Unless you are friends with Ali Baba, your garage door does not magically open on its own. The opening and closing motion is typically achieved through the power of torrison, which we can harness through the use of springs.
The springs in your garage door are able to store mechanical energy by a twisting or rotating motion. You may be asking yourself, how can a little spring open such a big door? The difference between the torsion springs on your garage door and a simple Slinky, is the density of the materials used. If you increase the density, you increase the potential power of the springs.
How Do Springs Help Open A Garage Door?
Typically you will find torsion springs horizontally placed above the garage door opening. When the door is pulled down, or closed, cables that are connected to the door will force the springs to wind up. When a spring is wound up, it will collect and store more energy. The energy is partially released when the door is pulled up, or opened once again. This release of energy will help lift the heavy door into the air. A typically garage door can weigh anywhere from 100-200 pounds, but you will notice that it will almost lift effortlessly due to the assistance of the springs.
The Life of a Spring
When a material is placed under stress repeatedly, it will eventually become weaker. The Slinky toy is actually a great, exaggerated example to consider. If you had a slinky growing up, or purchased one for your child, you likely witnessed the slinky being pulled too far apart by two individuals. When the Slinky was stretched to its maximum length in opposite directions, the spring did not come back together as tightly as it did previously.
A similar result will occur when a garage spring has been opened and closed too many times over the years.The springs will slowly weaken through every cycle until the garage door is simply too heavy to be lifted by the remaining potential power of the material. It is at this time that a garage door spring can suddenly snap, leaving your garage in the closed position. The springs can also be weakened or damaged by extremely cold temperatures and rust which could form if your garage is typically a humid environment.
How Long Do the Springs Last?
This all depends on how often you open and close your garage door. The typically family will open the door in the morning, after work, and a few other times for miscellaneous tasks such as taking out the garbage. If you open and close your door 3-5 times per day, your springs should last about 5-7 years, or 10,000 cycles. The more cycles you run through, the greater the chance of a dangerous spring breakage or malfunction.
Dangerous You Say?
Yes! A worn, or improperly installed torsion spring can be extremely perilous for you and your family. If the springs can store enough energy to easily lift a 200 pound door, you can imagine what would happen if all that potential energy was released all at once in your direction.
Typically, when an injury occurs from a garage door spring, it is because an untrained homeowner attempts to fix a spring issue on their own. When modifying or changing a torsion spring, you need to have specialized tools, as well as a deep understanding of the physics and mechanics involved. If a homeowner fails to properly adjust or handle the spring on their garage door, they risk serious lacerations, broken bones, or worse.
Call in the Professionals
To avoid serious injuries and property damage, it is best to call a trusted garage door specialist to handle the issue at hand. Steve Benson, the owner of Alpha Doors has been servicing Northern Vancouver Island for over 20 years. At Alpha Doors, we have always provided honest, efficient service to our clients and would love to call you one of our newest loyal customers.
If you are having issues with the springs in your garage doors, or are unsure if they need to be serviced, give Steve a call at 250-758-7456. He will have your door fixed promptly and put the “spring” back in your step!