Torsion springs are considered better than extension springs and for a few very sensible reasons. But before we go any deeper, allow a brief on garage door springs.
Most garage doors utilize one torsion spring or a pair of extension springs in order to move. That’s when it comes to standard residential garage doors. Because some oversized and very heavy garage doors may work with two torsion springs or a combination of springs. Why should you be interested in all that? Because such facts underline the great importance of springs to the garage door. Just consider this: when the springs are broken, the garage door will be too heavy to manually open. The role of springs is to balance the garage door and make it go up and also come down without force. They do it in a different way since the two types of springs are not the same, but they still do the same job. And that’s exactly the point which interest you the most. If they do the same job, why torsion springs are considered superior to extension springs?
To understand the superiority of torsion springs over extension springs, consider how they are installed and work.
How torsion springs work
The torsion spring consists of several parts (winding and stationary cones, brackets, etc.) and is usually wrapped around a shaft (tube). Some springs are placed inside the shaft. Torsion springs use torque to balance & move the garage door. Thanks to their stationary and winding cones and the tension stored during the torsion spring adjustment, they rotate the shaft which in turn rotate the cable drums which pull the cables to wrap up and move the garage door upwards.
How extension springs work
Due to their position on the sides of the garage door, the extension springs need to counterbalance the door’s weight. When force is applied through the garage door opener or manually, the extension springs retract and extend to open and close the door. They are also connected to the garage door cables but also utilize a pulley system that runs along the tracks to do their job.
The advantages of torsion springs
- The shaft of the torsion springs makes them safer. It’s no wonder that people who own garage doors with extension springs often add safety cables. These are special cables that lace through the counterbalance springs to keep them from flying and causing accidents or property damage in the event of breakage. So, torsion springs are much safer, especially the ones inside the shaft. When they break, they don’t fly. The downside of these springs is that you cannot see them and thus cannot notice if they broke or not.
- Another benefit of the torsion springs is that they are made to last for a longer time. Whereas extension springs usually run for 10,000 cycles (garage door opening/closing), the torsion springs usually run for 20,000 cycles and some models for 30,000 cycles. Torsion springs are more expensive than extension springs – that’s another disadvantage. But their longevity compensates for their higher price.
- Extension springs come in pairs – one on each side of the garage door. And they are tensed to provide equal force on each side so that the garage door will be balanced. But if there’s anything wrong with one of the springs, the force will be uneven. No wonder why the techs replace both the extension springs for garage doors. The goal is to ensure equal balance on both sides. Due to the mechanics of torsion springs, the balance and the movement of the garage door is better controlled. And so, you don’t deal with uneven force but enjoy a better garage door operation.