With all of the information available to homeowners on the internet, sometimes we try to tackle projects that are better left to professionals. One of those tasks is changing your garage door springs. Due to the amount of energy your garage door springs store, all it takes is one mistake for your weekend project to turn into a nightmare. We’re going to break down for you just how your garage door springs work, and why it’s a good idea to leave it to a garage door technician when it comes to replacing them.
How Does a Garage Door Spring Work?
There are two styles of garage door springs. Torsion garage door springs and Extension garage door springs. Torsion garage door springs sit above your garage door, attached to your wall. Mechanical energy is stored as the garage door spring is twisted and tightened. When your garage door goes down, the springs wind up. Your garage door opens when the spring unwinds, causing the drums on each end to turn and bring the cables attached to your garage door up. This constant winding and unwinding on your garage door springs is what will eventually cause them to fail. Usually you will have a warning sign such as a garage door not going up completely, or improper garage door balance. If you ignore these warnings, when your torsion garage door spring snaps, it can cause your garage door to drop from wherever it is, destroying anything it lands on. The garage door spring industry is full of stories about the destruction technicians have seen when this happens.
Extension garage door springs rest on either side of the garage door track, suspended in the air. These garage door springs lift your door by constricting and pulling cables across a pulley system. When your door is lowered, the springs expand to full energy. This style of garage door spring will usually show signs of fatigue in that the coils will begin to separate. That is your warning sign to replace immediately. If you ignore it, when an extension garage door spring breaks, it will likely blast through your garage and destroy anything it hits. We have seen this style of garage door spring break through windshields, water heaters and ceilings. As well we have seen this style of garage door spring cause great bodily harm to homeowners.
Dangers of Replacing Garage Door Springs
Replacing a torsion garage door spring is not the hardest task in the world. However, it is dangerous enough that only trained professionals should attempt it. There are certain steps that need to be followed to ensure the person changing the garage door springs doesn’t get injured. We have seen the outcome when just one of these steps is done wrong, or missed entirely. Your garage door springs are not prejudice and will cause you great harm in the blink of an eye with no warning. Ask any garage door technician about the jobs he has seen where it went wrong for a homeowner attempting to change his own garage door springs. We have seen everything from broken fingers to broken arms to broken jaws.
Extension garage door springs are slightly easier to change, However, if you do it incorrectly, you could release the spring causing it to shoot around your garage in the exact same manner as if it had broken. We have seen a customer take an extension garage door spring to the face and lose his nose over it. It’s not worth your health to change garage door springs on your own. Nobody enjoys the hospital.
How to Know When to Call a Professional
Your garage door springs will generally last between 5-10 years. This depends completely on maintenance and use. Most people now use their garage doors as the main entry way into their home. Every time your garage door is opened and closed causes wear on your garage door springs. The more you use your garage door, the less life you’ll get from your garage door springs.
You should have your garage door inspected once a year to ensure that your garage door balance is correct and so any warning signs of garage door spring failure can be recognized. We recommend very strongly that if a garage door technician ever advises you to change your garage door springs out that you follow through with it immediately. Don’t let your springs fail. It is always better to be a day early than a day late!