Garage door openers are pretty useful. They bring convenience and with just the click of a button, you can open your garage door and access your garage space. Talk of ultimate convenience!!
However, with the rising cost of energy, monthly energy bills will get you asking how many amps does a garage door opener use?
I recently got an energy bill that was almost double my monthly spend – the question definitely resurfaced in my mind.
But how much power does a garage door opener use? What are the numbers and what are the financial implications?
Well, keep on reading, and let’s find out!
How many amps does a garage door opener use?
Modern garage door openers are energy-saving. On average, garage door openers draw about 3 to 5 amps. However, this figure varies depending on the garage door opener. Divide the garage door opener watts by voltage output to ascertain the exact number of amps
Some Little Physics
Knowing the number of amps drawn by a garage door opener is crucial for every homeowner. You’ve got to know the numbers and the financial implications.
So let’s dive in and do some little math. Pull out your calculators!
First of all, you need to know the power rating of your garage door opener. Most garage door openers have a typical power consumption of 350 to 600 watts. The average wattage for garage door openers is 500 watts.
Most garage door openers have the wattage indicated on the motor and listed in the user manual. You can also find the power rating on the manufacturer’s website.
Now, with the power rating of the garage door opener, we can calculate the amps drawn by the garage door opener.
W (wattage) = A (Amps) × V (Voltage)
From this formula, then
A (Amps) = W (wattage) / V (voltage)
So if you have a 500 watts garage door opener plugged into a 120-volt outlet, then
A (amps) = 500 watts/ 120 volts
A = 4.17 amps
Therefore a 500 watts garage door opener uses about 4 amps from your circuit. However, this figure varies if the garage door opener has lights or a camera connected to it.
Latent Power – How Much Does it Cost?
Latent power, also known as the phantom load is the power your garage door opener uses while on standby mode. Every electrical appliance has a phantom load.
You don’t unplug the garage door opener from the main outlet even if it’s not in use. Keeping it plugged in keeps it on standby causing it to draw latent power.
Latent power consumption is negligible but definitely adds to the unit power consumption over time. Plugging out the garage door opener is the only way to cut on latent power consumption, however, it doesn’t make any sense.
How much power does my garage door opener consume while on standby?
The answer to this question is highly dependent on the make and model of your garage door opener.
About $3 billion is spent on latent power consumption. That translates to about 10% of residential electricity use.
When different models were tested, the annual latent power consumption ranged between $2 and $16. While that might seem like a small figure, it slowly accumulates over years.
Plus, that’s equivalent to 2 extra cups of Starbucks coffee for you!
Garage door manufacturers are cognizant of the latent power consumption in their models and have over the years rolled out models with minimal latent power consumption.
Newer garage door models have reduced latent power consumption from an average of 5 watts to 1 watt.
Do Garage Outlets Require 20 amps?
This is among the most common question while installing a garage door opener. How many amps does a garage door opener use and what circuit size do you require?
Well, the size of the circuit depends on a few factors. You’ll first need to ascertain the type of garage door opener, the amps drawn by your garage door opener, and finally the number of garage door openers you’re gonna plug.
A (Amps) = watts/volts
So, using the formula, calculate the amps drawn by your garage door opener and then get the appropriate circuit. Remember to leave an allowance of 2 amps for garage lighting.
Normally, a 15 amp circuit is sufficient for a one-car garage. However, if you have a bigger garage you might need a 20-amp circuit.
For example, if you have a one-car garage with a 500 watts garage door opener, your garage door opener only taps about 4 amps from the circuit. With lighting accounting for about 2 amps, your total amps are only about 6 amps; hence a 15 amp circuit is sufficient for you.
However, if you have a bigger garage with 3 garage door openers installed, then your total amps would be about 18, requiring a 20 amp circuit.
Do I Need a Dedicated Circuit for My Garage Door Opener?
So now you know the circuit size you need for your garage door opener. But does it need to be dedicated though?
You don’t need a dedicated circuit for your garage. However, it’s good practice and highly advised that you have a separate and dedicated circuit for your garage.
Using a separate circuit for your garage protects you from circuit overload issues and ensures your garage door opener is protected from short-circuiting. It also keeps your home safe as short-circuiting could easily turn into a fire.
Always refer to state building codes and ascertain if you need a dedicated circuit for your garage.
Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCI) – Should I Use GFCI in My Garage?
Short-circuiting is not strange in electrical circuits. It happens from time to time.
Ground fault circuit interrupters detect electrical imbalance in the circuit and immediately shut off the electrical power supply to protect the electrical equipment.
If your garage is like mine, it has gas and water pipes running all over it. Water near the electrical circuit could easily cause a short circuit leading to damages and electrocution.
Ground fault circuit interrupters are a must-have for every garage owner. Your garage door opener is not cheap neither are the things stored in your garage. Ground fault circuit interrupters help to protect the garage door opener, and the things stored in your garage and ultimately save lives.
Ground fault circuit interrupters are also a must-have for all single –phase 125 volts outlets. It is a mandatory rule according to the National Electrical Code® for all single-phase 125 volts outlets to have ground fault circuit interrupters.
Can a Garage Door Opener Be Too Powerful?
The motor is responsible for providing the lifting power of the garage door opener. The lifting power, expressed as horsepower HP, is responsible for raising and lowering the garage door.
A garage door opener with a higher horsepower can easily lift the heaviest door around within a few seconds. On the other hand, low horsepower causes a struggle while lifting the door resulting in slow operations.
While a lot of horsepower is desired, it could also be harmful and end up damaging components of the garage door opener. Ensure you get the right garage door opener horsepower for your garage door operations.
Garage Door Opener Batteries
Worried about your electrical bill? Then you might want to try a garage door opener with a battery backup.
Some garage door openers have a battery backup. The battery backup allows you to continue using your garage door opener when there is a power outage in your block.
The backup battery can also help you cut on your electric bill. Your garage door opener uses a lot of latent power during the day. It is probably plugged in and consuming power for over 8 hours while you are at work.
To cut on latent power consumption, people have turned to plugging off the garage door opener and engaging the battery backup. This helps to cut on the electric bill and saves you some bucks.
Do I need batteries for my garage door opener?
Batteries are a lifesaver and yes, you need batteries for your garage door opener.
If you live in California, it is a legal requirement that all garage door openers must have battery backups. All garage owners in California must install garage door openers fitted with a battery backup.
Owning a garage door opener with a battery backup goes beyond fulfilling the mandatory legal requirement. Batteries are not a luxury but a must-have component for garage door openers.
Power outages are rare but inevitable. You don’t have to get shut from your garage nor do you have to lift the door manually when you have a battery backup.
Battery backups allow you to continuously operate your garage door opener when there is a power outage in your block. A battery backup can last you up to 24 hours or the equivalent of 20 opening cycles.
Other than fulfilling the legal requirement, here is why you should have a garage door opener with a battery backup:
- Safety – A power outage forces you to pull the cord and operate the door manually. This means safety features and components such as sensors are disengaged. You could easily end up shutting the door on your foot or pet while operating it manually without safety features. Suspending safety makes the garage an unsafe space endangering the lives of everyone in the garage.
- Security – Your garage door is the largest entry point to your home. Leaving it wide open and exposed for a long time makes it an easy target for people with bad intentions.
Your garage door opener loosens its security measures during a power outage. Functionalities such as automatic locks and cameras are disabled during such a time. Having a battery backup keeps it powered and running making your garage secure as always.
- Convenience – Imagine being locked out of your garage space just because there is a power outage. It sucks, right? Well, a battery backup keeps all the functionalities of the garage door openers running bringing back the convenience you’re used to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve settled the answer to the question of how many amps does a garage door opener use, here are my responses to common questions i have encountered in different forums.
Q: Do garage door openers use a lot of electricity?
Not at all. The garage door opener only operates for a couple of minutes a day, drawing about 0.001 kWh. However, when left on standby, the garage door opener ends up using a lot more.
Q: How many outlets can be on a 20-amp circuit in a garage?
You should have 10 outlets at most on a 20-amp circuit. The recommended number is 6 outlets however; you are allowed to go up to 10 outlets. The rule of thumb is to have only 80% of the circuit in use to avoid overload and short-circuiting.
Q: Do I need battery backup in my garage door opener?
Yes, you need battery backup in your garage door opener. Batteries allow you to keep on using your garage door opener during a power outage. They are a lifesaver, plus if you live in California, you must have a battery backup.
Q: Should I Use GFCI in My Garage?
Yes. Ground fault circuit interrupters detect electrical imbalance in the circuit and immediately shut off the electrical power supply to protect the electrical equipment. Using GFCI protects your equipment in case of short-circuiting.
Q: Can you run a garage door opener off an extension cord?
Yes, you can power your garage door opener off an extension cord. Though there is nothing wrong with powering the garage door opener through an extension cord, it is highly advised that you don’t.
Extension cords are designed for temporary use alone. Powering your garage door opener from an extension cord poses the risk of overloading and short-circuiting.
Your garage door opener is an unsung hero, no doubt about it. But how many amps does a garage door opener use? The average garage door opener taps about 3 to 5 amps from your circuit.
You therefore only need 15 amps to 20 amps for your circuit to power the garage door opener. It doesn’t need to be dedicated, but it’s highly advised that you use a dedicated circuit for the garage.
Ensure to use ground fault circuit interrupters if possible. This way, you can protect your equipment from electrical damage by shutting off the power supply when there’s an electrical imbalance in the circuit.
Well, that’s it. Hope I answered your question. Shoot me any additional questions in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.