One of the things you should fear in this life is your garage door springs. And it’s not bad to be afraid. You take precautions. And you don’t mess with springs. A large percentage of accidents related to garage doors is associated with springs. People try to replace them. Kids try to climb on extension springs. You choose the wrong springs. You neglect to replace them. You name it. Springs won’t only hurt you if they break but they will also cause an open overhead garage door to collapse. And that’s why you should never stand under the door. What we established so far is that springs are dangerous. But are they both types dangerous? And why?
What makes torsion springs dangerous?
What’s unique about garage door torsion springs is that they have a shaft running through them – some springs have the shaft running around them. Whether a door utilizes one or two torsion springs, the shaft will still go through both springs since they are attached to the same center bracket.
Since the job of all spring types is to balance the door and then lift it, torsion springs are wound with tension to create and apply torque to the shaft which in turn transfers it to the cables through the cable drums. What interests us here is the torque in a wound spring. If it’s suddenly released, the spring will become dangerous. Since many parts are connected to the spring system (cables, tracks, brackets etc.), any garage door repair can lead to accidents even if it’s not related straight to the spring.
What makes extension springs dangerous?
Those of you who know a thing or two about garage doors are probably aware that spring power must be equivalent to the door’s weight. How else will springs be able to lift the door? Since extension springs come in pairs of two – one in each side of the door, their power is split among them. So if the door weighs 400 pounds, each spring will have force equal to 200 pounds. All it takes to understand how dangerous extension springs are is to take into account their strength.
The special characteristic of extension springs for garage doors is that they contract and extend (as their name implies) to open and close the door. Now imagine the stress springs are under when they keep the door shut. They are totally stretched otherwise the door will be lifted. Now imagine this stress released! It will only take one broken spring to damage property and hurt anyone standing nearby.
What’s the verdict?
So which spring is more dangerous? They both are. But extension springs can become even more dangerous because they are missing the shaft which keeps torsion springs in place.
If you want to keep the extension springs, at least install safety cables. They look like your regular garage door cables but they lace through the extension springs to keep them from flying if they snap.
Another solution many people follow is to change the extension springs and install a torsion spring. But be aware! Garage door spring replacement and installation involve many risks and must be done by a trained tech.