Spring breaks are supposed to be fun -- not a terrifying, abrupt noise that sounds almost like a gunshot coming from your own garage.
Once you stop and breathe and get your heart rate down, you’ll look around, only to struggle to find the source. Returning to your business, you forget about it until you go to use the door and suddenly it’s making an awful, strange noise and the door isn’t working as it should.
You investigate further by looking up, only to see your lifting spring is snapped in two pieces!
How does something like this happen? Were you supposed to notice something sooner? Could you have prevented it? If you take a few minutes to read this guide, you’ll learn all about why lifting springs break like this and what the main causes are.
The springs are everything
Before you can understand why springs break, you have to know how spring systems work. With residential garage doors, there are two main choices:
1. TORSION SPRING
Torsion springs are located over the door, inside of a steel tube that is anchored to the wall with a plate that is usually positioned at the center of your garage door.
In the case that you don’t have enough headroom over the door, the anchor could be installed at the end of your horizontal track system. This is known as a double horizontal or low headroom track.
2. EXTENSION SPRING
The extension spring is located on either side of the door and runs over the horizontal track(s). These springs work by coiling and extending to help lower and lift the garage door. It’s critical to have safety cables installed with extension springs.
If you have a spring break, these cables will ensure the spring doesn’t hit other items in the garage or cause expensive damage to your vehicle.
It’s also important to understand how the springs function to provide counterweight for the door.
In the case of a door that measures 9 feet by 7 feet and includes a row of windows, the total weight would be around 135 pounds. This is also known as the dead weight.
If you’re going to be able to lift this door one-handed, it has to be counterbalanced. The springs provide that balance when installed and working correctly.
Even if you’re using an electric garage door opener, your garage door should only weigh about 8-10 pounds and be lifted with ease.
Remember that the opener is only designed to replace the manual effort, even if it claims that it can lift hundreds of pounds.
Of course, if a garage opener can lift this much, it can surely push down just as much force, if not more. Always make sure that you’re not in the path of the garage door when it is closing.
Why could lifting springs break on garage doors?
Many things could cause your garage door spring to break. Here are the biggest reasons:
1. Wear and tear
The average garage door spring, whether extension or torsion, is 5-7 years.
Most garage door manufacturers offer 10,000-cycle spring systems. One opening and closing of the door is a single cycle.
Thus, 2-4 cycles per day would account for about 1,500 cycles per year.
20-25,000 cycle systems are available from select manufacturers for those who use their garage door more than 5 times per day.
2. Manufacturer defects
Defects happen from time to time. Extension springs are notorious for the end ring breaking, which is located on one end of the spring. Torsion springs, despite being galvanized, are usually subject to rust-related defects and damage.
3. Spring calibration issues
When the wrong spring system is installed, the door and opener system has to work harder than they should. It will still function, but under extreme stress and that can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Springs made to lift a 100-lb. door shouldn’t be used with a door that weighs 150 pounds, for example, and springs need to be calibrated within 5% variation for best operation.
Garages are known for being damp (humid) and cold because most of them aren’t insulated or heated.
Springs are usually located near the outer walls, so even with some insulation or heating, there could still be cold, damp conditions that the springs are exposed to. Even with galvanization, rust can still attack the metal and cause damage. When it’s below -130F (-250 C), the extreme cold could even cause the metal to dry out and snap.
5. No homeowner maintenance
Garage doors and lifting springs require a certain type of maintenance.
It’s best to perform lubrication of metal parts twice per year, and especially the ones that come into contact with other parts. You should do this in the late fall once it dips below freezing, and then again in the spring when temperatures are above freezing at night.
Boost Your Spring System’s Lifespan Easily
Lubricate Once Each Year or when needed.
It’s easy, all you need to do is use a non-drip lithium base oil. Use a cloth or spray carefully and apply it completely around the coils.
Wipe off the excess and that’s all there is to it. Lubrication keeps the springs in better shape and can help to eliminate clinking noises in springs.
After few years the lubricant might pick up some dust, you can easily wipe it off and replace the lubricant.
Check with your garage door dealer to get the lubricants you’ll need.
Can someone else do this?
Check out the “ Garage Door Tune-up ” program from Garaga dealers, which provides you with preventive maintenance to keep your garage door in the best shape throughout the year.
Those springs aren’t getting younger...
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- London: 519-685-9797
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- Muskoka: 705-789-2424
- Parry Sound: 705-746-7131
- Port Sydney/Huntsville: 705-990-3569
Our team gets garage doors and garage door openers and can help you make the best decisions about whether to repair the springs or replace the entire door system. We‘ll even make it easy with our quotation by email option.
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Stop by the Residential Garage Door Gallery if you’re still looking for the inspiration or idea that you like best.