Replacing garage door springs is not a wise do-it-yourself project. Garage door spring replacement requires specialized tools and techniques to avoid injury. The heavy-duty torsion springs that allow a garage door to go up and down with ease are not “one size fits all.” Installing the wrong size spring or springs can seriously damage the garage door, its components, and an electric garage door opener.
If a spring breaks when you’re nearby, you’ll know it – the sound gets your attention. And, the garage door won’t budge when the opener tries. When you know the spring is broken, stop using the opener immediately, you’ll just damage it. And, resist the urge to try to lift the door on your own. Even the lightest door, without the assist of its spring, is dead weight and you risk injury attempting to lift it.
Periodic Check Before A Spring Needs Replacing
The lifespan of a garage door spring is based on the number of cycles it completes – the number of times it assists in the raising and lowering of the door. Springs are commonly rated from 5,000 to 10,000 with high cycle options of 20,000-50,000 life cycles available. If you average opening/closing the door three times a day, that’s about 1,000 cycles a year. At that rate, a 10,000 life cycle spring should last 8-10 years and a 5,000 cycle spring about half that. Other factors come into play – rust on the springs and no routine maintenance can reduce life, etc.
With the garage door becoming the most common point of entry in modern homes in Madison WI, the lifespan may be shorter than expected without regular maintenance. On a routine basis a quick check of a door’s performance makes sense. Try this:
- Raise the door slowly and check its balance – if you have the correct springs in proper working order the door should…
- Stay down tight when closed
- Stay in place halfway open or slightly raise or sag up to a foot
- Stay in place when fully open
If the door drops to the floor while in the halfway open position, the torsion springs need additional tension. If the door isn’t stable at any step along the way, it needs to be checked.
Timely maintenance you can do yourself will extend the life of the door, springs and all components. Applying oil to the garage door springs, rollers and hinges at least twice a year is simple an effective. Select a lubricant specifically designed for garage doors, or use basic 30-weight motor oil. Avoid the common WD40. This popular product is not a lubricant and can actually dry the metal in your garage door springs and reduce their lifespan. Never use grease.
The common spring system on today’s garage doors includes one or more torsion springs mounted above the door. They are mounted on a spring bar/torsion tube with cables attached to the garage door. The cables wrap around and wind from drums on the end of the bar as the door opens and closes.
One Spring vs. Two Garage Door Springs
Some installations, especially on small, light doors, include a one-spring system. But many installations include two or more springs for a better distribution of weight and less wear on the components. More springs equal longer life by providing more cycles before one breaks.
A major benefit of a two-spring installation is that if one spring breaks, there’s another one to assist with lifting half the weight of the door and to keep the cables on. Even so, garage door spring replacement professionals suggest caution when moving heavy doors.
With a one-spring system, when it breaks you have no choice but to replace it. With two springs, when one breaks you should always replace both. The springs have cycled for the same amount of ups and downs and, in the long run, it is cheaper to change both springs at the same time. Consider that the two springs were probably installed at the same time. If one has just broken, how long with the other last – usually from one hour to a year.
The Right Choice For Garage Door Spring Replacement
If your current installation includes one spring, you can add additional springs to provide for smoother operation and longer life. The garage door’s weight determines the proper springs it should have installed. Torsion springs are available in different gauge wire and various diameters and lengths. It takes a trained garage door technician to correctly weigh a door and determine the garage door spring replacement options. This is not a DIY project – without the proper tools and training, working with one of the heaviest items in your home and a tightly-wound spring can be extremely dangerous.
The trained professionals at Northland Door Systems can provide timely service for all garage door spring replacement. You benefit from the area’s widest selection of manufacturers and in-stock supplies of the right garage door springs for your needs.