Use a socket wrench with the appropriate size socket to undo the bolts holding the unit to the support brackets. Afterwards, have your partner lower the unit along with the track onto the table below.

Once the unit is safely on the table, you can unbolt it from the track and remove the chain or belt from the garage door opener.

Installing the New Opener

Before you install your new garage door opener, you may want to take a minute to inspect the new unit. Ideally, it should be as close to the original unit as possible for greater ease of installation. If you intend to replace the original garage door opener with a unit that uses a different method of door control (such as a screw-driven opener), then you may need to completely disconnect the original track from the garage door and use a more suitable track.

To install the new garage door opener, bolt the new unit onto the track. Have your partner help you lift the unit and track back into position, making sure the new unit properly aligns with the support brackets above. Once the unit is properly aligned, bolt the garage door opener in place and reattach the chain or belt onto the new unit's sprocket or pulley.

If you can't fit the new belt or chain onto the new garage door opener, locate and loosen the bolt controlling the chain or belt slack at the head of the track. This should give you enough slack to slip the belt or chain onto the drive. If the belt or chain still doesn't fit, you may need to purchase one that's the appropriate length for your garage door opener.

Finishing Touches

Once the garage door opener is firmly in place, wire the new photoelectric sensors and interior door controls into the unit. Afterwards, you can rewire the garage door opener into your home's main electrical system or plug the unit into a nearby power outlet.

It's a good idea to give your garage door opener a test run before putting it into service. This will give you an opportunity to adjust the torque settings as well as the photoelectric sensors and other components.

If you feel you cannot do this on your own, or if you run into any problems, it is best to contact a professional garage door company, such as Door Doctor Inc, that can do the work for you.