Clopay, a garage door manufacturer, provides online installation manuals for their products. These include excellent mechanical diagrams and brief instructions for winding torsion springs on their doors. Of course, this is specific to their product designs, which may or may not match what you have. Note that some of their products involve the "EZ-Set assembly option" mechanisms that use a geared housing for winding (instead of standard winding cones) and non-standard geometry for the drums. Clopay should get an award for at least acknowledging in their instructions that you might be able to install your own new door (although they insist you must not take out an old one if it has torsion springs).
A standard double garage door is 7 ft. high by 16 ft. wide. Standard single doors are 7 ft. high by 8 or 9 ft. wide. Because the doors are so large, few home centers and only some garage door stores keep many doors in stock, so expect to order one instead of buying it off the shelf. Garage doors are available in wood, fiberglass and steel. Steel doors, like ours, are light, maintenance-free, affordable, readily available, and have an insulating value as high as R-19.
The belt-driven Chamberlain B970 garage door opener is powerful and well-featured. With a 1.25 HPS motor, it's got all of the strength needed for just about any residential garage door, and the motor and belt are covered by a lifetime warranty. The feature line-up includes built-in Internet connectivity for those who want to be able to monitor and operate their opener from afar, and a battery back up in the case of a power outage.

The classic telephone bait-and-switch: This time-honored swindle, also called "false advertising", can show up in the garage door business. Here's how this scam works: When you call and say you have a broken spring, and ask for a repair price, you are told over the phone that the price is X dollars, which typically might seem a little better than the competition. When the repairman shows up, after looking at your broken door, he will casually and matter-of-factly tell you it will cost 2X. If they told you over the phone that it would cost X, well, that was only for one spring, and he must (he must, mind you) install not just one, but two. He will act surprised if you object, as if you should have known that from what you were told over the phone. If you expected to really pay just X, it was your fault for misunderstanding because you don't know anything about how garage doors should be repaired. (You will feel intimidated at this, since you honestly don't know anything, else why would you have called a repairman? Intimidation is a powerful tool against customer resistance.) If your door used only one spring to start with, he will insist on converting yours to two, telling you it is safer the next time a spring breaks. If you originally had two springs, he will tell you that he must replace both springs, and you must therefore pay double what was quoted. While it is true that converting or replacing both springs is a good idea, the bait-and-switch pricing is not. The "bait" is the low price quoted to you over the phone, which they never intended to honor, and the "switch" is switching the price to something higher on a pretense. This method of selling is literally criminal (for example, see Florida Statutes 817.44, all states have similar laws), but a service business can usually avoid detection or prosecution because there are no printed advertisements or other tangible evidence, just one-on-one phone calls. If you find yourself in the middle of this trap, then the proper response is to dismiss the repairman without paying a nickel. Don't expect that you will be able to negotiate a fair price with someone who is using criminal business methods. Certainly don't expect that he will accept a lower price because you accuse him of false advertising. If you absolutely cannot wait for another service call, then you'll have to accept the fraud, in which case you should do so quietly. People that use these methods typically have ways to mentally justify their behavior to themselves as a reasonable business practice, and won't react well to your suggesting otherwise, even though they are in fact small-time criminals, not shrewd businessmen.


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A spring design manual, also called a rate book, gives tables that relate the torque constant ("rate") and maximum turns for springs of given wire size, diameter, and length. For example, a typical page in a rate book would show a table for a given wire size and inside diameter, the maximum inch-pounds (MIP) of torque available for a standard lifetime of 10,000 cycles in that size, the weight of the spring per linear inch, and the rates of the spring (as IPPT, inch-pounds per turn) for each of various lengths. From these figures one can calculate the lifting capacity, substitutions, conversions, and cycle life upgrades for a door of given weight and drum geometry. The weight-lifting capacity of a given spring is calculated based on its torque constant (IPPT, or inch-pounds per turn), which is the rotational version of the spring constant that characterizes the spring. The IPPT constant is found from tables giving IPPT for given spring dimensions (wire-size/diameter/length). The same tables may indicate the maximum number of turns for various expected lifetimes in cycles. The torque required to balance a given door can be calculated from the weight of the door times the moment arm of the drums (as we do below under "Calculating the Forces We Will Be Handling"). The ultimate torque of the spring in the fully-wound condition is the number of turns (when fully-wound) times the IPPT constant. Choosing a spring to balance the door then simply requires matching the ultimate torque of the spring to the balancing torque.
Garage door openers manufactured and installed in the United States since 1982 are required to provide a quick-release mechanism on the trolley that allows for the garage door to be disconnected from the garage door opener in the event of entrapment. [8] Garage door openers manufactured since 1982 are also required to reverse the garage door if it strikes a solid object.[9][10]
Angle iron provides a stronger installation and reduces vibration, which helps extend the opener’s life span. In an unfinished garage, attach the angle iron directly to the face of a joist with 1-in. lag screws. For finished ceilings, attach angle iron along the bottom of a joist with 3-in. lag screws. Hang the opener using two more lengths of angle iron and nuts and bolts. Use lock washers or thread-locking adhesive to keep vibration from loosening the nuts.
Here are the winding rods inserted in the winding cone of the unbroken old spring, posed just for a picture. Note that I have carefully placed a sturdy, steady ladder just clear of the swing of the rods, such that when I am standing on the lower rungs to reach the rods, that my head and body are clear of the "kill zone" around the spring and cone. You must have a trustworthy platform to stand on, because a slip or shake of the ladder while you are winding can cause you to lose your socketed attachment to the cone, letting loose the spring. I would not trust an ordinary household step ladder for this purpose.
And for some extra features, you'll appreciate accessing the system through the MyQ smartphone app. You can set up this Chamberlain opener to automatically close the door after 1, 5, or 10 minutes, which is great for people who are a bit forgetful. We also really like the motion-detecting control panel, which turns on lights whenever it records nearby movement.

Garage door springs come in two styles: torsion (see above), which mounts on the header above the door, and extension (Photo 1), which floats above the upper roller track. In the past, extension springs were safer to install but didn’t have containment cables running through the center of the spring. Without cable, these springs become dangerous, heavy whips when they break. They also tend to be noisier than torsion springs, and we recommend you use them only if you don’t have the 12 in. of headroom above the door that a torsion spring requires.


There’s another reason new doors are superior to old ones: energy efficiency. Keep in mind, garage doors are large, and when they open, they let a lot of outside air into your home. While you may have significant insulation separating your garage from the rest of your home, eventually that temperature differential will start to influence your energy bills.
Wood doors range from midprice to very expensive, depending on whether they consist of a lightweight wooden frame filled with foam insulation and wrapped in a plywood or hardboard skin (the least expensive) or are true frame-and-panel doors made of durable mahogany, redwood, or cedar. Wood doors usually carry a short warranty, perhaps only one year. 
Because your garage door is a major entryway to your home, it is important to keep it in good working order for your own safety, security, and convenience. Choosing the right style and appropriate materials will lessen the amount of repairs that may arise. Additionally, investing in regular maintenance can be cost-effective in the long run. If your garage door is in need of major repair, it is best to call a professional garage door repair company for assistance. Typically, the company will charge for at least one hour for making a service call. However, the benefits of a professional repair job can well outweigh any costs, as a professional can ensure the safety, security, and proper operation of your garage door.
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!
When you install a new garage door, replace all the hardware as well. If your automatic opener doesn’t have an automatic reversing system that includes photoelectric eyes, replace it. Doors with openers also require two extra pieces of hardware that you’ll see in Photo 4: a support strut (usually included in the door kit) and an opener bracket (not included). For doors with torsion springs located over the door, spend the $50 or so to have a garage door professional release the tension.
Since the springs are winding "up" when the door is closing and going down, the fully closed position is the most stressful on the steel and thus the most likely position at the moment of failure. This is a good thing, because failure near the top-of-travel means that you suddenly have a large, increasing weight falling. Thus we see the principle that you should never be standing or walking under the door when it is opening or closing, especially if you do so manually instead of with an electric opener. When the springs are working correctly, the door appears nearly weightless, but this is an illusion that turns into a calamity when the springs suddenly fail.
The most common grade of torsion springs have an expected life of about 10,000 cycles. The hardened and tempered steel experiences tremendous forces each time the door opens or closes. Gradually, the steel fatigues with each flexure, and eventually cracks and breaks, usually releasing its stored energy in an instant with a horrific "sproing" noise or bang. If you average about two car trips per day, opening and closing the door a total of 4 times daily when you come and go, then that expected life becomes 2500 days, or only about 7 years. If you have an automatic opener, then if you're like me, you tend to cycle the door even more frequently, and can expect the need for spring replacement even sooner. Moreover, my three-car garage has three doors, so on average I can expect a repair job every few years. Over a lifetime, it is very economical to do these repairs myself.
This work is risky, but the risk is comparable to doing your own car repairs, or climbing on the roof of your house to clean your gutters. These are dangerous things that many people can do safely, but that safety depends on intelligent understanding and application of proper techniques. Professional door repair technicians, who are fully knowledgable, skilled, and experienced, report that they nevertheless are injured from time to time, despite their best efforts. Coldly evaluate your abilities and motivations, to judge whether you can manage the risks of this work for the benefit of the money and time you might save.
The right side of the photo shows the center bearing plate where the stationary cones attach with two bolts. Some doors may have only one spring rather than two equal ones as shown here (indeed, old marks on the shaft show that this door originally had one spring about twice as long on one side). Above the center bearing plate is the bracket and track from the electric opener.
This page is a description of how I replaced torsion springs on a garage door. You may find that my experience either frightens you from trying such a stunt yourself, or encourages you to give it a try. You may curse me for revealing the techniques supposedly known only to the trade, or perhaps thank me for explaining how it's done. All the secrets are revealed below. Even if you hire this work out, just knowing how it is done will help you shop for the best deal and avoid falling prey to overcharging tricks.
Ryan, the tech that did the initial inspection and Kyle, the tech that did the installation were both extremely skilled, knowledgeable, and have excellent customer service. They arrived on time as scheduled. Explained well what needs to be done and did the job well. We’re very pleased and recommend Castle Garage Doors. We’re giving Ryan, Kyle 10 🌟 along with Hollie for having excellent customer service in making sure the whole process ran smoothly. Thank you 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 -Grandpa & Grandma Read less
At this point I weighed the unlifted door to confirm and fine-tune my calculations. This is not strictly necessary, but it makes the adjustments easier to perform, if you happen to have a scale with the requisite capacity. With some helpers, we first lifted the door a few inches and rested it on blocks of wood to provide clearance underneath. Then I slid a 400-pound-capacity freight scale under the center of the door, we lifted again to remove the blocks, and lowered the door gently onto the scale. This door weighed in at 238 pounds, which is very heavy for a single-car door. Since the outside of the door carries the 3/4-inch plywood paneling to match the house, and that plywood weighs about 2 lbs/sq-ft, I estimate the door weight to be about 7 x 10 x 2 = 140 lbs of paneling with the rest 238 - 140 = 98 lbs the interior panels, hardware, and cobwebs. Knowing this total weight will help later in adjusting the torsion on the springs. After weighing, we removed the scale and blocks, leaving the door fully lowered again. Had I not had a high-capacity freight scale, I might have improvised a crude weighing device from levers and smaller weights of known mass, or a lever arm pressing a reduced proportion of the full weight onto a lower-capacity scale. Another factor to remember is that The weight of a wood door can vary with humidity.
Some garage door openers are compatible with HomeLink, a remote control technology that's built into some automobiles. However, due to a technology change, many older HomeLink-equipped cars are not compatible with new HomeLink-enabled garage door openers without the purchase of an optional interface; you can also simply ignore your car's built in controls in favor of the remote control that comes with the opener, but that's a solution that seems to annoy owners.
Replacing or repairing garage door panels help the garage door operate properly. This means less headaches just trying to get through the day. In addition to ease of getting in and out of your home replacing or reparing garage door panels help preserve the value of the home. Curb appeal matters, especially if the home is going to end up on the market for sale. Any exterior improvement you do to the front of your home pays dividends in your curb appeal. That being said, garage door panel repair is one of the highest dollar fixes you can do for your garage door. The cost to repair the panel is directly associated to the repairman's hourly rate. Installation of new panels start at $240 for a 9' panel and $690 or more for a 16' panel. If you are thinking about replacing your panels, think twice, you might be able to get a brand new garage door for about the same price. Check your options with your professional before replacing your panels.
Screw-drive garage door openers aren't as popular as some other types, but feedback indicates that those that give the Genie Excelerator a try are largely very happy that they did. It's a fast performer, owners say, and the company claims that it can move a door at a rate of up to a foot per second. It's relatively quiet, too -- perhaps not the absolute quietest that you can buy, but certainly quieter than a chain-drive opener, and quieter than older screw-drive openers, users report.
The Genie SilentMax 750 belt drive garage door opener isn't as feature-packed as the Chamberlain B970, but its value is hard to overlook. The 75-HPc motor isn't as strong as the B970s, but is still plenty strong for any residential use, and the opener is widely judged to be pleasingly quiet. Smart features are built in, too, but using those requires the addition of the optional Genie Aladdin Connect module (Est. $95). The biggest downside is that there's no battery back-up.
Replacing or repairing garage door panels help the garage door operate properly. This means less headaches just trying to get through the day. In addition to ease of getting in and out of your home replacing or reparing garage door panels help preserve the value of the home. Curb appeal matters, especially if the home is going to end up on the market for sale. Any exterior improvement you do to the front of your home pays dividends in your curb appeal. That being said, garage door panel repair is one of the highest dollar fixes you can do for your garage door. The cost to repair the panel is directly associated to the repairman's hourly rate. Installation of new panels start at $240 for a 9' panel and $690 or more for a 16' panel. If you are thinking about replacing your panels, think twice, you might be able to get a brand new garage door for about the same price. Check your options with your professional before replacing your panels.
I mentioned earlier that this apparatus had at least one prior spring replacement, with a single longer spring having been replaced by two shorter springs. The clamping of the original spring had pressed dimples and an eccentric distortion into the hollow shaft. While this distortion was large enough to block the old cones from sliding across, I was able to remove the old hardware by just sliding them in the other direction. I did not have to bother trying to press out this distortion, since I could just work around it.

When I called to schedule the repair service, I was transferrd 5 times and spoke with 6 service reps. Each rep was very confused by my request to get my garage door repaired. One rep actually told me that Sears doesn't repair garage doors. I had to tell her that Sears installed the door. When I finally found a rep who could schedule my service, it took one week for the appointment.
When picking the best garage door for you, a good place to start is with material type. Most garage doors are made from either wood, steel or fiberglass. These three materials are strong, durable and each have their unique benefits at various price points. In order to pick the perfect fit for your home we have developed the DoorView® garage door designer. This interactive visualizer tool helps you design your dream door and allows you to see how it will look on your home with just the push of a button. You can also try it on your Apple iPad and Android devices.
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