These days many of us have the luxury of automated garage doors, and while this is certainly a convenient benefit, it may mean we do not always pick up on early warning signs. Back in the olden days I was the “garage door motor” having to get out the car and manually open the door, and we had a real antique that required some jiggling in a certain pattern to open. We have certainly come a long way since those days.
That being said, when we manually open a garage door we may pick up on a sign or sound that something is amiss with our door, that could go unnoticed by just pushing the button and driving in and out. The springs are one of the most important components in the operation of the garage door. To put it in very simple terms, they offset the doors weight – making it easier for the motor to open and close the door safely (or enabling us to lift it manually with ease).
It is important to not overlook the condition of your garage door springs. This is why it is important to have your door serviced regularly. Neglect can cause the springs to fail, which could lead to an inaccessible garage or worse. It is not possible for springs to last forever, but with proper maintenance, you can extend their life span.
Garages get dusty, the most basic thing to do is ensure the springs remain clean. Dirt and debris can build up on the surface.
When installed, the springs are tensioned optimally for the weight of the door. Springs expand and contract during the opening and closing of the door, which over time can cause them to loose tension. This will cause the garage door and spring or springs in some cases to go out of balance, causing additional strain on the garage door motor with the added weight of the door and can ultimately lead to motor failure if it is not addressed.
In the above scenario where springs lost tension, a simple retention during a garage door service could be the solution to the problem. However there is a limit to how far and how many times a spring can be tensioned and ultimately will need to be replaced.
Another factor that effects the function of the springs is rust. Rusted springs loses its structural integrity and can’t be tensioned optimally to off set the weight of the door. Rusty springs are also more likely to break. A motor is unable to open a door that has a snapped spring as the door is simply too heavy. Even manually, depending on the material of the door it is very difficult to open the door with a snapped spring.
Some doors have only one spring (usually single doors) and others have two or more springs (double or larger doors). For doors with more than one spring it is very important that the springs are equally tensioned. With tip up or up-and-over garage doors it could pull skew and become stuck or slam shut without warning and possibly seriously injure someone. Sectional garage doors will typically be completely imbalanced which can cause it to slam down or put strain on the rest of the system due to the added weight.
It is easy to check yourself if your door is balanced. Simply put your door in manual mode and open it manually open the garage door half way. The door should remain in this position. If it starts sliding down, or one side starts slipping, it means the springs have lost tension and need to be looked at.
Other indicators that your springs may require some attention :
Jerky movements when opening or closing
Uneven opening and closing
Do not attempt to tackle your garage door springs as a DIY job. The springs are under a great amount of tension and can cause very serious injury if not handled with care. It is always best to call a professional for these type of tasks.
Garage doors are a vital part of the home, and as such it is important to inspect them on a regular basis. Springs can be inspected by opening your garage door manually and checking that there's no side to side movement.
Another method to check the condition of the spring is for you to open your garage door half way in manual mode; the door should remain stationary if everything is working properly and is balanced properly. Rusted springs cannot sustain much tension, which means they could snap at any point without warning, making access into garages difficult or impossible. If noises or jerky movements occur when your door opens or closes, then springs may need attention from a professional technician who will tune up the system during an inspection appointment.
For further assistance or advice please feel free to reach out to us at the details below:
Cape Town: 078 949 8130
Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha: 063 462 4003