Garage Door Springs 101
Everything You Need to Know about Garage Door Springs
Garage door springs do all the heavy lifting when it comes to opening and closing your garage door. Without the springs, your opener would have to lift the full weight of the door, which would be quite the feat. Not to mention, the door wouldn’t close as softly and would instead slam to the ground every time you attempted to lower it. Garage door springs solve this issue, making them one of the most important mechanisms of your door. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide about garage door springs, how they work, and different types that are commonly used. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about these powerful springs.
What Are Garage Door Springs?
As you may have suspected, garage door springs are large springs that are responsible for helping the door raise and lower. They provide tension which helps to bear some of the weight of the door so that it can easily be lifted by an opener or by hand. Without springs, garage doors would be much harder to lift because you would have to bear the entire weight of the door. Since some garage doors are very large and made from heavy materials, garage door springs are a necessity for easy opening and closing.
How Garage Door Springs Work
Garage door springs help to lift and lower doors through the use of tension. When the garage door is lowered, the springs gain tension, which helps to support the weight of the door so it can close softly rather than slamming shut due to the force of gravity. This increase in tension remains the entire time the door is closed. When the door is opened, this tension is released, and as it is, the springs assist with lifting the door. While this tension is important for raising and lowering the door, it also puts a lot of pressure on your door springs, and over time they can wear out and need to be replaced.
Types of Garage Door Springs
Garage doors can use several different types of springs to help them open and close. The two most common types of springs operate in different ways, but both provide the support your garage door needs to easily raise and lower. As a homeowner, it can be helpful to know what type of springs your door uses in case they ever need to be replaced. We’re here to help you understand the differences between these two types of springs, where to locate them, and how to tell them apart. The two types of springs are:
- Torsion Springs: Torsion springs are mounted to a metal rod called a torsion bar that is located directly above your garage door opening. When you close your door, you can see these springs running lengthwise above the door. As the door closes, these springs coil tightly, creating tension. When you open the door, they help lift it by uncoiling and releasing the tension.
- Extension Springs: Extension springs are long springs that are usually mounted above the horizontal portion of your door’s track, which means they are placed overhead between the track and the garage’s ceiling. These springs extend as the door closes, creating tension in them, and this tension then helps lift the door as it is released and the door is opened.
How does a technician know which spring I need
Now that you know more about the two basic types of springs, it’s time to dive deeper into the specifics of each and how your technician know which spring your door needs. All torsion springs are not the same, as there are many different sizes and other important factors that go into determining the correct spring size. And the same goes for extension springs. It can be helpful to know how to determine which types of springs your door uses in case you ever need to have them replaced. Some of the main things that differentiate garage door springs are wind direction, wire size, length, inside diameter, and color code. We’ll dive into each of these characteristics and how your technician determines them more in the paragraphs below.
Torsion springs are classified by wind direction, as springs are either right-wound or left-wound. Larger doors that use torsion springs usually have two, one of each wind direction. The springs are separated by a divider that is called a stationary cone, which is situated in the middle of the door. You can determine the wind direction of your springs by looking at their endpoints. If the endpoint of the spring is in a clockwise direction, it is a left-wound spring. On the other hand, if the endpoint of the spring is in a counterclockwise direction, it is a right-wound spring.
Determining the wire size of your spring is pretty simple and easy, but it must be precise. Your technician will measure the combined length of ten or twenty coils of the spring. He will then compare these measurements to a standard wire size chart.
Measuring the Length & Inside Diameter
Garage door springs are also made in varying lengths and with different diameters. So, to determine what kind of spring you will need, your technician will need to determine these two measurements. First, he will determine the diameter of the spring as well as the overall length to ensure your new springs offer your door the best lifting and lowering power.
Garage Door Springs Can Be Dangerous
As a homeowner, you may feel it is your responsibility to replace your garage door springs rather than hiring a professional. But the truth is this is one project you should not DIY, even for the handiest of home owners. Because these springs are under so much tension, they can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have the proper tools. Since the springs are under such tension, pieces of it can shoot across the room, potentially damaging your car or causing injury to anyone standing nearby. Snapping springs have been known to break bones in the hand, cause deep cuts, damage the eyes and worse.
Why You Should Let a Professional Replace your Spring
It’s important to let an experienced garage door company replace the springs on your door. Attempting to do so yourself could have serious consequences, and you’ll likely end up calling a garage door technician anyway. With a knowledgeable professional, you can feel confident that your new springs will be properly installed and ready to lift your door for many years to come. Depending on how often you use your garage door, most springs last between three and seven years, which means this won’t be a project you have to worry about often. However, when the time comes, we encourage you to call a professional for the following reasons:
- Safety: As mentioned previously, garage door springs are under extreme pressure and can be dangerous if handled in the wrong way. A garage door technician will know how to safely remove old springs and replace them with new ones so no one gets hurt in the process.
- Tools & Experience: A professional garage door technician will have the appropriate tools and experience to complete your garage door spring replacement. Most homeowners do not have the right tools and will end up using incorrect methods to remove springs, which could result in damage to the door or injury.
- Correct Installation: You want to be sure that your garage door is ready to lift and lower for many years to come. When homeowners try to complete the installation themselves, there is no guarantee that it has been done correctly, and the door may malfunction or break later, leaving you to hire a professional anyway. It’s best to save yourself time and effort and hire a professional from the start.
Call Us for Garage Door Spring Replacement
If you are concerned that your garage door springs are wearing out or need to be replaced, it’s time to look for a professional. Dave’s Garage Doors can provide the services you need in Portland, Vancouver, and Salem. With years of experience and a team of fully trained professionals, you can feel confident that we will get the job done correctly. Please reach out to us today for more information about garage door springs or to schedule an inspection at your home.