Garage door torsion springs are used to assist the lifting and lowering of a garage door. Depending on the size and weight of the door itself, there may be either one or two of these springs, mounted on brackets above the door. For lighter doors, only one is needed. For heavier doors, like solid steel, or wood doors, two may be attached.
Garage door springs fall into two different categories, the extension spring, and the torsion spring. Manufacturers offer two different kinds of extension springs, the one piece spring, as well as the sectional.
For garage door torsion springs there are five styles, Steel rolling springs, Mini warehouse, Standard, EZ Set, and Torquemaster. A metal torsion shaft is used to secure the springs above the door itself. The shaft may house the spring itself, or even pass through the center of the spring, depending on which system is being used. If they pass through the spring, the spring itself can either be mounted on the end, or somewhere in the middle.
There are three major factors that determine a spring's life cycle, and lift. These are inside diameter of the wire, the wire size, and the length of the spring coil. The torque of the spring determines how much it can lift, and how many times the door opens and closes determines the life cycle of the spring.
Standard garage door torsion springs are the most common types of springs used in the industry today. Residential doors have either one or two springs, depending on the size and weight of the door. With single spring doors, the spring itself can either be offset, on one side of the shaft or another, or mounted on a bracket in the middle above the door.
Having two mounted torsion springs is a better idea, even for lighter doors, because it is safer to have an extra spring in case one breaks, then the door isn't going to come crashing down on your head.
Larger commercial and industrial garage doors can have as many as four springs. These springs can be set up in mixed, Linear, duplex, and triplex settings, depending on the door and the weight.
The linear system is mostly used for garage doors that are wider, because all the garage door torsion springs can be lined up on a single shaft. These are much cheaper to install because there is less hardware needed.
When it comes to duplex and triplex systems, at first glance these appear to have just one extremely large spring, usually mounted on each half of the door. In truth, there can be one or even two smaller torsions springs located inside the outer spring.
Duplex and triplex systems are used because of extremely large or heavy doors, since the inner springs provide much more overall torque without needing extra space.
Mixed garage door torsion springs use a combination of both linear and the multiple spring systems together. One of the biggest problems with the duplex/triplex systems is that it is sometimes hard to know if one or more of the inner springs are broken.
Many residential garage doors today utilize either EZ Set torsion springs, or the Wayne Dalton Torquemaster Torsion springs. Both of these are designed to remove much of the danger associated with installing standard torsion springs and are adjusted using an electric drill.
While as the name would suggest, the EZ Set spring is not the same as standard garage door torsion springs, because the mounting hardware is very different. These are actually wound into the ends of the shaft, and the winder mechanism is either marked with an L or R depending on which side of the door it's mounted on.
Even though some larger or double garage doors have two sets of springs, in many cases where the doors are lighter, one spring is mounted on the left side. Some doors that are wider may use two shafts that are connected by a coupler, which can make it easier to replace worn or broken springs.
The TorqueMaster Torsion spring has two or more springs that nest inside the shaft, which is not spherical, a quarter of it extends outward, forming an edge. The spring is fastened to a stationary cone, which matches the shaft's shape.
On the other side of the spring is a winding cone, which passes the end of the shaft through a drum. This cone has a winder that allows tension to be adjusted with an electric drill.
There are also other kinds of garage door torsion springs available, depending on the type of garage door being used, and it's application. If you are not sure about which type of torsion spring you may have, you can easily look up this information online.
It is important to know what kind of spring system you have though, because these systems don't last forever and need to be replaced once in awhile. If you have an older garage door, or bought your property a while ago, you may be looking at having to replace the torsion spring soon.
You can order the parts you need from online retailers, and find DIY websites to replace torsion spring systems yourself, but you really need to know your limitations. These springs are under high pressure, if you don't have the right tools, or know what you're doing, you could get seriously injured.
Should you decide to replace the garage door torsion springs on your own, make sure you find a DIY site that not only walks you through the process step-by-step, but also gives you a list of the right tools you will need to do the job. They should also include as many safety precautions as possible. You will find my recommendations at Garage door torsion spring replacement.