How to Balance Your Garage Door
Ensuring the garage door is in proper balance is one of the basic tasks in garage door maintenance. Garage door balance is crucial to the proper functioning of all other components of your door. Maintaining the right balance is therefore important to extending the life of your door and many of the key parts. In a garage door that’s unbalanced either the springs are exerting too much pressure or they are not providing enough weight to counterbalance the weight of the door.
Understanding The Different Springs Systems
Garage doors are designed to use a spring system to counterbalance the weight of the door. You have two spring systems which are available for garage door designers: extension spring systems and sectional torsion springs. In a torsion spring system which is the most popular, one or more torsion springs are attached at the header of a garage door in a tube. The tube has drums attached at the ends with cables attaching the drums to the bottom bracket of the door on both sides. The springs provide the force or the counter balance while the cables are what lift and lower the door.
In an extensional spring system the springs are attached to both sides of the garage door. One of the free ends is attached to angle iron or wooden supports at the top track end. The other one is attached to cables using a pulley system. The cables run through the pulley and are attached at the bottom bracket on both sides of the garage door. In all systems the rollers and tracks are used to hold the door in place during opening and closing.
Causes Of Garage Door Imbalance
Many of the causes of garage door imbalance revolve around the springs. There are three common factors which can cause the springs to fail. First, poor maintenance. When the tracks of the garage door are poorly maintained, they become loose, bent and clogged with grease. When this happens the springs are placed under more stress wearing them out. Improper installation is another cause which can result in either the springs having too much tension or one shouldering more weight. Finally, age is another cause as with regular use and time, the springs may lose their tension.
How To Check For An Unbalanced Door
The first thing is to look for any signs of imbalance. These include:
- The garage door looks uneven while opening and closing: If the garage door appears slanted, it is an indication of inner parts being imbalanced with uneven power distribution.
- Garage door makes strange noises during opening and closing: An unbalanced door places added strain on the opener making it noisier than the usual.
- It takes longer to open and close the door: An unbalanced door requires extra effort of push and pull taking longer than usual to work.
- The garage door will not open: When your unbalanced door becomes very unbalanced the door may become too heavy for the opener thus never moving at all.
You can also perform a basic balance test. You will need to close the door from inside the garage and detach the door from the opener. Move the door manually to open and close. It should move freely without sticking. You can also lift the door halfway and release it carefully. It should remain in place without slamming shut or opening forcefully. When your door shows any of these signs or fails the test, it is time to call an expert.