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.
“Every spring on every garage door will break,” says Jim Rice, owner of Broad Ripple Overhead Doors & Openers in Indianapolis. “After so many thousand times up and down, it gets metal fatigue and snaps. At least once a year, you should disconnect the garage door springs and lift the door up manually to see how well it’s balanced. Unless you hear metal screeching or something breaks, you don’t need us.”
The torsion springs on steel rolling doors work the same way as other torsion springs in the garage door industry. When the door is closed, the spring is wound. The spring is secured to a spring anchor bracket on one end and to the shaft on the other. When the steel rolling door opens, the spring in the barrel supports most of the door weight. The remainder of this weight is lifted by the chain hoist or the operator.