Even if one could somehow stretch and clamp the springs to the proper extra length, the process would still be more trouble, and there would be little or no reduction of risk. Lifting the full weight of the unsprung door by hand and clamping it in the raised position is dangerous in itself, and creates the same amount of stored energy as winding the springs, ready to slip out of your hands. Many doors won't travel far enough up the track to provide clearance to access the springs. You're also going to have to deal with winding stiff steel cables onto both lift drums at once without any resistance to maintain tension. Finally, even if you managed to complete the installation with the door raised, you then have to lower the massive door against an untested balancing torque. If you've made a mistake, then that massive door has nothing but your skeletal force applied through your meat clamps (hands) to prevent it from falling down and crushing whatever is in the way (perhaps your feet?).
The technician, Robert Helton, was very pleasant, helpful, and professional. He repaired the garage door opener expeditiously and explained why it hadn't worked properly. He also checked the chain mechanism and the door itself and showed me how to manually work the door should I need to do that in the future. I was very pleased with this repair work.
Modern garage door openers include basic to advanced features that improve safety and deter break-ins. Examples include an automatic stop if a descending door encounters a solid object such as the hood of a car and light beam sensors that detect the presence of an object -- or a person or pet -- and stop a garage door's downward movement before accident or injury can occur. Available security options include remote lockouts for when you will be away from home for an extended amount of time, remote codes that change after each use, and lights that turn on automatically when your garage door opens or if movement is detected inside.
The salesman-disguised-as-technician trick: In this trick, you arrange for a service call to your home, perhaps paying a small fee up-front, and a neatly uniformed man arrives in a very technical-looking truck, carrying an impressive tool kit. He carefully examines your door, perhaps using some impressive testing devices to lend weight to his expertise. He then condemns your door as not worth repairing, and tells you, to his sincere regret, that you must have a new one. In fact, this technician is not a technician, but a salesman who only sells, and does not repair, doors. Even if he doesn't sell you, he is doing well just collecting fees for service calls that are no more than sales visits. He doesn't actually have to ever fix anything, and he may not even be capable of doing so himself. He's an expert at selling, which genuine technicians are not. In the worst case, when you refuse to buy a whole new door, he might refuse to follow up with a visit from an actual technician, either outright, or only with an unacceptable delay ("we're too busy to get a guy out until next week", when your car is trapped). If you find yourself closing in on this situation, then politely invite him to leave, and try someone else. That is your right, and in fact the only power you have to bargain in such circumstances. At that point, he may offer to promptly bring in his competent colleague, who will turn up lacking charm and looking awful, but might actually do the work, possibly at a fair price. If so, you will have beaten a legal variation of the classic illegal bait-and-switch (see below). The switch was attempted, but not required, which makes this legal. This is a hazard of any direct-sales situation. Because it rarely appears in everyday retail sales, it can surprise the unwary.
Wood garage door: There’s no substitute for the distinctive look of wood. It’s typically made of moisture-resistant cedar, redwood or cypress and offers the most flexibility for custom designs. Depending on climate and exposure, wood doors require more maintenance. The average cost for a 16-by-7 double door made of quality wood: $1,200 to more than $4,000.
Trading wire size for length, diameter, or cycle life: Now we are really going to save you some money, if you just recall your high school algebra class (and I don't mean that cute cheerleader who sat next to you). If you further understand the role of the 4th power of the spring wire size (letter d in the formulas above) in the numerator of the spring rate formula, and how to increase or decrease d to compensate for changes in length, diameter, and cycle life, then you're qualified for elite spring calculations. Matching springs is a matter of equating the 4th power of the proportion in wire size change to the proportion of change in the diameter or length or the product of both diameter and length. However, it is usually best to only increase wire size when substituting a spring, since this does not derate the cycle life. If you observe that the formula for bending stress is proportionate to the inverse 3rd power of the diameter, then physically a proportionate increase in wire size will result in a dramatic increase in cycle life of the 3rd power of that proportion. Trade-off example: Yawn with me while we ponder my original spring once more. Let's say I was in a fit of engineering mania, and wanted to replace my spring having a 0.2253 inch diameter wire (d = 0.2253) with a 0.262 wire version (d = 0.262). How much longer is the spring with equal torque rate, assuming we use the same coil diameter? The proportion of this change is 0.262/0.2253 = 1.163, and the 4th power of that is 1.83. This means the length must increase by a factor of 1.83 (again, not counting dead coils). Recalling that the length in Example 1 was 102 non-dead coils, the heavier wire spring must be about 1.83*102 = 187 coils, which when adding 5 dead coils and multiplying by the wire size to get the overall length, is (187+5)*0.262 = 50 inches, versus 24 inches in the original. So using this heavier wire more than doubles the length (and thus the mass and thus the cost). While the cost about doubles, the stress goes down by the inverse 3rd power of the wire size proportion, or 1/(1.163**3) = 0.64. Sress is favorably, non-linearly related to cycle lifetime (halving the stress more than doubles the lifetime), so this decreased stress should more than double the expected lifetime of the spring. While the up-front cost is more, the true cost of an amortized lifetime is much less. In short, per cycle it is cheaper. Ah, the wonders of engineering calculations! Conclusion: Observe that the stress formula (and thus the cycle lifetime) depends only on wire diameter (d) for equal torques. Thus the only way to improve cycle lifetime is to use heavier wire. For equal torques, heavier wire size, due to the exponents in the formulas, increases cycle lifetime much faster than it increases mass (and thus cost), physically speaking.
The winding technique is simply to (un)wind as far as one rod will go, where it is pressed against the top of the door, or nearly so, by the unwinding torsion. You insert the other rod in the next socket, remove the first rod, and continue. At any point you can stop and rest by leaving the active rod pressed against the door, where it will be held by the unwinding force. I would make a quarter-turn increment that way, and let go for a moment to collect my attention for the next increment, almost in a quiet, meditative alertness. While you can go from one quarter-turn and rod-swap to the next continually without letting go, working fast against the steady tension seemed to invite a kind of shakiness in my arms that was a bit unsettling. It isn't that there is much physical exertion, it is more that the tension is unrelenting, like peering over a precipice.
Since we're using an 18-inch (1.5 feet) winding lever to wind each spring up to 29 foot-pounds, we must apply a maximum tangential force to the end of the winding lever of about 20 pounds. Later we'll see that the actual weight of this rather dense door is 238 pounds, implying a maximum tangential force on the winding levers of only about 13 pounds!
The prior clamping of the set-screws tends to have pressed a dimple into the hollow shaft and to have distorted the shaft's roundness into an eccentric shape. While releasing the set-screws, I was careful to loosen them enough to let the cone swing around any such distortions. I was also careful to observe any binding of the old cones on the eccentricity or burring on the shaft. The fit of the cone on the shaft is supposed to be loose enough to avoid binding, but if it were to occur one would have to be careful not to assume the spring was unwound when in fact the cone was just stuck on the shaft. If I had a stuck cone that I could not unwind with a little extra force, then I would have called in a technician to deal with it. In the worst case, I suppose the spring must be deliberately broken with some hazard, thus releasing it for a forceful disassembly, and the shaft and some other parts replaced. But this is an unlikely situation and in this case was not necessary.
Dynamic Door Service can install a new garage door replacement for you quickly and efficiently, conducting thorough testing on your garage door replacement and automatic garage door opener to be sure both are functioning properly. Investing in a garage door replacement also adds value to your home, since it is one of the best home remodelling projects to recoup cost when you sell your home. Whether you need a new automatic garage door, a garage door replacement, garage door repair or garage door opener replacement or repair, call Dynamic Door Service for prompt, professional automatic garage door installation, maintenance and service.
Repair of garage doors is a licensed trade in many jurisdictions, and manipulation of the market inevitably follows. Look in your phone book yellow-pages under "garage doors" and you'll find a lot of big, costly ads for door service. The profits are quite juicy, I'm sure. The customers need service urgently, and this need will typically arrive suddenly and at a busy time when shopping for prices is not convenient. A few dollars in parts, an hour of labor and travel, and a $150 invoice (assuming the outfit is charging fairly, some are not). Lately (2006) I hear of outfits charging $200 or $300 for this work, and occasionally a story of a $500 or $800 service call. You'll also find the phonebook advertisers waiting eagerly for your call, because artificially high prices inevitably lead to an oversupply of service firms working under capacity.
If your garage door is opening slowly or making a lot of noise, the problem may not be your opener. So before you buy a new one, check for broken or wobbly rollers and brackets. But don’t replace the bottom roller bracket yourself—the cable attached to it is under extreme tension. You’ll need to call a pro. If you’re replacing the rollers, get nylon rollers. They operate quieter than steel rollers and cost only a few bucks more. Next, check the torsion spring (mounted on the header above the door opening) to see if it’s broken. When one breaks, you’ll see a gap in the coils. You’ll need a pro to replace a broken spring.