You might think your garage door opener's getting a good workout, but it's your torsion springs that actually do all of the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, there are many ways that a typical torsion spring can fail unexpectedly. The following takes a look at 5 common reasons for sudden garage door failure.
1. Wear and Tear
This is probably the biggest reason why garage door torsion springs typically fail. Most torsion springs are designed to last between 15,000 and 20,000 cycles, depending on how often you open and close your garage door. It's not uncommon for heavily used garage door springs to wear out in as little as a year, which is why it's usually a good idea to invest in heavy-duty springs that offer an extended lifespan.
2. Improper Maintenance
Proper maintenance makes the difference between longer spring life and a catastrophic spring failure. However, many homeowners do only the bare minimum, if that, when it comes to maintaining their garage door springs.
It's always a good idea to have a professional check your garage door components, including the torsion springs, at least once a year. In the meantime, you can perform your own maintenance by ensuring the springs and rollers are properly lubricated.
Using the right lubricant also helps. You'll want to go with white lithium or silicone-based spray lubricants, depending on what your garage door manufacturer recommends. Steer clear of water-displacing lubricants, as they contain solvents that lack the long-lasting lubrication your garage door springs and other components need.
3. Rust and Corrosion
Rust is another common reason for torsion spring failure. The corrosion caused by natural oxidation causes rust to eat through most metals, leaving your torsion springs weaker and more prone to sudden failure. Keeping the springs properly lubricated can help prevent this from happening.
4. Cold Weather
Cold weather can easily affect the torsion spring's ability to remain flexible. Steel becomes brittle at freezing temperatures, making it more likely to snap under the temperatures seen during cold snaps and long bouts of winter weather.
To keep this from happening to your garage door's torsion springs, you may want to consider insulating your garage against freezing temperatures. You'll also want to make sure it stays dry, as moisture could cause the springs to freeze during cold weather.
5. Poor Installation
Cutting corners on your garage door torsion spring installation can cost you big time in the long run. For instance, some builders and quite a few homeowners may try to cut corners by installing only one torsion spring where two are clearly needed for correct operation. As a result, the lone spring winds up shouldering the entire load of the door.
Under a best-case scenario, the single torsion spring simply leaves the door unbalanced, making it hard to open. At worst, the spring could fail catastrophically, causing damage to the door and other areas of your garage.
To learn more about garage door repair, contact a company like Caspersen Garage Doors.