There are many parts of our home that often go overlooked. Consider your garage door, how often do you open and close your garage door on a daily or weekly basis? How often do you perform maintenance to the garage door system? Have you noticed what kind of springs are on your garage door? Let’s focus on that–the springs. What do garage door springs do?
Garage door springs are actually one of the most important parts of your garage door system. Whether the door has one spring or multiple. Whether it’s a torsion system or extension system. Garage door springs are the elements that make lifting and lowering the door easy. Springs shouldn’t be underestimated, they can also be very dangerous.
Garage Door Problems – Bad Springs
Over time parts that normally keep your garage door operating smoothly begin to wear down. Worn down springs can make it difficult to open the door. As springs wear down they provide less and less support to the garage door opener. Continuing to operate a garage door with worn down springs can snowball into bigger problems for the springs and for the door opener.
Understand the parts of a garage door system by reviewing the photo below.
What Do Garage Door Springs Do?
Garage door springs are counterweights to the weight of the door. Springs don’t lift the door but they do provide needed support to the door opener. Without functioning springs, motorized openers don’t have enough strength to lift the door panels.
As counterweights, they extend or unwind to lower the door. The energy in the springs counters the weight of the door allowing it to lower slowly without slamming to the ground. As springs weaken they have a harder time countering gravity’s pull on the heavy door.
Two Types of Garage Door Springs
There are two types of garage door springs–torsion springs↗ and extension springs↗. Extension springs are the least expensive but they have more moving parts and can’t support as much weight as torsion springs. The torsion type are more expensive but they are more durable and highly recommended by garage door professionals.
What Do Torsion Springs Do?
Torsion springs are mounted horizontally along the header of the garage door opening.
When the door closes, the cables attached to the bottom corners of the door cause the spring(s) to wind up. As the spring(s) winds up, energy builds up and becomes stored energy in the spring. The energy is released slightly as the door opens. When the door opens the springs unwind, the controlled energy helps lift the garage door.
What Do Extension Springs Do?
Extension springs are located above the upper tracks, (at least) one on each track.
The weight of the panels needs to be equally distributed among the counterweights in order to properly lift and lower the garage door. An extension system uses cables that are fed through the spring. One end of the cable is attached to the angle bar at the top end of the track. The other end is wound through pulleys and attached to the other end of the track.
When the door is closed the springs are stretched and filled with tension. As the door is opened the energy stored in the springs helps lift the door.
Garage Door Spring Safety
Springs are susceptible to damage. Some springs can warp or lose tension and older springs may have rust. The biggest danger is being near springs when they break. Both extension springs and torsion springs can break but extension springs are usually more dangerous.
It’s easy to overlook the springs on your door, at least once a year inspect your door system. Remember to look at the springs and check for any noticeable wear. If you notice a problem with your springs, call a professional to schedule a repair or maintenance service.
Addressing issues with a garage door system can extend the overall life of the door. Maintenance and repair will also reduce the chance of being hurt by the door or any related parts.
Don’t see any springs? This is a problem too, contact an expert for help.
Repair or Replacement?
If you’ve run into trouble, the springs may be the culprit. Springs can lose tension or overextend and break, both problems require replacement as they cannot be repaired.
Garage door repairs, especially spring replacements, are dangerous undertakings. Homeowners in Southern California in need of assistance diagnosing a garage door problem or those interested in scheduling a repair can contact our team by phone or form. We’ve been in the business for over 30 years and we’re always ready to help.