Homeowners have long been warned that torsion springs are extremely dangerous to work with and that replacing them must be left to a professional. But these claims are somewhat exaggerated. If you understand how they work, and you pay attention to what you're doing, you can replace them safely and surprisingly easily. Granted, they're a little spooky to work with at first (partly due to their reputation), but this is a good thing—you really don't want to forget that they're under tension. Thinking about every step — before you take it — is the key to staying safe.
Garage door springs come in two styles: torsion (see above), which mounts on the header above the door, and extension (Photo 1), which floats above the upper roller track. In the past, extension springs were safer to install but didn’t have containment cables running through the center of the spring. Without cable, these springs become dangerous, heavy whips when they break. They also tend to be noisier than torsion springs, and we recommend you use them only if you don’t have the 12 in. of headroom above the door that a torsion spring requires.
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Start your garage door spring replacement project by getting a rough measurement of your springs (length and diameter). Then measure the width and height of your door. Make sure the quote includes the trip charge, parts and labor. Then ask for a price based on 7x19 lift cables and double-life springs. Those items will give you more years of service and should only add $65 to the price.
9.8 Twist the garage door shaft to tighten the cable on the drum. While twisting, vise grip the shaft as shown to keep the cable tight on the drum. The top of the vise grip should be tight against the garage header. This will keep the cable snug on the first drum while you install the cable on the other drum and position it in place. It also keeps the shaft from turning and the cables peeling off when you wind the springs. That one grip can save many hours of walking back and forth and having to level and re-level the garage door after winding the torsion springs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=Z_eZc-kh40c
6.4 Test the fit of the bar in the cone before loosening a set screw. Insert one end of your winding bar into one of the holes of the winding cone. Pull down on the bar slightly to make sure the set screws are tight. Position your ruler between the bar and the garage door. Move the bottom of the bar from side to side and measure the play. It should be less than an inch and a half. If it is over 2" either get someone else to change your springs or have someone make some bars that will properly fit the cones.
What LCD said is more or less right. Those are the ranges you'd typically find you will have to pay, but it's important to remember that the rates vary across the country. One thing I always advice others to do is to get quotes from different contractors. It might not be the biggest job, but you'd be surprised how much difference there typically is in the quoted prices. If you check out the link I put in the resource, it'll take you to a site where you can get quotes from 4 different contractors at once. Under "Select service" you simply pick "Spring Replacement".
There are many steps to replacing torsion springs, but overall it's a simple, straightforward process. If you're inclined to attempt it, find a good online video tutorial (preferably done by a garage door pro) that walks you through the entire process, including how to buy the right size of springs. You can also buy new springs and any related parts online, along with the most important items that you need: the two solid-metal winding rods that you use to wind and unwind the torsion springs.
10.2 Tape your winding bars if you have not done so already, not only to assure that you are inserting the bars completely into the cones as you wind the torsion springs, but more importantly to assure that the bar does not slip out of the cone when you stretch the springs at the end. This has happened to me several times. Professionals always stretch torsion springs after winding them because the shaft floats horizontally between the flexible end bearing plates as the door operates. Although this may be as little as 1/4", the binding of the coils as the garage door closes oftentimes keeps the door from closing completely, especially when the torsion springs and bearings are dry.
If you have two torsion springs on your garage door, the good spring will most likely keep the cables on the drums when the other spring breaks. This makes it much easier to lift because the good spring will be pulling half the weight of the garage door. You can also use the garage door opener to help assist while someone lifts the door and acts as the broken spring. Use extreme caution when doing this to prevent damage to your garage door or injury to a person.
Garage door manufacturers typically produce garage doors fitted with torsion springs that provide a minimum of 10,000 to 15,000 cycles and are guaranteed for three to seven years. One cycle is a single opening and closing sequence. Most manufacturers offer a 30,000 cycle spring. However, it is important to remember that if the weight of the garage door is increased by adding glass, additional insulation, or even several coats of paint, the life of the torsion spring may be greatly reduced. Additionally, springs at highly humid environments, such as coastal regions tend to have a significantly shorter cycle life, due to the corrosive cracking.
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You may remember a time as a kid when you and your siblings would close the garage door and run underneath it as fast as possible to make it out before the door closed. Well, on any garage door installed after 1993, that’s no longer possible thanks to two tiny photo eyes on either side of the garage entrance. These photo eyes transmit an invisible beam between each other that detects if anything is in the garage door’s path when it closes. This safety measure is there to prevent automatic garage doors from closing on top of someone or something and causing serious injury or damage to property. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_eZc-kh40c&feature=share
Our technicians are specially trained to handle a variety of garage brands, styles, and configurations. After arriving at your home, a Sears technician will diagnose the problem and walk you through the options for fixing it. Next, the technician will make any necessary adjustments or replace broken parts to ensure the door can be operational once again. We always attempt to complete repairs the same day of service, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. Our representatives are standing by for your call and are happy discuss pricing options. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_eZc-kh40c&feature=youtu.be
9.12 It is now time to secure the torsion springs in the middle. For various reasons, many installers will offset the center bracket several inches from the center of the door. Offsetting the bracket makes it easier to work around the opener bracket without causing any problems in the operation of your garage door, but offsetting the bracket is not necessary. If you have a slotted center bracket, remove the vise grip and lube the shaft where it turns inside the bushing. Position the shaft so it is the same distance from the header as it is at each end. The shaft should be straight and parallel to the header.
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If your garage door goes up and down in a jerky motion, you might have one broken spring on a two spring system. Some garage door openers are strong enough to lift a door with only one good spring. The “herky jerky” motion is especially common with garage doors equipped with extension springs. It might be something as simple as lubricating your garage door pulleys, hinges, and rollers. When in doubt or if something doesn’t feel right about your door, call a service company to have it serviced.
If the door only goes up six inches and stops, or moves very slowly when using your remote, you could have a broken spring as well. Some customers will notice that the top section of their door is bent or that the door falls very quickly when lowering. Your door may be “crooked” or jerky when going up and down, and both of these signs indicate your torsion spring is in poor condition and very likely to break in the near future. Any time you hear a loud “popping” noise while operating, you should inspect your torsion spring immediately for signs of damage.
Squealing, screeching, or grinding noises from your garage door are usually indicative of a lack of lubricant or an accumulation of dirt or debris in the tracks. When removing debris, do not use harsh chemicals to clean the tracks. Once the track is clean, coat it with lubricant designed especially for garage doors, if possible. If you do not have access to this special type of lubricant, you can use WD-40 on the tracks and hardware. http://youtube.com/embed/Z_eZc-kh40c