While you may be able to increase efficiency by replacing the weather stripping at the bottom of an old garage door, the kind of insulation and energy efficient materials used in today’s new doors will make a drastic improvement on your garage’s energy efficiency. Just like the way a new garage door recoups its costs in increased home value, a new door will also quickly pay for itself in energy savings!
Direct Drive - Unlike chain- and belt-driven systems, where the motor remains stationary while moving a chain, a direct drive motor moves while the chain stays in place. Because of this, the only moving part is the gear the motor uses to move while lifting the door. To our knowledge, only one company makes direct drive garage door openers: Sommer. The company claims the motors are more efficient and quieter than any other type of opener. However, this is the most expensive type of opener we’ve found, costing around $286 on average.
Make sure the door is balanced. Close the door and pull the emergency release cord (always close the door first so it can’t come crashing down!). Lift the door about halfway up and let go. The door shouldn’t move. If it slides up or down, the torsion spring needs to be adjusted (or maybe even replaced). Adjusting the torsion spring is dangerous, so don’t attempt it yourself (you could get seriously hurt). Call a pro to adjust it.
I was very pleased with the service provided by Alpha Omega Garage Doors. Randy was very professional and friendly. He arrived within the time window given and installed our key pad quickly and efficiently. He also took time to inspect the garage door and lubricate it. I would recommend Alpha Omega for your garage door needs and will use them again in the future for upkeep and to resolve any problems that should arise.
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.
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.  Garage door openers manufactured since 1982 are also required to reverse the garage door if it strikes a solid object.
Most garage door openers are pretty expensive. So if you need an opener on a budget, the Genie 1035-V (also known as the Genie Chain Drive 500) gives you that desirable low price point. It doesn't have a lot of high-end tech features, nor will it manage heavy garage doors, but it does the basic work of raising and lowering the garage door perfectly well.
Wheel Track Obstruction – Try closing the garage door manually to see if there are obstructions on the wheel tracks. If that is not the case, examine your tracks for potential damage like dents and bends. Look at your door to see if it is hanging unevenly. If the track is damaged or the door is hanging unevenly, it is time to call a professional for repairs. Track repairs can typically cost $133 to $154. Cost for correcting the uneven hanging of doors themselves can vary greatly, but typically cost about $125.
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).
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?).
Horsepower is another key factor when it comes to garage door openers. Look into ½ horsepower garage openers if you have standard aluminum doors. Oversized doors and one-piece doors may require 3/4, 1 or 1¼ horsepower garage door openers. Garage openers with higher horsepower use less effort to operate and minimize wear and tear on the motor. This is ideal if your garage doors act as the main entrance to your home.
If return on investment is a priority and you don’t live in the West, your best strategy may be to buy a low- to moderately-priced door that significantly improves the look of your home. Consider adding an automatic garage door opener at the same time. The beauty of a new door and the convenience of an automatic opener are sure to be a winning combination.
Cost was $88 for 2 pairs of springs, plus $21 shipping. (I had to order 2 pairs to meet the $50 minimum order.) They came with new cones inserted as shown at that price, so I didn't bother trying to remove and reuse the old cones to save a few dollars. The cones are quite difficult to remove from old springs and to insert in new ones, and the spring supplier will have the right tooling to do that easily. That was the best price I could find on the Web at the time, and didn't seem out of line with what parts like this might cost at at the building supply (if they only sold them). Contractors buy these much cheaper in quantities; they're just an ordinary high-carbon steel wire turned on a winding machine. I also found Web sites asking a lot more money, obviously trying to cash in on search-engine traffic from do-it-yourselfers. Others report that some local dealers sell springs at retail, but at a high price that eliminates any economy versus having them installed.
The majority of those who have purchased this product have been happy with it, saying it’s extremely quiet and comes with a great lifetime warranty. Some of the more critical reviews had to do with the remote not working well and other minor malfunctions. (A few quick tips can help you fix any common garage door opener problems.) However, most were satisfied with the product and would recommend it to others.
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.
Resetting the drums, if needed: If the drums were incorrectly set in their old positions, one must reset both drums in new positions on the shaft. This is complicated by the presence of old dimples in the torsion shaft from previous setting(s), which must be avoided lest they improperly influence the new setting of the drums. To begin this process of resetting the drums, the door must first be lowered and resting level on the floor, the spring(s) must be in the unwound condition with their set-screws loosened, and the lift cables wrapped around the drums. If for some reason the door does not rest level on the floor, such as the floor being uneven, then insert temporary shims between the door bottom and the floor to bring the door up to level. Loosen the set-screws on the drums, and turn the torsion shaft to avoid the old dimples from the set-screws in the old drum position. Tighten the set-screw on the left drum (that is, on your left as you face the door from in the garage), creating a new dimple, and apply tension to its cable with the locking-pliers technique, enough tension to keep the cable taut but not enough to start to move the door up. Attach and wind the cable on the opposite (right) drum by hand until the cable is similarly taut, and set the screw, remembering that tightening the screw will tend to add a bit of extra tension to the cable. Both drums should now be fixed on the torsion shaft, with the cables about equally taut (listen to the sound when you pluck them like a guitar string) and the door still level on the ground. Setting the left drum first, and the right drum second, will allow you to take up any slack in the cable introduced by the left drum rotating slightly with respect to the torsion shaft as you tighten the set screws. This alignment and balance of the cables, drums, and door is critical to smooth operation and proper closing. If you have a single-spring assembly, the distance along the torsion tube from the spring cone to one drum is longer than to the other drum, which allows a bit more twist to one side than the other, and you may have to compensate with the setting of the drums.
To estimate the maximum physical force required to wind these springs, consider that they are balancing the weight of the door with a torque applied to a lift drum on each end of the torsion shaft. The lift drums have a 2-inch radius, which is the standard residential size, and corresponds conveniently to about a 1-foot circumference. If we pessimistically assume the 10-by-7-foot door has a weight of 350 pounds, this implies a torque of 350 pounds on a 2-inch radius, that is, 700 inch-pounds, or 58 foot-pounds. Each of the two springs should be exerting slightly less than half of the balancing torque, or 29 foot-pounds. Compare this to, say, the bolts in an automobile, which are typically torqued to values of about 50 foot-pounds, or tire lug nuts, which may be torqued to well over 100 foot-pounds.
Now 13 pounds of force must be respected when backed by many hundreds of foot-pounds of stored energy, waiting to be released. Holding this torque is equivalent to stalling a 3 horsepower DC motor. But holding and turning these handles does not require extraordinary human strength. Note that this maximum tangential force depends only on the weight of the door, and the radius of the drums, and is divided by the number of springs (some designs have only one longer spring, as mine did originally, instead of two shorter ones). Higher or lower lift distances imply more or less turns to wind the spring (and thus a different spring geometry), but not more force on each turn.
Garage door openers are always a nice convenience, but become most appreciated when the weather turns nasty. They are also a near necessity if the task of opening and closing a garage door is too challenging, due to physical limitations. Most are relatively inexpensive and highly reliable, although unless you are very handy, you should probably budget for professional installation.
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.
Before purchasing a roll-up door, measure the space between the top of the garage door opening and the ceiling or overhead framing. Standard tracks require headroom of about 14 inches. If you don’t have that, you can get low-headroom track, which costs about $100 more. There are also tracks specially made for garages with unusually high walls or cathedral ceilings.
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.
Sears garage repair technicians are fast, with same-day, emergency repairs available in most areas. We can replace garage door broken springs, rollers, cables, hinges, sensors and weather seals. We can also adjust garage door tracks and springs to make sure your door operates smoothly. Having problems with your garage door opener? We can repair or replace that too. Check out our line of Craftsman Garage Door Openers. Craftsman is America’s #1 brand of garage door openers! 1