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).

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The lucky-for-you-I-found-another-problem trick: Another trick is to suggest your automatic opener was damaged (or "compromised") by the additional load or shock presented by the failure of the spring(s). The plastic worm gear used in the most common openers (see above) wears normally over the years and tends to leave a lot of debris inside the opener housing. Removing the opener cover reveals a lot of plastic shavings that may be cited as "evidence" you need a new opener, when the gears are actually still serviceable. Nevertheless, you may have indeed worn out the gear if you repeatedly cycled the door with the opener despite having broken springs, which is possible if you have a very lightweight door.


I was careful not to assume that the previous installation correctly oriented the right- and left-hand springs on the correct sides of the center bearing plate. They could have been installed backwards by an incompetent installer, resulting in them having been wound looser (larger diameter coil) instead of tighter (smaller diameter coil) than when in their relaxed state, and if so I would have corrected them on the new installation. The proper orientation of the springs applies their reaction torque from tighter winding such that it turns the drums to lift the door. Verifying this is a rather simple exercise in mechanical visualization, but does require some care to be certain of correctness. If you were to install the springs backwards, and then start to wind them in the wrong direction, then the torsion bar will start winding the drums backwards, and not holding against the vise pliers, which should be obvious to inspection. Winding a spring backwards also tends to screw the spring off the cones; this error cannot proceed too far before the spring slips off the cones.
The various increments of standard wire sizes differ by only about 0.010 inch, so calipers or a micrometer would be the tool to use to be certain of the stepped size you have, or else a trustworthy ruler marked in tenths of an inch to use the measure-10-turns-and-divide-by-10 trick. The most common wire sizes in the US are 0.207", 0.218", 0.225", 0.234", 0.243", 0.250", and 0.262".

We’ve been reviewing the best garage door openers for more than half a decade. This year we chose the Chamberlain Premium as our top pick. It’s an efficient, reliable garage door opener, and it comes with a backup battery system that works in a power outage. This model also has a preinstalled timer that closes your garage door automatically so you don't have to worry about whether you left the garage door open.

The garage door opener traditionally has been a simple device. And it still is for the most part. But as with a lot of household items, technological advances are finding their way into garage door opener hardware. There are quite a few cool features in modern garage door openers, some of which are things you never knew you needed to automate the process of opening and closing a garage door.


It works well. Setup was straightforward. I had a hiccup, but it was because I inadvertently pulled the disable lever/chord and thought I’d ruined the opener. Flipped the lever and it works perfectly from the app and existing wall button/remote. 2-3 second delay in showing open/close when you use the wall/remote. Beeping and flashing lights for 5 seconds before closing (for safety).
You must use springs that are matched to the weight of the door. You cannot compensate for the wrong size spring by adjusting the number of winding turns. If you do not know a proper spring size, then you or your spring supplier must calculate a proper size (see below) based on an accurate weight (within 5 pounds) of the door. So you must then in turn have an accurate weight.
Since 2015, we’ve tested a variety of devices such as smart locks, video doorbells, DIY home security systems, thermostats and more. We use these testing experiences to inform our evaluations of other equipment. As time and resources allow, we occasionally test new types of products, but there are still some circumstances where we’re unable to conduct in-house tests. When testing isn’t possible, we conduct thorough research using the same standards we apply to our in-house tests – this is the case with smart garage door openers. We’ve reviewed garage door openers since 2011. 

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