The garage door spring – not the opener – is what allows a 200-pound or more garage door to be lifted with ease. Springs counterbalance the weight of the garage door, allowing the opener to easily glide the door open and shut. If you were to lift your door by hand, it should feel like it weighs only a few pounds.
If the garage door won’t stay where you release it or seems to weigh more than 5 pounds, then your spring is showing signs of age and may be about to break. The heavier your door feels, the more likely it is that your spring is deteriorated.
There are two types of springs for garage doors – torsion springs and extension springs. Torsion springs work by torsion, or twisting. They store mechanical energy when twisted. We use special instruments to wind the coils of the spring, which then applies torque to the center shaft, a metal tube located directly above the center of the garage door. At each end of the center shaft is a set of cable drums. Cables on the drums attach to the bottom bracket of the garage door. As the center shaft spins, cables wind and unwind on the cable drum to lift and lower the door. Extension springs stretch above and parallel to the horizontal tracks for the garage door.
Extension springs are also attached to cables that are anchored to the bottom bracket of the garage door. Instead of winding as a torsion spring does, these springs apply resistive force as the spring stretches. Springs extend as the door closes, storing mechanical energy used to open the door. Each spring along the tracks work independently of each other to balance the weight of the garage door. If the two springs become unbalanced, the door will open unevenly or wobble and cause destructive wear and tear on the other moving parts.
The most common reason for a spring to break is simply wear and tear over time. As the door cycles up and down, the coils lose their strength and cause the spring to break. Most two car garages are opened and closed 6 to 8 times each day for a staggering 3,000 times a year! Quality springs with professional installation can support 10,000 cycles before they become ineffective and require replacement. Each cycle is the garage door opening or the garage door closing. It’s quite common to run through the utility of a spring in just a few years.
Rust is another common cause of spring fatigue. Stored chemicals and outside moisture can lead to this type of spring deterioration. Rust shortens a spring’s lifespan by corroding the metal and increasing the friction between the coils when winding. Stave off rust with regular preventative maintenance and lubrication. Check out our annual lube and safety inspection.
All springs eventually break. There’s no way out of it. But our maintenance and safety checks will prolong the life of your garage door springs and let you know when they are primed to break. Don’t wait for the springs to break at an inconvenient or dangerous moment; call us today to set up an annual safety and maintenance check.
It is recommended for all 2-car garage doors to have two springs. But when builders try to save money on the costs of installing a garage door, the spring is usually the first expense cut. Corner-cutting contractors will install an extra-long 1-spring system instead which significantly shortens the life of the spring.
The same can be said when you only replace one of your two springs. If one spring breaks, the other is not far behind. Replacing both springs at the time of repair will save you from doubling up on labor costs when the second springs breaks a little while later.
Replacing garage door springs is extremely dangerous due to the stored energy in a wound torsion spring or in an extended extension spring. Many garage door repairs require dismantling garage door parts that are part of the spring system.
The tension in a spring is powerful enough to throw you off of a ladder, break the window on your car, and land you in the Emergency Room. Many accidents, injuries and deaths occur each year to amateur, home-repairers who don’t have the proper tools or knowledge to safely disengage springs from the surrounding system. Call us today and let our certified technician’s fix your garage door problem.
The springs on regularly used residential garage doors fail every three to four years. Save money by selecting a warranty for your garage door. We offer multiple warranty lengths to match your needs.