Compared to some of the more complicated aspects of your home, such as your HVAC system or your plumbing and sewage system, your garage door seems fairly straightforward. You push a button, a pulley lifts the door, and you safely back your car onto the driveway before you use a remote to close the garage door.
But even though your garage door appears straightforward, it actually has several working parts, all of which need to function correctly. Otherwise, your garage door can’t raise or lower safely and efficiently. Take a look at your door-along with the door’s panels and remote, you’ll see cables, hinges, belts, and springs all working in harmony to ensure your door works.
For the rest of our blog, we’ll talk about one of the most crucial components of your garage door: its springs. Without functioning springs, your door will refuse to open or close, or it will slam shut at the worst moments. We’ll show you how springs work and how to recognize a problem with your springs without putting yourself in danger.
How Do Torsion Springs Work?
You might expect your garage door’s motor (or “operator”) to do most of the door’s work. While the operator does expend a certain amount of energy raising and lowering the door, the door’s springs actually accept the heaviest burden.
In particular, torsion springs offset the garage door’s weight and make it simple for the operator to raise and lower. If your garage door weighs 250 pounds, your torsion springs need to exert a force of 250 pounds to make the door easy to open and close. Because they exert a large amount of force, your torsion springs are under a huge amount of pressure.
Without functioning torsion springs, your operator has to accept your garage door’s full weight. But without the spring to counterbalance the door’s weight, the motor probably doesn’t have the capacity to raise hundreds of pounds on its own.
Most garage doors have torsion springs on the upper right and left corner, but depending on the make and model of your door, it could have one torsion spring located at the top of the door in the center.
Why Should You Call a Professional for Torsion Spring Repair?
If your garage door refuses to open and close, but the pulleys and belts all seem in place and the motor runs, your torsion springs are probably to blame. Torsion springs don’t cost very much money, so some homeowners consider trying to replace the springs on their own when one goes out.
Replacing a garage door spring can be a dangerous endeavor, though. Since springs are under a lot of pressure, they can seriously injure your fingers and hands if you don’t know exactly how to handle them.
Most injuries happen when homeowners try to wind the spring into place. If your winding bar slips while you tighten or loosen the spring, the spring immediately releases hundreds of pounds of tension. The heavier your garage door, the greater the spring’s tension-and the greater the spring’s capacity to seriously harm you. So in most cases, you should call a garage door expert to deal with your broken springs.
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Torsion Springs Last?
Most garage door components-including the springs-should last for several years. If you take excellent care of your door, the door and springs will hopefully last for a decade or more. You shouldn’t replace torsion springs on your own, but you can still take a few safe steps to keep them from wearing out.
- Apply garage door lubricant to the springs if they start to squeak.
Your garage door company can recommend the best lubricant for the job. Even though you won’t tighten or loosen the springs while you perform this task, take extra care to stay safe around the springs. Wear gloves and pay attention to where you place your fingers so they don’t get pinched.
- Pay attention to key warning signs.
If your garage door squeaks loudly and lubricating the components doesn’t help, you might have a more serious problem on your hands. Call in a professional if you notice the following problems:
- Squeaking or clanging noises when the door opens and closes
- Jerky movements instead of smooth movements when the door opens and closes
- An uneven garage door, including an uneven space between the ground and the garage door
An uneven or jerky garage door might indicate that your springs are unbalanced. You shouldn’t attempt to balance the springs yourself-call in a professional for fast, safe help.
- Assess and clean your garage door regularly.
When you take care of your entire garage door, you take some of the pressure off your springs. Take the time to make sure your garage door’s components all function smoothly. Regularly clean the door’s exterior to prevent rust and corrosion. Schedule regular maintenance checks to make sure your door isn’t developing problems.
Take Care of Your Door’s Springs
Now that you’ve read our blog, you know a little bit more about how garage door springs can make or break your door. Implement the tips above to keep your garage door’s springs in great shape for years to come, and don’t forget to call a professional for help if something breaks down. He or she will get your torsion springs back in working order in no time.