Spring Break is always fun, right? Not all of them! This spring breaking comes with startling sounds from your garage and might even lead to damage!
You hear a loud sound from the garage – a gunshot? You open the door and look around, but nothing seems particularly obvious, so you chalk it up to just one of those things you can’t identify. However, the next time you go to use your garage door, perhaps going to work, or to the grocery store, you find that the opener won’t budge it. You listen, and there’s a strange noise coming from somewhere near the door. Glancing up, you find that the lifting spring has broken.
How could something like this occur? Did you miss the signs of stress and wear? It happens, and more often than you might think. Kick back, check out the rest of this post, and you’ll understand why your garage door spring broke.
The Importance of Your Spring System
Before we go too far into our explanation, let’s talk about your garage door spring and what it does. With residential systems, there are two types of garage door springs. These include:
1. TORSION SPRING
Torsion springs are usually installed in a steel tube over the head of the door. That tube should be solidly attached to the wall. This because the door’s weight gets transferred to the anchor plate located at the center of the door. However, if you don’t have enough headroom above the door, the anchor plate might need to be installed elsewhere, such as at the end of the tracks. In this instance, you end up with a low-headroom or double horizontal track system.
2. EXTENSION SPRING
Extension springs are different from torsion springs. To begin with, they’re located on each side of the door, and are placed over the horizontal tracks.
As you probably guessed, their coiled form “extends” to lift or lower the garage door. The garage professional doing the installation should also include modern safety cables with extension springs.
Safety cables serve a vital purpose. If the spring breaks, the cable prevents it from damaging something in the area, such as the door, the wall, your possessions stacked nearby, or your car.
You should also understand that the spring system, both torsion style and extension style, serves as the counterweight to the door itself.
For instance, let’s say you have a standard 9 x 7-foot garage door with a single row of glass windows. The door’s deadweight (the term for its total weight when being lifted from the ground) is roughly 135 pounds.
To lift that door manually with just one hand, the door must be counterbalanced. Otherwise, it would be too heavy for one-handed operation and would also put a great deal of wear and tear on your opener.
When properly counterbalanced, your garage door should weigh between eight and 10 pounds, even if you’ve installed an electric garage door opener!
Note that openers are only designed to replace the manual effort you’d expend lifting the door by hand. That’s true even if your opener is technically capable of lifting 200 pounds.
With that being said, a garage door opener capable of lifting 200 pounds is also capable of pushing down with that much force. Make sure you’re out of the path of a descending door.
Why did my lifting spring break?
Lifting springs can break for many reasons. We’ll cover five of the most common below:
1. Regular old wear and tear
Both types of lifting spring have the same lifespan – between five and seven years. Most garage door manufacturers use 10,000-cycle spring systems. Technically, a cycle is a single open and a single close. So, if you leave your home once and return each day, that’s two cycles every day. If you use your garage four times a day, that’s about 1,500 cycles in a year. If you’re using your garage door more than five times, you should look into upgraded 25,000-cycle, long-life springs.
2. A defect from the manufacturer
While defects are rare, they do happen. If this occurs with an extension spring, it’s most likely going to involve the ring at the end of the spring. For torsion springs, the most common defect is low-quality galvanization that could lead to premature rust and failure.
3. Problems with spring calibration
While garage door professionals are highly trained, sometimes mistakes happen. It could be the wrong spring system or incorrect calibration. While the door will still operate, it puts a lot of stress on the entire system. When correctly calibrated, garage door springs should have a 5% variation, which means that a 100-pound door should not be used with a spring designed for a 150-pound door, and vice versa. Every now and then, the right spring system isn’t installed.
4. The garage environment itself
Most garages aren’t all that insulated. They get cold in the winter and damp when it rains. Even if yours is insulated minimally or even heated, springs are usually installed near the exterior wall where cold and damp are at their worst. Even with advanced galvanization technology, intense cold under -13 0F (-250C) can lead to damage.
5. A lack of maintenance
Let’s face it – most of us slack off when it comes to garage door and system maintenance. When was the last time you lubed metal parts or checked the condition of the track? Garage doors and their lifting systems require some upkeep. We recommend twice-yearly lubrication of metal parts that come into contact with other ones. Do it once in the spring when temperatures warm up, and then once in the fall when temps dip below freezing.
Boost Your Spring System’s Lifespan Easily
Lubricate Once Each Year or when needed.
It’s easy, all you need to do is use a non-drip lithium base oil. Use a cloth or spray carefully and apply it completely around the coils.
Wipe off the excess and that’s all there is to it. Lubrication keeps the springs in better shape and can help to eliminate clinking noises in springs.
After few years the lubricant might pick up some dust, you can easily wipe it off and replace the lubricant.
Check with your garage door dealer to get the lubricants you’ll need.
Can someone handle my garage door maintenance?
Absolutely! If you don’t have the time or simply don’t feel like doing it, any of the Garaga dealers in your area can offer a “ Garage Door Tune-up ” to keep things running smoothly.
Aging springs? Consider replacing them!
Contact us now.
- Ames: 515-233-4210
- Des Moines: 515-276-3700
We’re experts in garage doors and garage door openers, and we’re always here for you. Whether you want more maintenance information, or you’re thinking about replacing your springs, we can give you the advice and guidance you need, even a quotation by email.
Thinking about changing your garage door entirely? Use our Design Centre to create the perfect door for your home and your aesthetic.
You might also enjoy a trip through our Residential Garage Door Gallery to explore some of the things we’ve created for your neighbors.
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