Your garage door requires springs to operate. If you should ever need to make a repair, it will help you to know just what kind of spring your garage door utilizes. In general, your garage will utilize either extension springs or torsion springs. Here's how you can tell the difference between the two.
Understanding Extension Springs
You've probably seen extension springs since they're the most common type of garage spring. Overhead garage doors make heavy use of these types of springs. They sit on either side of the garage door, above the horizontal track.
They look like most other coiled springs, such as the ones used in mattresses or trampolines. At one end of the spring, there's a hook. While the door is closed, the springs stretch. When you open your garage door, the spring seeks to go back to its coiled position.
Because of the great tension these springs are under, they can become an extreme danger if they break. They can pop and shoot out with enough force to damage property and even cause injury or death.
Understanding Torsion (Torque) Springs
Torsion springs typically hang over the garage. Unlike extension springs, the torsion spring sits in a coil parallel to the ground. They do not work by stretching out. Instead, they twist around a center shaft as the garage door opens and closes. Those small coiled springs on clothespins and mousetraps are examples of torsion springs on a smaller scale.
The Important Differences
Because these two types of springs operate in completely different manners, they require different kinds of considerations. For example, extension springs do not operate independently. They require safety cables, a pulley system, special clips, and other pieces of hardware. That means there are multiple possible points of failure outside of the springs themselves.
Torsion springs do not require so many extras as they're usually a single unit. Because of that, they tend to last longer and operate far more smoothly. However, torsion springs are also more complicated and therefore harder to repair and more expensive in general.
It's also possible to switch between the two. You can change an extension spring door into a torsion spring door and vice versa.
Take Care of Your Springs
No matter what kind of spring you use, it's important that you take care of them. These springs can only last for so long. They will need replacing at some point or another.
You can extend the cycle life of any spring by keeping them lightly lubricated. This will keep them moving smoothly, and keep rust at bay. This is only a part of your full garage door maintenance efforts.
If you want to replace your springs, or if you have any doubts about them, you should call a professional like Door Doctor Inc. It's possible to swap springs yourself, but it's a dangerous and involved process. If you've never done it before, you should have a professional show you how.