An extension spring counterbalance system consists of a pair of stretched springs running parallel to the horizontal tracks. The springs lift the door through a system of pulleys and counterbalance cables running from the bottom corner brackets through the pulleys. When the door is raised, the springs contract, thus lifting the door as the tension is released. Typically these springs are made of 11 gauge galvanized steel, and the lengths of these springs are based on the height of the garage door in question. Their lifting weight capacity can best be identified by the color that is painted on the ends of the springs.
The deluxe-model upsell trick: Don't you want the best? Don't you want to protect your family? Galvanized springs may be offered to you at extra expense as "longer lasting". Although bare springs (also called "oil tempered") can develop a light film of rust, the eventual failure is due to fatigue and not corrosion. The use of coated springs (whether galvanized, painted, powder-coated, or surface-converted) is mostly about appearance: the customer likes his new door to look shiny, and the customer doesn't like repair parts that show superficial rust from storage.
An enantiomorphic (mirrored) pair of springs, such as my standard door uses, will consist of one left-hand and one right-hand spring. Note that this "right" and "left" has nothing necessarily to do with whether the spring is mounted on the left or right of the center bearing plate. Indeed, with my standard door, if you stand inside the garage, facing out, then the spring to the left is a right-hand-wound spring, and the spring to the right is a left-hand-wound spring. The photos above and below of the broken spring show that it is a right-hand-wound spring.
Since 1975, Kitsap Garage door has provided Kitsap Penninsula with reliable, comprehensive and responsive residential and commercial garage door repair, maintenance and installation services. At Kitsap Garage Door, our primary focus is offering Bremerton, Shelton and Kitsap, WA, home and business owners with the highest quality products and services, as well as exceptional customer experiences marked with free service estimates, workmanship warranties, reliable support and emergency services.
Right-hand versus left-hand winding: Springs are chiral, that is, wound or "laid" in either a left- or right-hand orientation. This is a critical property of their design and specification; you cannot substitute a left for a right or vice versa. If you were to grasp the spring in your hand, and if your right hand orients the tips of your fingers like the ends of the coiled wire when your thumb points "out" of the core of the spring, then you have a right-hand spring; likewise left (which end you grasp does not matter). (This also happens to match the "right hand rule" of magnetic polarity, if you happen to be knowledgeable in such esoteric subjects.) Another way to identify the winding is to examine the spring vertically in front of you; if the coils facing you rise going to the right, it is right-hand (thus you can remember, "rise to the right is right-hand"), and likewise left indicates left-hand. Another way is to view the coil axially; a right-hand spring winds in a clockwise direction as it recedes away, and a left-hand spring counter-clockwise. Yet another way, not so easy to remember, is to hold the spring vertically and compare the coil shape to the letter "Z" (indicates right-hand lay) or the letter "S" (indicates left-hand lay).
One might stack lumber or arrange some other low platform for a steady footing, instead of the ladder. The aluminum ladder shown here is the splendid 16-foot Krause Multimatic, which carries a Type 1A Industrial rating (300 pound working load); I highly recommend it. However, product liability apparently forced this company into bankruptcy in September 2000 and the company ceased operations in June 2001; see http://www.krauseladders.com (this Web site went dead sometime in mid-2002). The world is a dangerous place.
By watching the chalk mark while winding, you can count the number of turns applied, and confirm the number later. My standard-size door (7 foot height) with 4-inch drums has a nominal wind of 7-1/4 or 7-1/2 turns, which leaves 1/4 or 1/2 turn at the top-of-travel to keep the lift cables under tension. After 7 turns on the first spring, I clamped down the set-screws, weighed the door again, and found a lift of about 100 pounds in reduced weight. As expected, this wasn't quite half of the full 238 pounds, nor would it leave any torsion at the top-of-travel, so I added an 8th turn. The door now weighed 122 pounds on one spring, which was ideal. After winding the other spring, the door lifted easily, with only a few pounds apparent weight. This confirmed that the spring choice was properly matched to the door design. I engaged the electric opener trolley, and adjusted the opener forces down to a safer level suitable for the new, improved balance. The door was now ready for return to service.
If you are replacing an old garage door, the first step is to measure your garage opening to ensure you are choosing a door with the correct dimensions. Even if you feel confident that your door is a standard size, measuring first can help ensure that buying your door is an enjoyable and smooth process. View our installation guide to get the needed measurements for your door. If you find that you have an odd-sized garage door, use our QuickDraw tool to see how a specific model will look in your desired size. If you have a unique vision for your home's curb appeal, Clopay can also design custom garage doors to meet your specifications.
Winding "up" starts out easy. It finishes at the proper number of turns, by which time you are pushing against the maximum torque. Count the turns of spring winding from when the springs are slack. To be sure you're winding the right direction, all you have to remember is that proper winding makes the spring smaller in diameter and longer in length as it twists "in". On the standard door (most common), this means you push the winding bars up to wind up the spring, which is an easily remembered rule. This is very apparent and should be verified during the first few easy turns. You can also think about the correct winding direction in mechanical terms, namely which way the reaction of the spring will torque the shaft and drums, which in turn will lift the cable. This should all make perfect sense before you attempt the manipulations.
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