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Garage Door Springs

Quick, how much does your garage door weight? Probably more than you think.

If you’ve lifted your door manually, you were getting help from the tension spring above the door. This spring is what makes 200 pounds feel like 25—and your electric garage door opener needs all the help it can get.

Opener Woes

Most garage door openers are packing a 1/2 horsepower motor that slowly lifts a heavy door over and over—and over (probably tens of thousands of times over its lifetime, believe it or not). That simply wouldn’t be possible without the aid of a spring. The spring is so important, that using a spring rated for just 10 pounds less than your door’s weight can result in immediate, permanent damage to the opener motor.

But investing in a quality spring up front isn’t enough, because springs stretch over time. After a few thousand reps, garage door springs need to be adjusted. Luckily, it’s an easy test you can do at home.

The Process

First, make sure that the garage door is in the down position. Then, unplug the opener motor from the socket and pull the dangling release rope down and away from the door.

At this point, the door has been disconnected from the opener, but it’s still connected to the spring. Lift the door to the middle point and slowly lessen your grip. If the door immediately falls back down, your garage door needs to be re-balanced. If it stays in the same position, you’re all set.

This test should be done once a year to ensure the health of the torsion spring, as well as the opener. As is true with most maintenance, checking-in regularly is less expensive than all-out replacement, but it’s about more than money. Garage doors are the heaviest moving object of most homes, and you drive under them every day. If a motor gives out or a spring breaks suddenly, your safety could potentially be at risk.

Charles Bellefontaine CMI, CPI, ACI

Charles is a home inspector and a home inspector trainer. He started as a professional home inspector in 1993. He works for Chicagoland Home Inspectors, Inc. and Bellman Group, Inc. He has earned the title of Certified Master Inspector (CMI) from the Master Inspector Certification Board. He earned the title Certified Property Inspector (CPI) from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. He earned the title ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI) from the American Society of Home Inspectors. He served as a Director and Officer of the American Society of Home Inspectors. He hs a tremendous passion about the home inspection profession and prides himself on helping his clients with the biggest purchase of their lives.

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