Horsepower: The horsepower measurement, often shortened to HP, describes the power the garage door opener motor has. A motor with a greater horsepower measurement will open and close the door more quickly, while also being able to handle larger and heavier doors. Motors between 1/2 HP and 1 HP are the most common for residential garages, FeldCo says.
It is precisely on those coldest days of the year when you most need and appreciate the convenience of opening and closing your garage door quickly. Sadly, those also happen to be the kinds of days when cold and moisture combine to make this difficult. Garage doors can and do freeze to the garage floor. Sometimes it is a minor icy connection between the two that can be broken when you hit the opener button.
The parts, parts, parts trick: You might be told you need new rollers, cables, drums, bearings, etc., when you don't, or at highly inflated prices. Good questions to ask when first calling for service include, "How do I know you will only charge me for the parts I actually need?", and "If you don't have all the parts I need, what will you charge me to come back?"
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Torsion springs have three advantages over extension springs: They’re quieter, safer and easier to fine-tune. Torsion springs are quieter because you don’t have a spring knocking against a roller track. They’re safer because when a spring breaks, it usually stays on the bar. Finally, you can fine-tune the tension on a torsion spring so the door is perfectly balanced. Setting the tension on torsion springs has always been very dangerous, but torsion and extension spring systems with easy, do-it-yourself tensioning (Photo 7) are available. If you don’t use one of these DIY-friendly, easy tensioning systems (Clopay EZ-Set Spring and Wayne-Dalton TorqueMaster are two brands), you should hire a professional to release and set the tension on a torsion spring.
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.
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Using your drill, add tension to the torsion spring. This system uses a single spring for a double door, but many manufacturers use two springs for a double door. The painted line on the spring acts as a gauge for the number of turns you put on the spring. To keep the bar from turning while you’re adding tension, attach a locking pliers to the bar on both ends of the spring. Apply lubricant for garage doors to the spring.
Unmatched or mismatched spring pair: You may find that you have a pair of springs that are different sizes. This mismatch may be a normal application, since the total torque on the torsion shaft is simply the sum of the torque contribution of each spring (indeed, very large doors can be lifted with 4 or more springs along the torsion shaft). The sum of the torque rates determine the lift; and dividing the torque among multiple springs does not change this. Some repair shops even apply mismatched pairs deliberately, since a few stock sizes of springs can be combined to fit a wider range of door weights than only matched pairs. For example, a technician may carry springs in increments of 20 lbs of lift, and when using pairs this allows a 20 lb increment in possible choices instead of 40 lb increments. Or, one spring from a pair may have broken and been replaced with a spring of equal torque rate but different size than the original.
I was careful not to assume that the previous installation correctly oriented the right- and left-hand springs on the correct sides of the center bearing plate. They could have been installed backwards by an incompetent installer, resulting in them having been wound looser (larger diameter coil) instead of tighter (smaller diameter coil) than when in their relaxed state, and if so I would have corrected them on the new installation. The proper orientation of the springs applies their reaction torque from tighter winding such that it turns the drums to lift the door. Verifying this is a rather simple exercise in mechanical visualization, but does require some care to be certain of correctness. If you were to install the springs backwards, and then start to wind them in the wrong direction, then the torsion bar will start winding the drums backwards, and not holding against the vise pliers, which should be obvious to inspection. Winding a spring backwards also tends to screw the spring off the cones; this error cannot proceed too far before the spring slips off the cones.
I think garage doors always show their age, there's no "timeless" garage door in my opinion. Walk passed a bunch of houses on your block, bet you could guess the time frame each one was installed based on the style of the door. Good thing is that garage door styles will only look dated after 15-20 yrs and even after that, they still look fine as long as they are well kept. I say go with what you love!
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.