Torsion vs. Extension Springs

When a garage door spring breaks, the loud sound that accompanies it can be frightening. After that, you’ll soon realize that your garage door has lost its functioning. Now you have to think about repairing your overhead door springs, which might leave you with more questions than answers. The good news is that it’s repairable and that there is a garage door repair specialist near you who is ready to give you the help you need. 

Two types of garage door springs exist for overhead rolling doors — torsion springs and extension springs. Here is the information you’re looking for on how they work, what their differences are and how to identify which kind you have. You can then give this information to your service technician before they arrive to ensure a smooth and fast repair.

What Are Garage Door Springs and What Do They Do for Garage Doors?

Garage door springs are heavy-duty springs that counterbalance the weight of your garage door. Your garage door is heavy, but these springs use their potential energy to help lift and lower your garage door. Even manual garage doors use springs to make the garage door feel much lighter than it actually is. They are part of the door, not part of the garage door opener.

If your garage door spring breaks, your opener will be unable to move your garage door in either direction. Springs are one of the most essential parts of every garage door system, so you want to be sure to call a professional to make a repair right away. In the meantime, you can examine the situation to determine which kind of garage door spring your system uses. 

What Is the Difference Between Torsion Springs and Extension Springs?

The first step to knowing what kind of spring you need is to know the difference between the two most common types of garage door springs, which are torsion and extension.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs use the power of torque to lift your garage door. As your garage door goes up, the spring rotates and applies force using its tight coil. Torsion springs come in various sizes and numbers, and these factors correspond directly with the size and weight of your garage door. 

Torsion springs require fewer additional parts to install than extension springs. This means you’ll enjoy less maintenance to keep them in good shape. The nature of torsion springs also allows them to open and close your garage door at a steady, smooth rate, giving you a better experience every time you use it. 

Extension Springs

Extension springs are more like the traditional springs you may be familiar with. These springs expand and contract with the movement of the garage door. Most extension spring garage doors have one on each side, which work together to bear the weight of the garage door by pulling the garage door up when you open it.

The length of your extension springs corresponds with the height of your garage door, so make sure you’re getting the right size. You should also know that professional installation of these springs also means installing additional parts like safety cables, these keep the springs contained if they break again in the future.  

How to Identify Which Kind of Spring You Have

Now that you know more about the two types of garage door springs, it’s time to identify which kind you need to repair your garage door. Here are three ways to determine this:

  • Look in the right locations: Your first step is to look in the right places to see which kind of spring your garage door uses. Springs that are directly above the garage door are torsion springs, and springs located to the left and right of the garage door along the roller tracks are extension springs. 
  • Check the end of the springs: Extension springs end in metal loops, while torsion springs end in special metal pieces called cones. 
  • Look for certain additional hardware: Extension springs connect to the pulley system via the metal loops on their ends. Torsion springs connect to a metal tube above the garage door that connects on either side to the drum and cable. 

Should You Have One or Two Garage Door Springs?

Many people wonder if they should have more than one garage door spring. The answer depends on the type of garage door you have. Remember that extension springs always come in pairs, with one on each side along the roller tracks. Torsion spring garage doors can use any number of springs. 

The specifications of your torsion spring garage door will determine how many springs you need. Light, single-car garage doors may only need a single torsion spring. Two-car garage doors will often need two torsion springs to get the job done. But the type of material and hardware used in your garage door will also affect how many you need. Heavy single-car garage doors may need two torsion springs, while heavy two-car garage doors may need four torsion springs to lift all that weight. 

Remember, a garage door can only work with springs. The door will be far too heavy for your opener to lift without them. So make sure you have two functioning extension springs or at least one functioning torsion spring for your garage door system. Talk to your garage door professional to know how many torsion springs you need for your current system. 

Which Garage Door Springs Are Best?

When it comes to torsion versus extension springs for garage doors, torsion springs are the better option. The first reason is that torsion springs are safer. Due to the nature of extension springs, they can catapult into the air upon breaking. This can lead to damages to whatever is in your garage or injuries. When a torsion spring breaks, it will make a loud sound. But since it sits around a torsion tube, it stays put at the moment of breakage. 

Another reason to choose torsion springs is their longer lifespan. With proper maintenance, a torsion spring system can last far longer than an extension spring system. This is because torsion springs offer superior balance to your garage door, which makes things much easier on your opener and ensures even pressure distributes across your torsion spring. 

Contact Ingstrup Garage Doors and Construction to Repair Your Garage Door

If you’ve recently experienced a broken spring on your garage door, Ingstrup Garage Doors is here to help. Our service areas include Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we always welcome new requests for service. Whether you need a garage door spring repair or a new garage door install, we pride ourselves on offering all the services you depend on. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can meet your needs!


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