Broken Garage Door Spring Repair
Considering that a typical residential garage door can weigh upwards of 300 lbs., you can imagine how vital garage door springs are to the entire mechanism. Because springs are the device that actually lift and close the heavy garage door, they are under an extreme amount of tension. If the springs break, and they are capable of doing so, not only is your garage door broken, but also the broken springs can cause a huge amount of damage. If you hear a big bang coming from your garage, you can bet your garage door spring has broken.
Two types: Torsion Springs and Extension Springs
There are two types of garage door springs, torsion springs and extension springs. Torsion springs runs across a bar at the top of the inside of the garage door, and they consist of a shaft, spring, and drum assembly. There can be one or two springs above the door opening, depending on how wide your garage door is. These types of springs are critical for wider, heavier garage doors; their location and strength distribute the weight of the door evenly. Typical torsion springs can last about 7,000 cycles of a garage door, with one opening followed by a closing equaling one cycle. Torsion springs lasting longer than 10,000 cycles are considered geriatric. Luckily, newer, higher quality torsion springs can last longer than that; however, if you know that your garage door has been used for several years without having the springs checked, it makes sense for you to have a repairmen come give them a check up before the inevitable breakage.
Extension springs are the coils located above the garage door’s horizontal track. These springs stretch as the door is lowered. You will usually find extension springs on smaller, lighter garage doors, and they can last upwards of 15,000 cycles. Problems with extension springs not only consist of one of them snapping, but also losing tension or becoming fatigued and elongated. Either way, this causes a big problem because the door opener cannot lift a door without a working spring, leading to big problems with the door opener. A broken door spring could also mean big problems for you because attempting to lift a broken garage door is dangerous and could even be fatal if the garage door falls on you.
It’s the tension of the spring that opens and closes your garage door, so it makes sense that something under that much pressure will eventually break. In fact, broken springs are the most commonly needed fix for garage doors; repairmen will often check the springs first when they arrive at your house for a repair call. You will want to call a specialist and get your springs fixed as soon as you notice a problem. First of all, lifting a garage door yourself is a Herculean task. Try it one time without the help of the springs, and you’ll have a new appreciation for them.
Garage door springs may break for a number of reasons. One thing to keep in mind is the amount of use your springs are getting. You already know that you have a limited number of cycles, depending on the type of springs you have. If you have a busy family that is in and out of the garage all the time, these cycles can add up quickly, leading to faster spring deterioration. Cold temperatures also have an effect on garage door springs. Springs that are older could easily break with a cold snap. Yet another issue could be rust. Rust is corrosive in nature. Allowing your garage door springs to rust could lead to spring failure, not only because rust is destructive, but also because it increases coil friction every time the spring moves. A dose of WD-40 every few months will help keep rust at bay.
Garage doors are one thing you can easily take for granted, but in the name of safety first, you should check the hardware of your garage door on a regular basis. You can check the health of your springs quite easily. First, give your garage door springs the once-over. Look closely for wear and tear or any elongation. Then try opening your garage door with two fingers. This should be easy to do if your springs have the correct amount of tension and are perfectly balanced. However, if you attempt to lift the door with two fingers and it’s very difficult, your springs need more tension.
If lifting the door is too easy, and the door shoots up, there is too much tension on the springs. Another way to check your springs is to manually lower and raise your garage door a few times and listen carefully for squeaking noises, which indicate a problem. Also, with the emergency release detached from your door, lift your door about two feet off the ground. Your garage door should not be pulled down by gravity if the springs are in good condition. A garage door that falls to the ground is a spring issue. Any of these red flags mean that your garage door springs need to be adjusted or even replaced. Again, leave it to a professional.
Broken springs, especially attempting to fix them yourself, could lead to serious injury. If you don’t know how to release the tension on the spring, you could be taking your life into your own hands. Repairmen all have stories about making a house call to fix broken springs, only to find that their client is bandaged up and has a horror story to tell. The average homeowner may not realize the potential energy that is set into the spring. When he goes to loosen the screw that attaches the spring, he may find himself right in harm’s way as that spring unwinds in less than a second, flying across the garage. At best, it’s the client’s pride that is damaged. However, frighteningly enough, the damage is usually physical, even being as bad as missing fingers or even death. Using the wrong tool or improvising because you think you’re going to save a few dollars could have devastating results when it comes to fixing garage door springs. Check your garage door springs regularly, and definitely call a certified garage door repairman if you notice a problem.