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Torsion Springs
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Mike's Blog

Torsion and Extension Springs: What's the Difference?

     We almost always use torsion springs in repairs, conversions, and new installations. There are only rare circumstances that would ever lead us to using extension springs, such as very low headroom and the inability to use a rear torsion spring for the door.  Here are a few reasons why torsion springs are growing in popularity and in our opinion, are a better investment:
     Torsion springs are not fully extended the way extensions springs are when the door operates.  Extension springs fully expand and contract when operating an overhead door.  Torsion springs turn.
     Torsion springs are sturdier and last longer. Torsion springs do cost more, but generally last between 15,000 and 20,000 cycles, whereas extension springs last up to 10,000 cycles.  For example, if you open your garage door 4 times a day, extension springs will last about 7 years.  You can do the math on the torsion springs.  It only gets better from there. 
     Torsion springs allow for a controlled motion.  Extension springs can result in a jerking motion.  There might be a lot of tension when you first open the door, but then it once the tension is gone, the door can fly up at a much faster speed.  Torsion springs keep a controlled, steady motion when the garage door opens and closes.  A lasting result of the controlled motion is the ability to keep your door in proper balance.  The jerking motion from the extension springs can leave your door needing adjustment.  When a door is out of alignment or needs adjustment, it has a tendency to wear or even cause damage to other parts of your garage door.
     Use of torsion springs result in less wear on your operator.  Torsion springs allow your overhead door operator to do its job without unnecessary wear or requiring more power to function when compared to extension springs.  In other words, your operator doesn’t have to work as hard to open and close your door because it’s in better balance as a result of the more controlled motion that occurs.   This can result in you experiencing fewer problems with your operator and it performing better and lasting longer for you.
     Extension springs require more parts.  When you have more parts involved, more things can go wrong.  For example, extension springs have sheaves and require a longer cable.  Torsion springs are easy to lubricate and maintain, whereas wear and tear can take place on the additional door parts needed with extension springs.

     When an extension spring breaks, it can be more dangerous than when a torsion spring breaks.  When you hear of an extension spring breaking, it can cause serious damage.  We’ve heard of them flying through garage windows, car windshields, and we know they can cause serious injury and even death.  When a torsion spring breaks, it doesn’t fly off.  You may hear a loud bang, but the spring stays on the shaft.  Broken springs are serious; don’t hesitate to call your garage door professional if you have questions or need assistance.

5 Maintenance Tips For Your Garage Door To Last Longer

1.  Protect the finish. Prevent scratches to the panels’ surface for both aesthetic and practical reasons.
  • Paint - Prevent peeling paint by chipping away all lifted paint and sanding the door to prepare it for a repainting that will adhere well. Using a quality paint pays off with superior coverage. Exposed wood grain is vulnerable to water. Owners of wooden doors can plan on scraping and repainting every-other year.
  • Wood stain - If the lacquer on wood wears too thin, water will seep in. Moisture can make the panels warp, rot, or mold. Prevent any water from penetrating the wood door’s finish if possible. Warping and moisture issues are much easier to prevent than reverse. Stains can fade in the sun’s UV rays, so a tint touch-up and fresh coat of lacquer keeps a wood-paneled garage door looking sharp!
  • Powder coating - Similarly, plastic on metal doors serve more than decorative purpose. Powder coating is thick and resistant to scratches but is vulnerable to industrial solvents and household chemicals including an ingredient in sunscreen lotion. Clean the surface gently and use only mild soap or cleaners specifically listed as safe.
Avoid damage to the panels. Protect them from high-wind damage by selecting the proper grade of resistance for your region and surroundings. Instruct kids (or anyone playing outside) to avoid playing sports directly next to the door. This counts for soccer balls and hockey pucks directed up the driveway, too.

Take good care of the movable parts. Use the track lubrication product recommended by the door’s care instructions. Tighten any loose hinges and make sure they are bending evenly. Look the track over for debris, loose hardware, or signs of warping. Tighten any loose pads or screws you discover. If you cannot lift the door yourself the track is possibly warped.

Establish a simple maintenance routine. If you tried to list all the things a homeowner must do in a year you may find it’s overwhelming. Taking care of a home requires just a little organization. Use a calendar or set electronic reminders to clean and maintain your door regularly. Schedule seasonal spot-checks and maintenance on your regular to-do list. Your organization system doesn’t have to be fancy; it’s more important to find a system that works for you and stick with it.

Work with your vendor. Establish a relationship with your vendor and have peace of mind when you need service. If you see any damaged springs or problems outside the scope of regular maintenance, you need a professional garage door repair specialist. When you purchase your garage door, ask about warranty options. A good warranty will guard against any defects in the components of your door and a premium plan can relieve your future worries.When properly maintained, you will get the most out of your investment. Your family needs a safe and reliable entry to the garage. Curb appeal is another high priority for homeowners, and it is largely influenced by the condition of your garage door. Devote a little time and effort into a maintenance program and you will be rewarded.Let us help you establish a relationship with a vendor, contact us today and we will set you up!

New Garage Door Install

10 reasons you garage door wont work.

As garage door service professionals, we’ve pretty much dealt with every issue you can think of when it comes to repairing residential and commercial garage doors. Yet, every year we find a few more situations that even surprise us. Like the Mud Dauber nest growing on a photo eye sensor to the tennis ball that knocked the door entirely off the track. While there are times that you need to call for help, many problems simply require knowing what’s wrong to fix the problem yourself. To help you troubleshoot your garage door issues, here are the top 10 reasons your garage door won’t work.


1. Transmitter Batteries

 It may sound cliché, but people still forget or fail to realize that the transmitter requires power to work. And this can sometimes include the transmitter on the wall in your garage too. You should also realize that if the battery goes in one place, it may have run out in others at the same time because you probably installed them on the same day.


2. Your Photo Eye is out of Alignment

 On either side of your garage door are photo eyes. Between the two eyes is an invisible beam that when broken, prevents the door from closing. If your door won’t close, check to make sure these photo eyes are not misaligned or dirty. If they are, here’s a guide for cleaning and inspecting a garage door photo eye.


3. Track is out of Alignment

 If you’re garage door track is out of alignment, it can be a serious issue. The metal track that your door runs on needs to be aligned properly for the door to move. If you see gaps between the rollers and rail or bends in the rails themselves you have a problem. The weight for the door can compound these issues over time until it becomes dangerous to operate your door so call for help.


4. Garage Door Opens/Closes Randomly

 If you discover your door opening or closing at random times, even when you are not home, it can be a little disturbing. The first thing to check is your transmitters. Make sure they are not stuck under something that can inadvertently depress the control mechanism. For example, they could be under a pile of papers on your car seat or in the dog house. You may also want to test your transmitter’s frequency. It is possible that a neighbor has the same frequency and is opening your garage along with their own.


5. Garage Door Closes Part Way, Then Opens Again

 Garage doors are designed with a reversing mechanism that prevent them from crushing objects in their path. This can be triggered by objects on the ground blocking their path such as garbage cans or toys, but could be caused by a buildup of debris on the tracks that prevents the rollers from moving forward. This could include small items like coat hangers, mud or gum. (Testing Reversing Mechanism of Your Garage Door).


6. Door Won’t Go Up

 Garage doors can be very heavy and despite what most people think, it is not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting, but rather the springs of the door. Doors come with one or two torsion springs. If either spring is broken, the garage door opener may struggle to lift the weight of the door or fail to open the door at all. If the spring is broken, call a professional for service as these can be very dangerous to work with.


7. Door Goes Down All the Way, Then Opens Again

 If this happens, the most likely culprit are the open and close limit settings of your garage door opener. This range tells the garage door opener how far the door should move before it is fully closed. If your settings are too high, the door will hit the ground before the opener thinks it should and assume the door is hitting something in its path. It will then automatically reverse to prevent crushing it. Check your operator’s manual for how to set the open and close limits.


8. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs but Door Doesn’t Move

 Every garage door opener comes with a disconnect switch in case the power fails to allow you to open or close the door manually. This switch is usually attached to a rope or knob that can be accidentally unhooked. Close or open the door all the way and then reattached this hook secure. Then try opening or closing the door again with your transmitter.


9. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs for a Few Seconds then Turns Off but Door Doesn’t Move

 This normally happens when the door is closed and the motor is trying to lift the door and it won’t move. First check the springs (see #6 above) and if that isn’t the problem check the track for obstacles (see #5 above). If neither of these issues exists, check to make sure your garage door doesn’t have a built in lock that has been engaged directly. These are very common in older doors and can be easily engaged by accident.


10. The Garage Door Closes Very Quickly, Often With a Bang

 There are two possibilities here. The first is a broken tension spring that should be countering the weight of the door and the second is broken cables connecting the tension spring on some doors. In either case, you should have a garage door profession service your door as these can be dangerous components to work with.

Torsion Springs

A torsion spring counterbalance system consists of one or two tightly wound up springs on a steel shaft with cable drums at both ends. The entire apparatus mounts on the header wall above the garage door and has three supports: a center bearing plate with a steel or nylon bearing and two end bearing plates at both ends. The springs themselves consist of the steel wire with a stationary cone at one end and a winding cone at the other end. The stationary cone is attached to the center bearing plate. The winding cone consists of holes every 90 degrees for winding the springs and two set screws to secure the springs to the shaft. Steel counterbalance cables run from the roller brackets at the bottom corners of the door to a notch in the cable drums. When the door is raised, the springs unwind and the stored tension lifts the door by turning the shaft, thus turning the cable drums, wrapping the cables around the grooves on the cable drums. When the door is lowered, the cables unwrap from the drums and the springs are rewound to full tension.

Extension springs

An extension spring counterbalance system consists of a pair of stretched springs running parallel to the horizontal tracks. The springs lift the door through a system of pulleys and counterbalance cables running from the bottom corner brackets through the pulleys. When the door is raised, the springs contract, thus lifting the door as the tension is released.

New garage doors can work even during power outages

A popular accessory sold with new garage door openers is a battery back-up system that allows you to use your opener several times, even after the loss of power to your home. It’s a wonderful feature that prevents you from being trapped outside in a storm

Sensor Eyes

The Safety Reversing Sensors

The most common reason for the lights to flash on the garage door opener and the door not closing is that the safety reversing sensors are misaligned or obstructed; this is a safety feature of the garage door opener.
When properly connected and aligned, the sensor will detect an obstacle in the path of its electronic beam. If an obstruction breaks the light beam while the door is closing, the door will stop and reverse to full open position, and the opener lights will flash 10 times.
Your garage door opener has a Self-Diagnostic feature. The LED next to the learn button will flash a number of times, and then pause signifying the potential issue.
One (1) flash indicates the sensor wire is shorted. See How do I test or troubleshoot the safety sensor wires?
Two (2) flashes indicate an open, broken, disconnected sensor wire, or the safety sensors are NOT installed. Consult your manual for sensor installation instructions or see How do I test or troubleshoot the safety sensor wires?
Four (4) flashes indicate the sensors are slightly misaligned. See How do I align my safety reversing sensors?

NOTE: The garage door can be closed by pressing and holding the door control push bar until down travel is completed.

Interesting Fact 6

That's just a small sample. Here's how to get ALL characters and fonts from your computer without having to look at a chart and press Alt+ whatever: Press the Windows key and the R key at the same time. Then type "charmap" into the window that pops up. Then hit "ok". A window pops up for all the fonts for you to copy and paste.

Interesting Fact 5

The Mona Lisa doesn’t have eyebrows or eyelashes.