Depending on the material used, a typical garage door can weigh up to four hundred pounds. What makes them easy to open and close by hand or with a remote are the garage door springs, and the more you learn about the job and stress that they are constantly under in order to wok properly, the more you will realize how important it is to have your garage’s springs maintained and replace on an regular basis. They should see maintenance at least at the beginning of fall and Summer.
How many times during the week do you open the garage? You could go a lifetime and not realize that a garage can be very dangerous. When you open the garage, the springs that hold the door down releases it’s tension and is at it’s most relaxed state. When they are closed the door’s springs are at their most tensed state and in this state the potential energy that they hold can cause serious injury if that energy was to suddenly be release. And the sudden release usually happens when the springs break or are being worked on when the door are closed.
If it has been more than two years since you have had your garage door springs replaced, than it time to do so right away. Old spring can break and release flying pieces of metal at a speed that can kill if someone is in the closed garage at the time.
Adjusting a garage door simply means making the springs either tighter or more loose. A correctly adjusted door will stay a few feet off of closing and will not either rise or fall, But even though this is a simple concept, it’s not always easy to accomplish and can be dangerous. If the adjustment to too little the garage door can slam down and too tightly it will suddenly fly open and in both cases this can be fatal.
Of all the the do-it-yourself project that you like to perform around the house, unless you have done it a few times before it may be a good idea to get a professional when it comes to adjusting and replacing garage door springs. this is because a mistake here can be fatal and many garage door companies guarantee their work along with the warranties on the parts.
Modern roll up garage door styles pose little risk in the event of spring breakage or shattering. These kinds of springs are installed over a shaft that helps roll the door up to the open position. The shaft also acts as a retainer so that broken springs are not allowed to go ballistic.
On the other hand, the flip up style of garage doors can be a different situation. Old springs are subject to sending ballistic chinks of steel flying around your garage in the event of a failure.
These old un-safe springs can be identified quite easily, because newer springs have a core rod that is retained inside the coil of the spring. This is a built-in safety feature, because the core rod will retain any chunks of spring in the event of breakage. Look at new springs in your local hardware store. You can easily see the core retaining rod running the length of the spring.
If your old flip up garage door springs do not include any such rod, it’s best to replace them. But replacing springs can cost upwards of $100 depending on locality. There is a simple way to make perfectly good old springs as safe as new ones with some 1/8 inch cable.
Close the door to extend the springs to their maximum position, and measure the length. Double it and add two feet. For example, a spring, when extended measures 4.5 feet. Doubled is 9 feet, and add 2 feet for a total of 11 feet. You will need 11 feet of cable for each spring. Add one cable clamp per spring to your shopping list.
Thread the cable up the center of the spring, and back down outside the spring, forming a loop. Then use the cable clamps to clamp the ends together. Simple enough, you’ve just made a retainer to keep the spring safe should the spring shatter.
If your door uses two springs on each side, add another foot (12 feet) to the length, and run the cable up the center of one spring, and down the center of the other – there, you just cut the cost of this project in half, and your garage is much safer.
Your best bet is to just replace the springs with modern self-retaining ones, but this can be difficult and cost upwards of $100. Adjustments to the door might also be necessary, since the new springs will have different tension characteristics. Your garage door opener might not perform as well without adjustment too. You can always call a professional to replace springs and make adjustments, but that adds even more to the cost.