A garage door is a counter balance system. In order for the door to work as smoothly as possible and prevent the garage door parts and garage door opener from being ruined with normal usage the door must be balanced properly. Balancing a garage door is something that requires specific know how and tools. It is not recommended that you attempt to balance your garage door yourself but instead know how this works and how knowing can help you when you need a garage door repair.
When we talk about a garage door being balanced we are talking about whether or not it can hold itself up at the halfway point. The balance test should be a part of a yearly maintenance routine, and is something you can do yourself.
In order to test the balance of the door you need to first pull the emergency release to disconnect the door from the garage door opener ( only do this when the door is down).
Once you have done so, lift the door manually by hand to the halfway point. When you are lifting the garage door it should feel light and be easy to lift. Easy enough you can do it with one hand. Not only should the door be light it should also not be binding or dragging in any way.
Let go of the door, at this point the door should hold itself up, if your door continues to rise then then your springs are too big, if the door falls then the springs are weak. Continue to lift the garage door to the fully open position next. Your door should hold itself up above the header and not fall or spring back too hard.
What to do if your door fails the balance test.
There are a few separate scenarios that could be causing your door to fail. First of all if the door was heavy to lift and the door fell from the halfway point fast and hit the ground hard there are two possible causes. One, your springs are weak and need to be changed as soon as possible. The other possibility is that the springs that are on your door are the wrong size and are too small. It’s better to get this done before they break you so you are not inconvenienced by being stuck in the garage later when they do.
If your door just gradually dropped when you let go and your current springs are not over 5 years old then you could most likely get by with just having your springs tightened until the door balances. This involves loosening the torsion springs and adding turns to them before tightening them back down. This is something that only should be done by a professional. Torsion springs are under extreme tension and can badly injure anyone who is not properly changed.
Lastly if your garage door jumped up off the ground once it was released from the opener then the springs are oversized and you should call a garage door repair company to come out and evaluate your door and change the springs to properly balance your garage door.
A garage door that is out of balance will put unnecessary stress on other parts of your garage door such as the rollers and cables, as well as the garage door opener. Checking the balance regularly will help you get out ahead of repairs and prevent further more expensive repairs.