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.
Beware of improprer prior installations: Sometimes the existing door installation is not correct, and the old springs should not be used as a specification for replacements. For example, the old springs might have been replaced with incorrect sizes because the last repairman didn't have the right one on his truck. If your door has never worked quite right, something like this might be the cause. To correct this, you must use the weight of the door to specify the spring, either from a spring rate manual giving spring torque constants, or from the formulas below.
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Spring Issues - Unless it is due to an obstruction of some type, uneven movement of your garage door is likely caused by a problem with the spring mechanism. Roll-up doors generally have one center-mounted torsion spring. The tension on torsion springs is great. Therefore, it is necessary to call a professional for any repairs to this type of spring mechanism to avoid serious injury. Because replacement of these springs or cables in a garage door can take at least two or three hours of labor, costs can average $300 or more.
Another recent innovation in the garage door opener is a fingerprint-based wireless keypad. This unit attaches to the outside of the garage door on the jamb and allows users to open and close their doors with the press of a finger, rather than creating a personal identification number (PIN). This is especially helpful for families with children who may forget a code and are latchkey kids.
We want to serve you not only today, but also in the years ahead. To do that, we make sure that we provide prompt, professional, well-trained technicians that efficiently get the job done right the first time. We take pride in doing everything possible to eliminate warranty issues and to ensure that our clients are thoroughly pleased and return to us for all garage door needs.
Cable fail-safe redundancy: Based on the proper setting of the drums on the torsion shaft, the two lift cables divide the lifting force equally to keep the door level as it rises. This not only levels the door, but also provides a fail-safe mechanism. If one of the cables should fail, such as from breaking or losing its end attachment, the other cable will then carry the full weight of the door. This will pull the door up on one side with twice the normal force, while the other side falls from its now unsupported weight, tending to make the door bind in its tracks and jam. Although not foolproof, this is a safety feature of the design which keeps the door from falling catastrophically if a cable were to fail while the door was traveling. The jammed condition also prevents a lowered door from opening with the hazard of a single broken cable, further minimizing the chances of both cables failing. Since if one cable fails the other must sustain the full weight of the door, the cables and attachments are rated many times the normal working load of half the door weight. A proper safety inspection of the door should include a critical look at the cables and their attachments.
One of these "sproing" events at our house finally motivated me to research how these repairs are done. This happened in 2002, when my wife parked the chariot and shut the door. After the door closed, there was a horrific noise that she could only astutely describe as, "a big spring snapping and vibrating". Although I have hired professionals several times in the past to install or repair garage doors, the difference this time was the innovation of Google and newsgroups like alt.home.repair. I was determined to learn the process and to search for online parts vendors.
When you're done watching this video you'll know how to determine whether the company you hired to replace your garage door spring installed the right size spring on your door. You'll also learn the consequences to your garage door opener if the wrong size spring is used. If you are having a problem with your garage door spring, the 2:30 minutes you spend watching this video is time will spent.
When buying an opener, choose a 1/3 hp or 1/2 hp opener for a single garage door (1/3 hp can be hard to find at some home centers). Go with 1/2 hp for a double door and 3/4 hp for a door that has a wood or faux wood overlay (they can be heavy!). Openers have a set opening speed, so installing an opener with a higher horsepower won’t open your door any faster.
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.
Stress and lifetime: Calculating the maximal stress in the wire is useful for estimating the lifetime. Using the formula above, the bending stress S in the spring wire is 32*238/(π*0.2253^3) = 212 Kpsi. The spring index C is D/d = 2.23 / 0.225 = 9.88. The Wahl correction factor is Kw = (4C-1)/(4C-4) + 0.615/C = 1.15. The Wahl-corrected stress is Kw * S = 1.15 * 212 Kpsi = 244 Kpsi. This predicts about a 10,000-cycle lifetime, which is the standard "cheap spring" configuration originally installed. Note that while this stress is proportional to the torque being applied, it is also in proportion to the inverse third-power of the wire size. Thus slightly heavier wire sizes (and suitably adjusted D and/or L) radically improve the expected cycle lifetime of the spring.
If you have an oversized door, one made of a heavier material such as wood, or a one-piece door, you should consider getting something stronger. In these cases, look for a garage door opener motor rated between 3/4 horsepower and 2 horsepower. There’s nothing stopping you from using a 2-horsepower opener on a smaller door, which can make for smoother operation and a longer service life, but high-horsepower units cost more.
Whatever problem you are having with your garage door or garage door opener, you can count on Aaron’s Garage Door Service to provide you with the best service in town. We are an honest company that has built the reputation of our quality service. We don’t deceive people by offering a free service call or discount coupons to get the job then jack up the prices at the end. You can always count on Aaron’s Garage Door Service when you have any type of garage door problem.
We believe that we are only as good as the technicians we send to your home. As the face of our company, our techs must be well trained, professional, and dependable. This is why we personally hire each one of our technicians and provide them with innovative training, full field experience, and certification before they ever take a call. Our state of the art training facility houses every type of garage door and they become experienced working on every type of opener. You can be confident when you choose Precision Door that the work we do for you will be completed properly, efficiently, and on time.
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.
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