Servicing garage door springs is by far the most common call we get from homeowners for garage door services. The springs do most of the heavy lifting for your door so they are crucial for smooth garage door operation. There are two types of springs found on garage doors: torsion springs and extension springs. It’s easy to tell which kind you have by visual inspection.
Torsion springs apply their force by twisting or torqueing around a center axis versus stretching like an extension spring. When the spring is installed, a garage door technician manually winds the spring so there is some force stored in the spring when the door is closed. In short, the torsion spring wants to unwind by lifting the door but the weight of the door keeps it in place. As a result, the weight of the door and the force in the spring counter each other. This stored force allows you to lift a door that weight over 100 pounds without too much effort. As you lift the door, the spring unwinds reducing the amount of upward force it’s applying which coincides with the weight of the door being transferred to the horizontal tracks.
Torsion springs are mounted on a shaft over the top of the door. The shaft has a rotating drum on each end. A cable is attached to the bottom of the door and the drum on each side of the door. When the door is opened, the spring unwinds as it lifts the doors with the cable and drum assembly on both sides of the door. When the door is closed, the spring winds, storing force for the next time the door is opened. It’s a balancing act from start to finish and a well adjusted torsion spring plays a critical role.
Unlike torsion springs, extension springs stretch and contract like a slinky. The spring is attached on one end to a rear hanger bracket and the other end is attached to the bottom of the door through a cable and pulley system. As the door is closed, the spring stretches storing potential energy for when the door needs to be opened again. When the door is opened, the spring retracts adding extra “lift” for the door. The stretching of the spring and the weight of the door provide a counterbalance so the door never feels too heavy and feels easily controlled going up or down.
Garage Door Spring Safety
The secret to garage doors is the balance between the garage door springs and the weight of the door. The apparent weight of the door is dependent on how much of the door is in the vertical position. A fully closed door feels heaviest because the horizontal brackets along the ceiling are holding none of the weight. As the door is opened, the horizontal tracks take on more of the weight making the door seem lighter. Therefore, the balance between the springs and the door is critical for safe operation and to avoid unnecessary stress on other components.
Garage door springs work hard and can store a lot of energy and force. As a result, this makes them dangerous in the hands of untrained professionals. Injuries resulting from improper handling of garage door springs are all too common. So rule number one – don’t do DIY spring repair. In short, it’s not worth the risk. Always call a professional garage door repair service like Sawtooth Garage Doors so you get springs replaced safely.
High Cycle Garage Door Torsion Springs
Standard garage door springs last around 10,000 cycles so you can expect them to last 5-7 years depending on usage. High cycle garage doors springs are made with thicker springs and as a result last longer. For a modest increase in the part cost, you can get a 25,000 cycle torsion spring that can last twice as long as a standard spring. We think this is a wise investment and therefore recommend it to all our clients. If our crew is out to replace your garage door springs, why not install a better spring that will last longer? It doesn’t cost that much more and as a result you can double or triple the life of the spring. We’d be happy to discuss your options for upgrading your garage door springs during our visit to you site. Above all it could save you time, money and most of all, the inconvenience of a broken garage door.