There are two main types of springs used for residential garage doors, those are torsion springs and extension springs. Homeowners interested in purchasing replacement springs sometimes ask, what does a garage door spring look like? That’s a good question because torsion springs and extension springs are also used in other applications. Although the springs may look similar they vary in look, size, and strength.
In this post, we’ll show you a few examples of springs used in garage door systems so you can identify the correct springs when you purchase replacement parts.
What Do Garage Door Springs Do?
In garage door systems, the springs do the heavy lifting. As counterweights, the springs store energy that allows them to assist the door opener in lifting and lowering the garage door. The energy in the springs counters the force of gravity that pulls the door panels down allowing the door to lift and then to lower gently.
Aren’t All Springs The Same?
No. Not all springs are the same. There are many types and brands of springs available for garage doors and for use in other systems. In garage door applications, the springs are all designed to assist with lifting the door. To lift the door correctly the springs must be the appropriate size and provide the right amount of energy.
Some systems require more springs than others, depending on the design and weight of the door and opening. It’s important to choose the right springs because the weight of the door must be equally distributed across the spring(s).
Identify Your Garage Door Spring System
The diagram above shows you where torsion springs and extension springs are located on your garage door system. You should only have one type of spring on your door. If neither of these springs is visible, you may have a torquemaster system which is a type of torsion spring located within a tube (hidden).
What Does a Garage Door Torsion Spring Look Like?
Torsion springs↗ are located above the garage door opening across the header. Depending on the size and width of the door you may see one or two springs. The photo above shows two torsion springs, one is a left winding spring and the other is a right winding spring.
Torsion springs have become the most popular style used by manufacturers.
- Mounted on a 1” shaft above the door
- Usually requires one or two spring configuration
- On most doors spring is centered over the door opening
- Torsion springs provide a very calculated lift amount
- Lift amount measured by Inch Pounds Per Turn (IPPT) – based on the weight and height of the door as well as track configuration, cable drum size, and cycle life
What is a cycle life?
- Cycle life is the number of times you can expect to open and close the door before the springs break.
Multiple exterior coatings are available on torsion springs. Options include standard oil tempered, galvanized, stainless steel, or a rust-inhibiting black coating.
What Does a Garage Door Extension Spring Look Like?
Extension springs↗ are located overhead along the upper tracks of the garage door. This type of spring system involves many parts including multiple hooks, pulleys, and cables.
This type of spring has been extremely popular among new construction home builders because they are typically more affordable than torsion spring systems. Despite their cost, some builders have switched to torsion spring systems because they are more discreet than extension springs.
- Have been around for a long time
- Located above horizontal door tracks
- Door lifting is controlled by the spring’s stretching and contracting motions
- Most systems use one spring on each track
- Cables run from the garage door’s bottom bracket up to a cable above the door and eventually through the spring
- Springs rated by weight lifting capacity
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