When you hear the phrase “spring break,” you may think about fun in the sun. Unfortunately, not everyone has an exciting spring break. Especially when the spring break involves a loud, sudden noise from the garage. When you break a spring on your garage door, you may be startled or worse. After you take a moment to catch your breath, you take a look where the noise came from. Sometimes it isn’t as obvious as you might think. However, once you look up toward the ceiling, you may see that the lifting spring is no longer intact and is instead in two pieces.
So, what could cause this sort of problem to happen? You might be concerned that you missed some sign that it was going to happen and wonder what to watch for next time. Don’t worry. This blog will give you the information you need to understand why a lifting spring can break and what the top causes for it are.
The spring system is beyond important.
First, before we get into the nitty‑gritty, it’s important to understand exactly why you have a spring system and what it does for you. Assuming you are talking about a residential door, there are two options for spring systems:
If you have a torsion spring, it is enclosed in a steel tube that is above the head of the door. You’ll find it attached firmly to the wall so that the weight of your door can be transferred to the anchor plate which is found in the middle of the door. In some cases, if there isn’t room over the head of the door, the plate will be placed elsewhere, such as the end of your horizontal tracks. If this is the case with your spring system, it is known as a double horizontal track system or low headroom.
This is the other type of spring you may have, which will be located over the horizontal tracks on each side of your door. The name of the spring refers to the fact that the spring is coiled but extends to lower and lift the garage door. Any professional garage door installer will choose to install safety cables with extension springs. This means that if a spring does break, the cable will prevent the spring from hitting your car or other things in your garage, which could lead to the need for expensive repairs.
You should also be aware that your spring system is in place to be a counterweight for the entire weight of the garage door. So, if you have a 9 x 7 foot door that includes windows, it’s weight (which is referred to as deadweight) could be somewhere around 135 pounds (61 kilo). Lifting the door with a single hand would be nearly impossible without a counterbalanced weight, which is why the spring system is so crucial. When your garage door is balanced correctly, it will weight as little as 8 to 10 pounds (3.5 to 4 kilos), which includes the electric garage door opener! What the door opener is actually there to do is remove the need for manual effort, even if the device is marked as being able to lift 200 pounds (90 kilos). You also need to remember that even if a garage door opener can lift that much weight, it can also push down the same amount. That is why it is important to stay out of the path of the door as it comes down.
Reasons a lifting spring might break
If your spring has broken, there are numerous reasons for that to have happened. We’ll go over the most common below:
Wear and tear
Regardless of whether you have extension or torsion springs, they are only made to last around 5 to 7 years. In many cases, garage door manufacturers will provide you with 10,000‑cycle spring systems. One cycle includes both opening and closing the garage door. So, if you and others in your home are opening and closing the door two to four times in a day, that can be the equivalent of about 1500 cycles per year. Those who use their garage doors even more often may want to consider 20 or 25,000‑cycle springs, which some manufacturers offer.
Incorrect calibration of spring
In some cases, the wrong spring system can be installed. This will still allow the door to open and close, but it also means there is more stress placed on the door, springs, and opener. The springs are made to be calibrated correctly even with a 5% variation, which means that a spring that is built to lift 100‑pound (45 kilo) doors is not going to work properly with a door that is 150 pounds (68 kilos).
Defect from manufacturing
While this is not super common, it does happen in some cases. If you own extension springs, this often presents as the breaking of the ring on the end of the spring. Those who have torsion springs are more likely to find problems related to low quality galvanizing against rust which leads to the break.
Many garages are not heater of insulated, which means they can be humid and cold. When there is insulation and heating, most springs are located by the exterior wall, so they can still be damp and cold. Even if you have fantastic galvanization of about 30 to 40% of the composition of the spring, rust will still attempt to attach the metal springs. When the weather gets extremely cold, such as under -15F (-26C), it can cause the coiled metal spring to dry out which may lead to it breaking.
Lack of homeowner maintenance
It may not always be fun, but your garage door will require some amount of maintenance. The recommendation from Garage is to have the metal parts tha touch others lubricated twice a year. It’s best to do this once in fall or winter when it starts to cool off and again when the temperature are above freezing.
Are you looking to make your spring system last as long as possible? You can follow these tips.
You’ll want to ensure you lubricate your springs every year. Twice is best but even once will have beneficial effects. Are you wondering how to do this? All you need to do is use a petroleum‑based oil, such as the motor oil you use for your car and apply it all around the coils using a soft cloth. After that, all you have to do is wipe off the excess and you’re done until next time. In addition to keep your springs long‑lasting, this will get rid of the clinking sound you might hear when the springs stretch or release. As an additional tip, do not use WD‑40. If it a degreaser and will not properly lubricate parts of made metal. If you need access to the right products, Garage offers all lubricants you’ll need for your garage door.
Can someone else take care of this for me?
Sure! Those who don’t have time to do maintenance or prefer to leave it to someone else, we offer a “Garage Door Tune‑up” that is similar to the one a car dealership might offers to help you prevent issues before winter is in full swing.
You can contact us for more information. We have experience with garage doors and can help you choose the right solution based on your budget. We are also happy to send a quotation to you using email.
If you prefer, you can also choose to meet us at our showroom. We also have a Design Centre which can help you choose the right style for your specific home. You can also peruse our image gallery for lots of ideas.