Good customer service is important for any product, but it is especially important for the class of garage door openers we considered. We looked primarily at models designed to be installed by a homeowner, not a professional. Even if you consider yourself to be pretty handy, you are sure to have questions at some point along the way. As such, we looked for companies that respond to all inquiries as well as for resources, such as a downloadable manual, to help with installation.
When ordering springs, be aware that a number of different sizes of springs will make proper replacements, not just the specific size being replaced. The wire size, winding diameter, and length can be traded off to make springs of varied geometry but equivalent torque characteristics. This will also affect the expected lifetime (in cycles) for the spring(s). Since the critical specification for a replacement is the weight it is designed to bear, not the sizes per se, there are likely several stock sizes that replace a given old spring. The spring distributor's inventory may happen to offer only a different size with an equivalent weight-bearing specification. One has to judge whether to trust the advice of the seller in such situations. The seller should have the data to know what substitutions are proper.
When you install a new garage door, replace all the hardware as well. If your automatic opener doesn’t have an automatic reversing system that includes photoelectric eyes, replace it. Doors with openers also require two extra pieces of hardware that you’ll see in Photo 4: a support strut (usually included in the door kit) and an opener bracket (not included). For doors with torsion springs located over the door, spend the $50 or so to have a garage door professional release the tension.
I make no recommendations of, and have no connection to, any of the following suppliers. These are just those whom I have learned about from my Web searches, from correspondence with those sending email about their experiences, or directly from the suppliers. I have removed several contacts that were generating complaints to me from dissatisfied customers. I have added this list to this page due to all the email queries I was receiving daily asking where to obtain parts. If you are a supplier and would like to be added to the list, see my email address at the end of this page.
Keep in mind that when the springs are released there is nothing to help with weight replacement. Garage doors weigh 150 pounds or more and if the door were not locked in place, there would need to be some way of holding it up until it can be lower manually. If no one is available to help, a clamp can be put on the track at the end of the door (Image 1). When ready, release the clamp and take the weight of the door.
Horsepower: The horsepower measurement, often shortened to HP, describes the power the garage door opener motor has. A motor with a greater horsepower measurement will open and close the door more quickly, while also being able to handle larger and heavier doors. Motors between 1/2 HP and 1 HP are the most common for residential garages, FeldCo says.
If you've researched this subject at all, you will no doubt have heard that you shouldn't be attempting torsion spring replacement as a do-it-yourselfer. That is generally good advice, so if you have any doubts about your abilities to do risky physical work on your own, hire the job out like everyone else. I found I was capable of doing this work with acceptable risk, because I intelligently understood the techniques, paid careful attention to methods and safety, knew how to use common tools in good condition, properly improvised the special tools I didn't have, and diligently attended to correctly performing a few moments of hazardous manipulation. I learned to do it purely on my own based mostly on bits of advice reluctantly given in Internet forums such as the Usenet newsgroup alt.home.repair. When I first wrote this page in 2002, there was no other do-it-yourself information available on the Web, and it was not until 2005 that reliable information disclosing the techniques started to appear elsewhere (see links below).
The history of the garage door could date back to 450 BC when chariots were stored in gatehouses, but in the U.S. it arose around the start of the 20th century. As early as 1902, American manufacturers—including Cornell Iron Works—published catalogs featuring a "float over door." Evidence of an upward-lifting garage door can be found in a catalog in 1906.
Garage door frames and mouldings will freshen up the appearance of your garage and garage door. We offer frames in a broad assortment of finishes and widths, so you can find the perfect fit for your garage. Update or repair the hardware on your garage door with our wide selection of our garage door parts and accessories. Some of the accessories we offer include cables, hinges, reinforcement brackets, and locking door handles.
Cost was $88 for 2 pairs of springs, plus $21 shipping. (I had to order 2 pairs to meet the $50 minimum order.) They came with new cones inserted as shown at that price, so I didn't bother trying to remove and reuse the old cones to save a few dollars. The cones are quite difficult to remove from old springs and to insert in new ones, and the spring supplier will have the right tooling to do that easily. That was the best price I could find on the Web at the time, and didn't seem out of line with what parts like this might cost at at the building supply (if they only sold them). Contractors buy these much cheaper in quantities; they're just an ordinary high-carbon steel wire turned on a winding machine. I also found Web sites asking a lot more money, obviously trying to cash in on search-engine traffic from do-it-yourselfers. Others report that some local dealers sell springs at retail, but at a high price that eliminates any economy versus having them installed.
We specialize in all varieties of garage door repair work. We have the tools and knowledge to get the job done safely. It can be somewhat dangerous to take on a garage door repair on your own, and most garage door companies will advise against attempting a DIY fix. There are some hazards to watch out for when working around these heavy and high tension doors. We recommend you give the experts at Girard's a call to address the issue in a safe and timely manner.
Resetting the drums, if needed: If the drums were incorrectly set in their old positions, one must reset both drums in new positions on the shaft. This is complicated by the presence of old dimples in the torsion shaft from previous setting(s), which must be avoided lest they improperly influence the new setting of the drums. To begin this process of resetting the drums, the door must first be lowered and resting level on the floor, the spring(s) must be in the unwound condition with their set-screws loosened, and the lift cables wrapped around the drums. If for some reason the door does not rest level on the floor, such as the floor being uneven, then insert temporary shims between the door bottom and the floor to bring the door up to level. Loosen the set-screws on the drums, and turn the torsion shaft to avoid the old dimples from the set-screws in the old drum position. Tighten the set-screw on the left drum (that is, on your left as you face the door from in the garage), creating a new dimple, and apply tension to its cable with the locking-pliers technique, enough tension to keep the cable taut but not enough to start to move the door up. Attach and wind the cable on the opposite (right) drum by hand until the cable is similarly taut, and set the screw, remembering that tightening the screw will tend to add a bit of extra tension to the cable. Both drums should now be fixed on the torsion shaft, with the cables about equally taut (listen to the sound when you pluck them like a guitar string) and the door still level on the ground. Setting the left drum first, and the right drum second, will allow you to take up any slack in the cable introduced by the left drum rotating slightly with respect to the torsion shaft as you tighten the set screws. This alignment and balance of the cables, drums, and door is critical to smooth operation and proper closing. If you have a single-spring assembly, the distance along the torsion tube from the spring cone to one drum is longer than to the other drum, which allows a bit more twist to one side than the other, and you may have to compensate with the setting of the drums.