Garage door springs: are they dangerous?
Your garage door is one of the hardest working components of your home, opening and closing thousands of times every year. Allowing that task to take place are the door’s torsion springs, which also play a key role in its lifespan. Torsion springs are under tremendous pressure as well and can be very dangerous.
How do torsion springs work?
Garage door springs are made of very dense metal and store mechanical energy by rotating or twisting as they tighten. The tightening process allows the spring to store all of that energy.
These springs work by leveraging their stored energy to open and close the door. Most torsion springs are installed horizontally above the opening of the door. During the door’s downward motion, the system’s cables force the springs to wind up, thus energizing the system. As the door opens, the springs unwind and release the stored energy, which makes easier to open.
The lifecycle of torsion springs
Garage doors are very heavy and after so many open-close cycles, the weight takes its toll and weakens the steel in the springs. Eventually the springs will break altogether, leaving the door stalled in the closed position and requiring a good dose of strenght to open it back up by hand.
However, a typical garage door spring should last 5-7 years, which is about 10,000 open-close cycles. Even if you open and close your door 5 times a day all year long, your springs will do the job.
Dangers of torsion springs
A garage door with a broken torsion spring is very dangerous, potentially failing quickly and causing serious injury or death. While this is indeed a concern, the most common danger comes when people try to repair broken springs themselves. Simply stated, this is a bad idea, as as the job requires special tools and extensive knowledge of the entire door system. For example, older garage doors don’t have spring safety mechanisms at all an if the spring snaps it could fire like a missle through a wall of the garage or into the home.
Some of a garage door system’s parts alone can be life threatening and must be handled with care. It is always best to call in a professional rather than try to handle this kind of repair by yourself.
Even if you are a highly skilled DIYer, garage doors are a different home repair animal. Play it safe and call an expert to repair your garage door springs.