Garage Door Springs: 5 FAQ’S

Torsion Spring System

How Do Garage Door Springs Work?

 

The answer to this question really depends on the type of spring system that you have. Garage Door Spring systems act as a counter balance system, making a heavy garage door feel light. This makes it easy for a person or a garage door opener to the lift the door. There are 2 major kinds that you might have, torsion springs and extension springs.

Torsion Spring System Shop Drawing

NOTE: Garage Door Springs are under extreme tension and can be dangerous and or deadly to anyone that is not properly trained.

 

Torsion Springs:

Torsion springs are mounted above the garage door on a tube and bolted together in the middle. The other parts of this system consist of a torsion tube, drums, bearings and cables. Everything gets mounted to and bolted to this torsion tube. Then, they are mounted to the wall above your garage door.  Torsion springs need to be wound a specific number of times based on the height of your garage door.  Adding these turns to them adds a great amount of tension and can make them dangerous to you if you have not been properly trained.

First, your springs must have the correct amount of tension on them. Then, your garage door can work properly. Once the door is set into motion the springs begin to unwind. As a result, the door travels upward from the vertical tracks into the horizontal tracks. So, the weight is transferred to the horizontal tracks.  At the same time, the cable wraps around the drums. Your garage door bearings make it easier for the springs to turn the tube .

 

Extension Spring Diagram

Extension Springs

Extension springs stretch alongside your horizontal track. These springs are typically used on small garage doors and in situations where head room is limited. The other parts involved in the system are pulleys, extension cable and safety cables.

 

One set of pulleys attach directly to the springs using a special clip. The other set of pulleys is attached to the front of the track. A set of cables attaches to the bottom fixture and runs through both sets of pulleys. Meanwhile the second set is ran directly through the springs as a safety cable. This spring system is also under extreme tension when your garage door is closed. With extension springs the tension is placed on them when they stretch as the door is closed. When the door begins to travel  the springs relax and the tension becomes less.

The disadvantage to this system is each spring works independently of each other so the movement of the door is not as uniform.

 

Are Garage Door Springs Dangerous?

Garage Door Spring Warning Label

Short answer yes. Garage door springs are under an extreme amount of tension and  when that energy is released all at once you can be hurt if you’re in the way. If you do not have the proper tools and training they can even be deadly. Most common injuries related to garage door springs are cut, broken and severed fingers. You are more likely to be hurt by a door that has weak or incorrect springs either by getting your fingers pinched or a door falling and hitting you, worst case scenario crushing you.

Either way a repair bill is cheaper than an emergency room visit. Garage door spring replacement is a job better left to the professionals.

 

Are Garage Door Springs Covered by Home Warranty?

 

This is a question we get asked from time to time. The answer is 9 times out of 10, no. Most home warranty companies only cover the parts inside the head unit of your garage door opener. That is because they consider the garage door opener and appliance but a garage door structure. There are certain companies and policies that do cover springs by a reimbursement to the homeowner. I

We recommend before calling your home warranty company you check your policy first. Otherwise, you call, then sit on hold forever, schedule an appointment, pay a service call fee just to find out they do not cover it.

If they do not cover it, it is better most of the time to go with a company of your choice, whom you have researched rather than going with whoever they send out. The reason we say this is home warranty companies tend to find the companies without a lot of work that will work the cheapest, this usually does not result in a high level of service.

 

How Do Garage Door Springs Break?

Broken Torsion Springs

Residential garage door springs are 10,000 cycle springs. A cycle is one up and one down. So if you open your door on average 3-4 times a day you will get 7-10 yrs. out of a set of springs. With torsion springs every time your door goes up the springs are unwinding. Every time the door goes down they wind back up.

 

Over time the steel of the spring begins to develop microfractures and eventually one of those micro fractures will become big enough to break the spring. So the majority of the time garage door springs break due to wear and tear. Other times the springs can break with weather fluctuation. When the temperature outside changes by 20-30 degrees in one day that will also cause a spring to snap. You will know when a torsion spring breaks because it is very loud and your garage door will no longer be able to open.

 

How To Adjust Garage Door Springs?

 

This is not a question we get get often, but this is the number 1 question asked about garage door springs on the internet. Here is the truth if you do not own the proper tools and  training, YOU DON’T. No amount of money saved matters if you lose a finger. The ER bill will be more than the repair bill. The other problem is if your springs need adjusting they are getting old. Adding extra turns to them is just going to ensure they break sooner. Don’t waste time, and energy while risking injury to speed up the inevitable. If your garage door is out of balance and the springs are no longer doing their job, call a reliable professional garage door company out to replace your springs and be done with it.

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