Your commute to work always starts with a cycling of your garage door. However, with business meetings, traffic, and presentations on your mind, chances are you aren't thinking about the wear your garage door springs sustain during each cycle. Over the course of several years, your springs will lose their elasticity and become unable to lift your door. However, by following these tips, you can make sure you get the most out of your current set of springs—without having to reduce your number of daily cycles.
Arrange For Annual Adjustments
Your springs won't reach their limit of 15,000 to 20,000 cycles and magically lose their elasticity—instead, they'll gradually lose elasticity each time they're cycled. As your springs lose elasticity, they'll sustain a greater amount of wear each time you cycle your door.
By continuing to use your worn springs for thousands of cycles, you'll reduce the number of cycles your springs will complete before they break. Hiring a professional garage door technician to adjust your springs each year will prevent your springs from sustaining unnecessary wear.
To adjust your springs, your technician will use winding bars to tighten the winding cones on the end of your springs. Although this may sound like a simple task, it's not. Adjusting your torsion springs is incredibly dangerous, due to the power stored in your springs. If you attempt to adjust your springs yourself, you risk injury to yourself or damage to your door assembly. Additionally, some jurisdictions require special licensing to adjust garage door springs.
Test The Lift Power of Your Automatic Opener
Your automatic opener wasn't specifically designed for your door assembly—instead, your opener's manufacturer designed the opener to be compatible with a wide range of doors. For this reason, your opener's motor is powerful enough to lift doors that weigh significantly more than your door. Although this feature is useful, the power produced by your motor can damage your springs if your lift power is set too high for the weight of your door.
When your opener is using too much power to lift your door, it can result in overtravel. Overtravel occurs when your opener pulls your door past the point at which your assembly is designed to stop cycling. Overtravel typically causes the top rollers of your assembly to fall out of your guide tracks. However, this issue doesn't occur with every assembly. Even if your top rollers remain in your track, overtravel will damage your springs by forcing them to wind unnecessarily.
Luckily, you can easily test the lift power of your opener by cycling your door open and applying downwards force on your door's frame. If you aren't able to stop your door cycle with a few pounds of pressure, then your opener's lift power is too great for your door assembly.
To reduce your lift power, place a ladder beneath your opener and use the lift power adjustment mechanism (typically either a knob or slider) to slightly reduce the power of your opener. Each time you slightly adjust your lift power, test your cycle. Repeat this process until you're able to easily stop the cycling process.
Although doing so won't significantly affect the lifespan of your springs, you can also test and adjust your opener's closing power by reversing these steps. Instead of applying downwards pressure while your door is opening, apply upward pressure while your door is closing.
However, if your springs are already nearing the end of their lifespan, then performing these maintenance tasks won't stop the inevitable—your springs will still require replacement within the near future. Instead of waiting for your springs to break, ask your garage door technician how much life is left in your springs and have them replaced if necessary. Once your new springs are installed, regularly perform these tasks to ensure that they cycle your door efficiently for as long as possible.
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