Your safety and the longevity of your garage door depend on whether it remains balanced. An unbalanced garage door puts excessive strain on the lifting system, which can cause it to fail. Most homeowners don’t know how to level a garage door or check to see if it has proper balance. At the very least, you should know how to check garage door balance to know when to request professional leveling services.
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How Do I Know if My Garage Door Is out of Balance?
An unbalanced garage door does not have the proper tension in its springs to operate correctly. This state puts excessive strain on the springs, shortening their life spans. In the worst case, the garage door could fall unexpectedly because the spring does not stop it from moving as intended.
When testing your garage door for balance, keep all children and pets away from the area. If you have an unbalanced door, it could fall down unexpectedly, causing injury. From there, follow these steps:
- If you have a garage door opener, firmly pull the emergency release handle to disconnect it.
- Manually move the door up and down to see how well it opens and closes. You should have a smooth movement in a well-balanced garage door.
- Open the door halfway and release your hold on it. The door should not move up or down. If it moves down, you have too little tension in your springs. A door that moves up has too much spring tension.
- Open the door all the way. The door should completely open and stay in place after you lift it up. If it moves down, it lacks enough tension in the springs and needs adjustments.
Once you’re done, you can reconnect your garage door by pulling the release handle toward the door. Then, use the remote or manually lift the garage door until you hear a loud click.
How Do You Fix an Unbalanced Garage Door?
Your garage door will use either extension springs — sometimes called side-mounted springs — or torsion springs. Extension springs are perpendicular to the garage door, and torsion springs are parallel to the door. Extension springs do not have the high level of tension that torsion springs do. Therefore, if you have advanced home repair skills, you may be able to fix your garage door if it has extension springs.
To rebalance your garage door with extension springs, follow these steps:
- Remove all tension from the springs by opening the door as wide as possible without touching the stop bolt on the opener. Clamp the track on both sides of the door to prevent the door from falling down while you work on the springs. Place a ladder under the door as an additional precaution to keep the door from falling.
- Take off safety cables before adjusting the springs.
- Move the ends of one of the springs out of the holes they are currently in to the next hole in the hanger. Repeat the process on the other side.
- Remove the clamps and allow the garage door to slowly lower to the ladder. Test the door’s balance.
- Move the S-hooks on the pulleys to lower holes to increase tension if the door needs finer adjustments to its balance. Loosen the pulley tension by moving the S-hooks to higher holes.
If you have a door with torsion springs that run parallel to the door, do not try to fix it yourself. These doors can be dangerous to repair and require a specialty tool to allow adjustments. Plus, the spring must be under tension when doing adjustments, increasing the difficulty and danger for untrained DIYers, especially if the spring were to break. Let professionals service your garage door if you have torsion springs.
Professional vs. DIY Garage Door Balancing
In many cases of unbalanced garage doors, the springs lack the proper tension to keep the door from moving correctly. These springs support the heavy door and act as a safety feature to protect you from the door suddenly and rapidly falling.
DIY garage door balancing, especially with torsion spring doors, can be dangerous. Instead of trying to tackle the job yourself and risk your personal safety, contact a professional. Garage door companies have technicians who know how to properly secure springs to replace or adjust them.
An expert garage door repair person will know whether the springs on your door need adjustments or replacements. They can do both tasks safely without voiding warranties or creating a dangerous situation, which can occur if you try to DIY the door balancing.
While you shouldn’t try to make spring adjustments to your garage door, it can help you to know the general process the repair person may take when professionally servicing your door. The following are common steps used to balance a garage door with torsion springs:
- Close the garage door and clamp the tracks above the rollers to prevent the door from opening accidentally.
- Insert a torsion spring winding bar into one of the holes in the spring to allow the screws in the adjustment collar to loosen, then loosen the screws.
- Move the adjusting collar up or down to tighten or loosen the torsion spring. Moving the collar up tightens the spring and keeps the door from closing on its own and facilitates opening. Adjusting the collar down loosens spring tension and prevents the door from opening.
- Tighten the adjustment screws to lock the changed spring tension into place.
- Remove the torsion spring winding bar.
- Repeat the process on the other torsion spring to maintain the door’s balance.
- Remove the clamps and test the door. Make additional changes, if needed.
Remember that only professionals should deal with the high tension of torsion springs. If you have a row of springs parallel to your garage door and you experience balance issues with the door, contact a professional to have the torsion springs adjusted or replaced.
Request Professional Garage Door Service
At R&R Door, we are a family-owned company that knows how to treat our customers well. If you want to know how to check the balance of your garage door or request a repair, contact us. We may be able to walk you through minor repairs you can do safely on your own. If you do need a service call for repairs, we’ll offer you top-notch customer service and professional work on your garage door, all backed by generations of experience.
Contact us today to request service or repairs of your residential garage door in the Madison or Cross Plains, Wisconsin, areas.