Garage Door Spring Systems: What is the purpose?

Simply put, the purpose of a garage door spring system is to counterbalance the weight of the garage door, making it easier to open and close. Garage doors in any scenario require a spring system and should never be operated without a spring system that has been professionally installed and set. Operation without the spring system, or with an incorrectly installed spring system is dangerous and irresponsible. Here’s a closer look at its main functions:

Balancing the Door's Weight

Garage doors can be very heavy, often weighing hundreds of pounds. The spring system offsets this weight, allowing the door to be opened and closed with minimal effort, whether manually or with an automatic opener.

Easing Manual Operation

Without the spring system, lifting a garage door manually would be extremely difficult due to its weight. The springs store and release mechanical energy to help lift the door, making it possible for a person to open and close the door by hand without much effort.

Assisting Automatic Openers

Garage door openers are not designed to lift the door's full weight. The spring system reduces the load on the opener by balancing the door’s weight, ensuring that the opener works effectively and lasts longer without excessive strain.

Maintaining Balance and Stability

The spring system helps keep the door balanced as it moves. This ensures smooth operation, prevents the door from becoming misaligned, and reduces wear and tear on other components like tracks and rollers.

Types of Garage Door Springs

There are two main types of garage door springs, with a third being brand specific that will be listed last. All spring systems should be serviced and repaired by a trained garage door professional. DO NOT attempt self repair. Springs can cause severe injury or death in extreme cases where mistakes or mishandling occurs. Each system serves the same basic purpose but working differently:

  • Torsion Springs: These are mounted horizontally above the door opening and use torque to lift the door. They are durable and can handle heavier loads. Generally more reliable, safer, and more common as of 2024. (More dangerous to work on)
  • Extension Springs: These are mounted on either side of the door and extend and contract to lift and lower the door. They are generally used for lighter garage doors. Mainly used in years past or in situations where the headroom is limited. Sometimes these systems can be converted to TORSION springs. Without safety cables, these systems are generally less safe for homeowners.
  • Torque-Master: This is the last, least common spring system exclusive to a certain brand of garage door. The springs are contained horizontally, inside a metal rod, and mounted the same way as a Torsion system. In our experience these are used on lightweight doors, and are generally less reliable. Unless the service company carries this specific brand of door, replacement parts and repairs usually result in a Torsion Conversion. At Door King Overhead Garage Doors we always convert these to Torsion. This results in most any company being able to work on or fix this in the future and makes the door run more reliably.

Safety Considerations

Garage door springs are under high tension and can be dangerous if they break or are improperly handled. Proper installation, maintenance, and occasional replacement of worn-out springs are crucial for safe operation. Many modern systems include safety features to prevent injury if a spring breaks.

In summary, the garage door spring system is essential for the smooth, safe, and efficient operation of a garage door. It balances the door's weight, eases manual operation, assists automatic openers, maintains balance and stability, and enhances the overall lifespan of the garage door mechanism.

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