How To Install Automatic Door Opener - DIY Step By Step Guide

Automatic Door Opener Operating A Pair Of Doors


Automatic door openers also known as low energy door operators or automatic swing door openers are in buildings all over the United States. They provide automated access for all pedestrians. Each year the amount of automated doors in buildings increase. In this article we go over a step by step guide of how to install an automatic door operator.

Step 1: Determine the Hand

Low energy automatic door openers come in 4 different hands, Left Hand Push, Right Hand Push, Left Hand Pull, Right Hand Pull. The diagram below shows an illustration of the different types of automatic swing door operator hands. It is important to purchase the correct hand of automatic swing door operator, because if you choose the wrong hand the door opener will come with the wrong door arm as well as the wrong motor/gearbox configuration.

Common Automatic Door Opener Handing


Step 2: Check Your Surroundings

Low Energy automatic door openers are activated by knowing act devices. The most common knowing act device are wireless handicap buttons. It is important to follow the ADA Americans With Disabilities Act as well as ANSI A156.19 and ANSI 117.1 guidelines.

  • Each handicap button must be mounted at a minimum of 36 inches and a maximum of 48 inches, so that pedestrians in wheelchairs can easily reach the button for door activation. 
  • Pedestrians in wheelchairs requires a minimum of 48 inches of clearance from the door swing. 
  • The activation switch must be in eye sight view of the door
  • Activation switches need to be a minimum of 2 feet from the door latch
  • Or Activation switches must be a minimum of five feet from the door face.

Recommended Activation Switch Locations

Step 3: Consider External Factors That Might Affect The Auto Swing Door Opener

Door Condition:

The door you plan to automate must be free swinging. The doors must swing back and forth very easily with little to no force. If the door hinges are binding and causing friction, this will cause the automatic door opener to have to work harder, making the dc motor heat up and wear out early.

Door Threshold:

Check the existing door threshold. It should not rub on the bottom of the door. If the door threshold is rubbing or snagging the bottom of the door it can prematurely wear out the automatic swing door opener.


Door Weatherstripping:

Check that all door weatherstripping does not impede the door from latching. If the weatherstripping is causing friction or obstructing the door from closing properly into the door frame, then the weatherstripping will need to be adjusted or removed.

Exit Device On Door:

Does the door have an exit device on it. Can the exit device be dogged down, or unlatched during the operation of the auto door opener. Generally this is as simple as pressing down on the exit device push pad, so that the door is unlatched, and inserting an allen hex key into the exit device to dog it down. If the door has an electrified exit device, one which automatically releases electrically, then this can easily be tied into an automatic door opener.

Door Exit Device

Leverset On Door:

If your door has a lever handle or knob then you will need to install an electric strike. An electric strike is a mechanism which mounts into the door frame. The strike automatically will release allowing the door's lever latch to pass when the automatic door operator powers the door open. If an electric strike is not installed then when the door powers open, it will not be able to open because the lever handle latch is not released.

Door Lock With Latch Bolt

Step 4: Mount The Automatic Door Operator Header and Chassis

The next step would be to mount the door operator header and chassis above the door. It is best to mount the door opener utilizing the manufacturer's template. It is important to be sure that the door operator is mounted securely by using enough anchors. An insufficient amount of anchors to mount the door opener can be very dangerous, as you do not want the door opener falling down during operation. Typically if your door operator is an outswing or push arm application, the door opener itself would be mounted flush to the door frame. If your door operator is an inswing or pull arm application, the door opener will be mounted slightly higher on the door frame.

Left: Outswing/Push Arm Automatic Door Opener Installation
Right: Inswing/Pull Arm Automatic Door Opener Installation

Step 5: Mounting The Door Arm

For specific door arm installation it is best to follow the manufacturer's template and instructions. Mount the door arm shoe or track to the door itself. Power on the door opener and set the door control switch to "hold open." This will cause the gearbox to wind up and pre-load the internal spring. Once the gearbox spindle stops rotating then your door is in the full open position. Move your door to the full open position and attach the door arm to the automatic door opener gearbox.

Outswing/Push Arm Shown


Step 6: Install Wireless Handicap Buttons

Next install the wireless handicap buttons. Be sure to mount the door activation switches in the proper location and height according to ANSI A156.19. Refer to the manufacturer's wiring diagrams to properly wire in the receiver. When mounting the receiver always make sure the antenna is sticking out of the aluminum door operator header. If the antenna wire of the receiver is inside of the door opener header, then the wireless handicap buttons will not be able to successfully transmit the signal to the receiver.

Step 7: Tune In The Door Operator

Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for specific door operator adjustments. Each door operator utilizes a different control board, so speed adjustments will vary between door operators.

Step 8: Install Safety Decals

Follow ANSI A156.19 requirements for safety sticker installation, failure to do so is a huge danger to all pedestrians, as you are not warning them that this door is automated. Each automatic door sticker should be placed at a height of 58 inches (+ or - 5 inches) from the floor to the center of the sticker. The safety sticker should be between 38 inches and 62 inches above the finished floor. Refer to the diagram below.


Always refer to the manufacturer's installation instructions when installing door operators. This article is a generalization of installation techniques and should not be used for installation. All automatic door operators should be installed by certified automatic door technicians. If you have any questions please contact us at custsvc@autodoorandhardware.com. If you need to purchase automatic swing door operators, you can do so at the link below.

Buy Automatic Swing Door Operators Here

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