Many people that have garage doors do not know that the torsion springs typically only last between five and nine years. A broken torsion spring is one of the most common garage door problems. A broken spring can be dangerous, as a garage door may fail to open or may fall if it is open when the spring breaks.
Diagnosing a Broken Torsion Spring
While it is recommended that a professional replace the torsion springs, diagnosing a broken torsion spring can help to speed the process of repair. If the door won’t stay open, the problem is typically the torsion spring, but it may simply need to be adjusted. If the door is misaligned or there are inconsistencies when opening and closing the door, maintenance may need to be done on the pulleys or the door itself, and the spring is usually not to blame.
Some common indicators that the garage door torsion spring may be broken include:
- Garage door will not open from closed position
- Garage door opens slowly
- Opener is straining
- Loud bang was heard before door stopped working
Hire a Professional
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 30,000 people a year seek medical treatment for injuries after attempting to replace broken torsion springs. Torsion springs are under high pressure and can easily cause injury. After the torsion springs have been replaced, it is important that a casing be installed around the spring so that it will not shoot off and cause injury in the event that the spring breaks.
Torsion Spring Awareness
When it is necessary to replace a torsion spring, it is helpful to have some awareness of quality factors and other aspects. Torsion springs are rated in cycles, with each cycle being one time opening and closing the door. Standard torsion springs are expected to perform about 10,000 cycles. If the garage door is opened and closed 3-4 times a day, this translates to roughly 5-9 years before the springs will need to be replaced again. There are higher quality torsion springs that are rated for a higher number of cycles, but it will be necessary to specify that these springs are desired.
Powder and Rust
Rust is a major factor in torsion spring wear. Rust can cause springs to operate improperly or break long before the number of cycles that the springs are rated for has been reached. Asking for powder coated springs can help to ensure that springs remain rust-free.
Used versus New Springs
Broken torsion springs should always be replaced with new springs. Used springs are hazardous and can make it difficult to estimate the cycle life. When springs are replaced, it is important to always replace both springs. Operating with one used spring and one new spring can be dangerous and can cause uneven wear and possible damage to the garage door assembly.