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Garage door problems, including broken springs, always seem to happen at the most inconvenient time. The last thing you want is to leave what is often the home’s main entrance either stuck open or locked shut, unable to use it.
(in fact, they're made right here in Arizona!)
We're here to help you, not confuse you. Here are some common questions (and answers!) surrounding some common garage door issues:
Q: Can I have my garage door spring repaired, or do I need to replace it?
A: Even though we talk about garage door spring 'repairs', when the spring itself is broken, it needs to be replaced. When you consider that garage doors can weigh several hundred pounds or more, and that the springs carry the brunt of that weight each time it opens and closes, plus the fact that they get opened and closed multiple times per day, every day... it's no wonder that the springs eventually give out. And when one goes, usually the other one is close to giving out on you too. So if you've been told that you should replace both springs, and not just one, the person isn't just trying to sell you something you don't need... they're trying to save you the headache of being in the exact same position of having your door not work properly again in the very near future.
Q: How do I know if my garage door spring is broken?
A: As mentioned above, since the spring is primarily responsible for moving the significant weight of your door (not the garage door opener, like some people think). When one spring breaks your door will have a hard time opening and closing and will feel very heavy. Your automatic opener will probably start making a lot more noise, too.
If you're unsure whether a spring has broken, DO NOT pull the emergency release handle to disconnect the opener from the door if the door is in an open position without being aware that the entire door may come crashing down.
This is why you should never leave a door with a broken spring open while waiting for repairs unless you block the door open. It's too dangerous to risk having someone not know the full weight of the door isn't controlled, which could lead to serious injuries.
If you're going to block the tracks to keep the door open, make sure you block it on both sides. You can never be too careful.
If you'd like to know more about garage door springs in general, we've included a very informative video below, "Understanding the basics of Garage Door Springs". We also have information on the way garage door balancing works, which can give you a better understanding of what you're dealing with. That video is on our garage door repairs page.
Today we're going to talk about garage door springs.
There are basically two types of springs garage door torsion springs and garage door extension springs. There are several sizes of garage door springs based on the application.
On larger commercial doors, we have the springs that are as small as an inch and 3/4. This is a three and three-quarter inch spring. They go in size all the way up to 8 inches for an inside diameter.
On residential springs they're usually an inch and 3/4 on inside diameter, some are 2 inches and also two and a quarter inch springs and sometimes even larger if there's an extra heavy door.
IDEAL Door and Clopay have come out with a newer type of torsion spring called the EZ set spring and this spring has gaps in it and if you push the two ends together the coils will press apart.
Wayne Dalton has produced the torque master springs and these these springs fit inside of the tubes similar to this one right here.
And there are also still rolling doors that you see on the outside of a lot of buildings that have a tube that runs inside the curtain and the curtain goes up like a window shade and when you pull the curtain down it winds up the springs inside the tube.
The curtain doors are similar to the one-piece curtain doors in that you have a spring a curtain that wraps up around a core on a one piece curtain door. The ends usually have shepherd's hooks, fastening one end to the end bracket the other end to the drum that supports the tube. The cable drum that this is attached to supports the curtain as it rolls up and when it's opened.
At each end of a torsion spring you have cones. On one end of the torsion spring is the winding cone. Usually there's a number on here that will designate the size of the cone. On this spring is the designation that shows that it's three and three-quarter inches. On the opposite end of the spring there's a stationary cone. This stationary cone is mounted to a bracket and then this bracket is secured to the header.
On the smaller residential springs you have a winding cone and a stationary cone. On this inch and 3/4 cone you'll see a designation that designates it as 1 3/4 inches, same on them on the stationary cone.
Residential brackets are smaller and these stationary cones are secured to the bracket which is secured to the header, usually there's a bearing that goes inside here.
On EZ springs, there's usually a winding cone on one end similar to the one you have on the standard torsion spring, we call that the anchor end, and at the other end is a winder cone that screws into the spring. And then this winder cone snaps in the winder, and then the screw is turned to wind the spring.
Cable drums are different on these types of spring assemblies. On the commercial springs sometimes very large drums are used for the cables. On residential drums they're usually four inches. When the EZ set springs the drums are usually about two and a half inches, to 2 and 5/8 inches, you can see the difference between the standard four inch drum and the EZ set drum.
Torque master springs come inside of a liner, and this end of the liner is larger than the plastic that covers the spring. The purpose of this liner is to keep the spring from rattling inside the tube when the doors opening and closing.
One of the biggest problems that we have when customers are trying to replace their springs is they pull on the spring and it won't come out.
The reason is that the part that's inside the tube is bigger than the plastic liner, so it's like this is inside the tube they're pulling and pulling pulling but the only way to get this out is to get some needle nose pliers and pull on the plastic, and then this part will come out.
The coils on standard torsion springs are tight together. If you pull the spring at the at each end the coils will come back together.
On gap springs, the easy set springs, the coils are separated. If you can pull them apart but they don't snap together. But if you push them together it will separate.
The easy set springs have gaps between the coils you can slide a piece of paper between the coils but standard torsion springs are wound tight, the coils are tight together and you can't fit a piece of paper between the coils.
The other type of spring is the extension spring. Whereas torsion springs wind around a tube or inside of the tube, extension springs stretch as you close the door and they shrink as you open the door.
At one end of the spring is a pulley, at the other end usually there's an eyebolt or an s hook that connects to the back of the tack angle.
The other type of extension spring is the extension spring for the one-piece door. These are usually shorter, they're also wound tight. They're very hard to separate because they have initial tension on them usually of 15-20 percent. But rather than pulling against the cables with a pulley, these the pulley gets a lever arm and that gives you the balance that you need to make the door easy to open and close.
One type of one-piece door spring that's real popular especially out west is the homes one-piece extension spring.
These springs are different in that they have a plate that is screwed into the end of the spring, and this plate on the top attaches to a pivot point, on the bottom but times are different mounting pieces such as these brackets here that will mount to usually the jam at the bottom, and then as the door is open and closed they spring stretches and contracts.
One nice thing about the home springs is that there's a safety wire inside - two wires and as the spring stretches and contracts these wires stay inside and so that if the spring breaks it doesn't go flying off and possibly damaging the car or hurting someone.
We hope you found this information helpful in understanding the complexities of various garage door springs. If it's too much for you to tackle, we highly recommend you call a professional to take care of it for you.
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