Maybe you were enjoying a quiet morning with a good cup of coffee. Or maybe you were running around, trying to get your kids ready for school and yourself off to work. Then suddenly, you heard an incredibly loud bang! Although you weren’t sure what had happened, you knew it couldn’t be good.
After a few minutes of hunting around for the source of the noise, you notice your garage door doesn’t look right. The large spring above your door has snapped in two. Not sure what to do about it, you decide you’ll deal with it. Later. It can’t be that urgent to fix, can it?
If you did not realize how dangerous a broken garage door can be, you’re not alone. The door’s spring system does an important job; it functions as a counterbalance. The spring system provides lifting power, making your door easier to move. Lifting power is important since garage doors are quite heavy; they can vary from 125 and 300 lbs. depending on their size and composition. Decorative items, like windows, can also add weight to your door.
Today, we want to look at why it’s unsafe to repair a garage door spring yourself. Here’s why you should never tackle this type of repair.
Are all spring systems the same?
Although quite similar, there are two types of garage door spring systems:
A torsion spring is found above a garage door, in a tube. The benefit of this type of spring is that if it breaks, it will stay in its tube.
This system is usually composed of two springs, found above a garage door’s horizontal tracks. If one extension spring breaks, the attached safety cable will keep it in place.
Both types of springs counter the deadweight of a garage door. When lifting a door manually, it should feel much lighter, about 8 to 10 lbs. (or 3.5 to 4.5 kg).
How long does a spring system last?
Spring system lifespans are given in number of operation cycles. One cycle includes opening and closing a garage door once. Typical spring systems are good for 10,000 cycles. Depending how often you use your garage door, this may last 5, 7, even 10 years. Select garage doors come with double-life springs, which are built to last 20,000 cycles.
Why is it unsafe to repair a garage door spring yourself?
Most homeowners don’t have experience with garage door repairs. With a torsion system, the spring, inside its tube, is fastened to a drum which coils the door’s lifting cables. These cables are stretched until taut, and attached to brackets at the bottom of the garage door. Extension systems are similar, but usually have two springs and no tube.
A spring system is under great tension, as it supports the entire weight of a garage door. Double garage doors, which can be up to 16 feet (or 4.9 meters) in width, are heavier than smaller doors, and therefore the tension on the lifting system is even greater. Since it’s important to understand how the entire lifting system works before attempting to repair it, it’s best to leave this job to a professional.
Will my door opener lift my door anyways?
If you have a broken spring, you should only use your garage door opener in case of emergency. Door openers are designed to lift many pounds – 250 lbs. (110 kg) or more, depending on the motor’s horsepower (½ or ¾ HP). However, when your door isn’t counterweighted, the opener must also push that weight as it closes the door. That can be rather dangerous. Safety systems are designed to protect us from a proper functioning garage door. You certainly don’t want a 250 lbs. door to close onto your foot!
What should I do?
If your garage door is open, close it with your opener if possible, then unplug the unit. Contact us at once. Our garage door professionals will come to you and carry out an emergency repair. Fixing a spring system must be done in a timely manner in order to keep everyone safe.
How can I prevent my spring system from breaking?
A little preventative maintenance is all you need to avoid broken components. Twice per year, inspect your garage door and opener. Look for signs of wear and rust. If everything seems in good working order, finish your maintenance by lubricating your door. Apply a small amount of metal lubricant to all hinges, springs and rollers.
Do you offer garage door maintenance?
Yes we do! At Elite Door of New England, we recommend our 28-point tune-up to all residential garage door owners. This maintenance program includes an inspection, any necessary adjustments, and lubrication. During our inspection, if we determine that a part needs to be replaced, we will contact you before completing any further work. We always supply an estimate with repair costs. Lastly, we will provide you with a report which describes the condition of your door.
For all of your garage door or door opener needs, please complete our service call form or call us at (603) 833-7135 for more information. You may also try out our Design Center and create a beautiful garage door!