Broken Garage Door Spring - What To Do?
It's early in the morning and you're fast asleep. Suddenly, a loud noise wakes you. Climbing out of bed you search for the source, but finding nothing wrong you return to your warm bed. It isn't until later that morning when, entering your garage to leave the house, you see it. The broken spring on your garage door.
Broken Garage Door Spring? - You're Not Alone
So your garage door spring is broken and you need to get to get to work or get the kids to school. Of all the luck, you think, this had to happen to you today. You may feel like your the first person this has happened to, but garage door springs are one of the most called on repairs in the garage door industry.
Garage door springs support the entire weight of the garage door. The springs are wound or stretched under pressure, tightening and loosening as you close and open the garage door. It's the garage door springs, not the garage door opener, that supports and lifts the 300 plus pounds of weight of the garage door.
Like anything else under pressure, eventually your springs will break. Don't worry, you aren't the first person this has happened too. Garage door springs break all the time, and especially now that it's getting colder out
So what do you now? Read on!
Repairing Your Garage Door Springs - The 4 Step Processes
Step 1 - Get your car out of the garage
First, you probably need to get your car out of the garage. Pull the red emergency release cord located above the door to enable you to manually lift the door. Be careful, the garage door will be heavier since the spring is what renders the door weight neutral. If it's too difficult to open yourself have a neighbor or a family member help you. If you accidentally drop the door while lifting it DO NOT try to stop the door with your foot. A 300 pound wall dropping on your foot is going to ruin your day.
Step 2 - Identify Your Spring
Next identify which type of garage door spring you have: Extension or Torsion.
A torsion spring runs across a bar at the top of the inside of the garage door. The spring is wound and under immense tension. It's the tension of the torsion spring that lifts the weight of the garage door.
Extension springs are on either side of the door, perpendicular to it. These springs act like big, steel rubber bands, stretching as the garage door is lowered. The natural tendency of the stretched spring is to lift the door.
Torsion and extension springs exert a force equal to the weight of your garage door. This counter balances the 200 to 300 pound garage door rendering it weight neutral so it can be easily opened. If your garage door springs break you can still manually open the door, you just need to exert that much more force to open it.
Step 3 - Buy New Springs
Now that you know what type of spring you have, you need to purchase new ones.
You'll want to replace all of your garage door springs at the same time. Why? Typically garage door springs are installed at the same time. Having undergone similar aging and weathering, one broken garage door spring is a sign that the second one will soon break too. Of course you could wait until the other spring breaks but then you'll need to go through the hassle of repairing a broken spring again. Additionally, having a new and old spring on your garage door throws off the balance of the door. You'll quickly burn out the motor on your garage door opener and have more problems.
Where do you buy garage door springs? You can find them at your local hardware store such as Home Depot or Ace Hardware, or online. Prices will vary from a few dollars to over $150, depending on the type of spring, size, quality, coating, and cycles. The last three are important to consider as they will determine how soon your going to need to replace your springs again.
Step 4 - Installation
Installing your new garage door springs is not only a lengthy and complicated process, but potentially dangerous. Remember, garage door springs are wound and under tension. You need to make sure you have the right tools before you even begin the job. A few of them you'll need are:
- two 10 inch vise grips
- adjustable wrench
- two 1/2" x 18" winding bars
- socket wrench and sockets
- good lighting
- safety glasses
Now the process of actually going about changing the springs is, as you'd imagine, very detailed. And as it's a serious job I don't want to summarize it here into bullet points. In a future post, I will go into explaining the actual steps, but for now a quick Google search will pull up some great step by step tutorials. Be warned, this job is very serious and requires a good deal of time and patience. These springs are wound under pressure, you don't want to rush through or do it haphazardly.
This is too complicated. I don't have time for this!
Most people don't have the time or inclination to replace their broken garage door spring themselves. I myself have way too much to do elsewhere in my house than fiddle with something that could potentially maim me. That's why I called a chicago garage door repair company to come handle the job.
If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, please be careful and do full research before starting. An extra hour of reading will more than make up for the frustration and pain if you make a mistake. Good luck!