We often hear the term “garage door springs” and while many folks know exactly where they are and what they do, many others do not. Here at Englewood Garage Door Repair, we sell, service, repair and install garage door springs of all types, sizes and categories. Our local customers often ask us about the main differences between the two types of springs – torsion and extension. These are often called by other names including spring system (torsion) and pulley system (extension). Read on and see how these two main garage door spring types work tirelessly to make your life more convenient and safe.
Torsion garage door springs (spring system)
If you have a newer garage door opener system, chances are you are using torsion springs. These are located at the top of your garage door. They consist of a torsion spring bar mounted on the header on the inside of your garage door opening. The actual torsion springs are mounted on this tube that runs parallel with your garage door. At each end is a drum with cables that connect to the bottom bracket on each end of the garage door. As your garage door opens and closes, these cables move up the length of the door and around the drums. The actual torsion springs provide the strength to open and close the door while the drums and cables do the lifting. Torsion spring sizes depend on how heavy your garage door. This is calculated with all attached components and not by simply weighing the garage door itself. These torsion springs tend to last longer than the older, less used extension springs. We measure the life cycle of torsion or extension springs as one open and one close. This is different from saying that something lasts 5 years or 10 years. Instead, we measure springs in these life cycles which average 10,000 to 20,000 cycles for torsion springs and 5,000 to 10,000 for extension ones. Also, some lighter garage doors will only use one torsion spring while larger, heavier ones will use two or more.
Extension garage door springs (pulley system)
If you hear some people say that they have the pulley system in their garage; it is their extension springs that they are talking about. These are still being used today even though this system is older and the springs tend to not last as long. Your extension springs are mounted on either side of your garage door and yes, you will always have two of them. These springs use pulleys and cables to pull your garage door open and closed. They need to be balanced and in good shape if you want your garage door to move evenly up and down. Our Englewood, CO garage door repair techs have found that it is best to replace both extension springs if one goes out as they tend to fail about the same time. If only one spring is working, it will give your garage door an obvious tilt to one side. If your garage door uses extension springs, they will stretch as your garage door closes and loosen when it opens. Extension springs also use safety cables that attach on each side to the track while running through the middle of each spring and then further attaching to the track support brackets. Why all this extra support? Namely because extension springs can be dangerous. They pack a lot of power and when they snap or break, they can fly through the air with tremendous power – even to the point of crashing through a windshield! Every year people and/or pets are hurt or even killed when an extension spring is mishandled during amateur repair or replacement is being done. The safety cables mentioned earlier help to keep these dangerous springs from flying everywhere but they are no guarantee that havoc will not commence if handled in the wrong way.
OK – which should you use?
That’s entirely up to you. If you already have extension springs and you are careful, keep using them. If you are still unsure which kind of spring set you have, call a local Englewood, CO garage door repair shop and get further clarification. If you like, get replacement estimates from your garage door pros and see if this fits within your budget. You can always wait until one or both of your extension springs needs repair or replacement and then make the switch to torsion springs. Many local garage door installation and repair shops (including ours) offer free price quotes and no obligation, free details on new installations, upgrades, replacements and maintenance service.
Does it really matter?
Actually, yes it does! Your garage door springs are the true heavy hitters in the industry. They are hardly thought of (until there’s a problem, anyway!). Think about it – how many times have you opened and closed your Englewood, CO garage door over the years? Did you once think about what a great job your set of springs is doing? Be honest; no, you didn’t! Yet, without those hard working, powerful springs your garage door opener would not be able to lower or raise your heavy garage door. It doesn’t matter if you have a single sized residential garage door, a double sized one or even a massive industrial garage door – springs are the force behind opening and closing each one of them.
Springs not only afford us convenience, they provide safety, as well. Without garage door springs, we would have to manually move our own garage doors up and down each time we used them. No opener on earth could work without the use of either extension or torsion springs; that much is a given. On the security side, you would have to actually leave the safety and comfort of your car in order to lift your garage door open. This puts you outside the vehicle where someone could accost you, force their way into your home or even steal your car, complete with insurance, registration and driver’s license inside!