A malfunctioning garage door can cause all sorts of problems, from making you late to work to forcing you to leave the car out overnight. In the worst-case scenario, the door might malfunction while raised and fall suddenly, potentially causing major damage. When a door spring fails, it will cause the door to cease to move at all. If the spring fails while the door is elevated, however, it might send it crashing back down to the ground unexpectedly. Door springs are under a greater amount of regular stress than any other part of the door, so it’s not uncommon for them to fail.
Professional repair and replacement of malfunctioning door springs is absolutely crucial. Not just to make sure that the work is done right the first time, but also as a safety precaution. Garage doors are very heavy, and if one falls on you unexpectedly it can cause life-threatening levels of damage. Given the safety issues present, if a door becomes stuck in an elevated position and you suspect a faulty spring is the culprit, a technician should be called right away for an emergency repair or replacement.
Types Of Garage Door Springs
There are two major types of springs used in a garage door: extension and torsion. The number may vary by door, but generally speaking there are at least one of each of these types of springs on residential garage doors. If you have a smaller garage door, however, you may only have extension springs.
Extension springs are found on the frame of the door or directly on the pulley. The purpose of these springs is to help properly distribute the weight of the door as it moves upward. Extension springs actually stretch and contract the door while it is in motion to balance the weight out. They do share the load of holding up the door’s weight with the torsion springs, however, so a failed extension spring can be just as damaging and dangerous.
The other type, the torsion spring, helps with the heavy lifting of moving the door upwards each time it opens. Though both torsion and extension springs are critical in holding up the full weight of the door, you’ll tend to see more wear on (and more failure of) torsion springs as they take on the majority of the door’s weight every time it is operated.
How Long Do Garage Door Springs Last?
There are a few different factors in how long you can expect a door spring to last. The first is the quality of the steel from which it is made. The next, and almost equally important, is how often the door is opened and closed. Any unusual impact can also cause springs to wear out faster. For example, if people are closing or opening the door too fast, or if it has been hit by a vehicle.
Under normal circumstances, you should expect a new door spring made of decent steel to last you at least seven years, if not a full decade under optimal circumstances. It’s a prudent idea to start inspecting it regularly around the fourth or fifth year, however, as this is the point where unusual loads will start putting springs at risk for damage. If you tend to open the door the same amount of times each day, you can also count off to 10,000 cycles, which is the standard that most springs are built for before they are expected to fail.
How To Tell If A Spring Needs To Be Replaced
Most homeowners aren’t aware of problems with a spring until it gets so bad that the door freezes in place. If you manually open and close the door, however, you may notice that it is becoming tougher to move as a spring problem is developing. If a door stops moving entirely, you can be almost certain that either the door is off its track or at least one of the springs is compromised.
There are some visual warnings that a spring problem is developing if you are able to give them a close-up inspection, however. One telltale sign is elongation; if the spring looks oddly stretched it is at risk for breaking. If a torsion spring breaks while the door is closed, you’ll also hear a very loud cracking sound, but may not notice anything else until you try to open the door and it doesn’t work. Some springs are encased in tube systems, however, and in this case you probably won’t notice anything until it stops working.
At least once every couple of years, it’s also a good idea to have a professional check the balance of your door and rebalance it if necessary.
Garage Door Spring Problems In The Twin Cities Area?
If you’re having issues with a broken spring or think one might be on its way to malfunctioning, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and provide you with a free estimate.