The garage door is both the largest and heaviest moving component of your house. As such, it’s important to make sure it is properly installed. Keeping your garage door in good working order will make your home safer, and prevent your cars from being locked in during power failures.
Garage doors can weigh up to 400 lbs, which can make them difficult to open without power, and dangerous if they uncontrollably slam shut. To assist in opening the doors, springs are installed that will allow you to open the door relatively easily, hold the door in the open position, and assist the powered automatic opener. If the springs fail or are out of adjustment, the door can become unsafe and the service life of your automatic opener can be reduced.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check your garage door springs for proper adjustment. The first thing you will want to do is start with the garage in the closed position. For safety, make sure there are no people or belongings in the path of the door, then locate the manual disconnect. Pull on the disconnect to disengage the door from the automatic opener. Now the garage door should be free to lift by hand.
To check the adjustment of the springs, lift the door by hand about half way. If it is difficult to lift it might not be properly disconnected from the automatic opener, or the springs could be improperly adjusted. The door should hold open around the halfway point. There can be a bit of a “sweet spot,” so if it doesn’t hold at the exact halfway position, try moving slightly up or down. The main thing you are looking for is to make sure the garage doesn’t immediately slam shut when you let go. Next, open the door all the way. It should hold in the open position indefinitely. If the door immediately slams shut, or even creeps down after lingering for some time, the springs should be adjusted.
Once you have determined that the door will stay in the upright position, you can close it by hand. Again, make sure all people and belongings are cleared from the door’s path. It should be easy to control while closing. If the door acts like a runaway train, your springs will probably need to be adjusted. Once it’s closed you can reengage the auto opener at the manual disconnect. Cycle the opener up and down to make sure the opener is properly reattached and you’re done!
Having properly adjusted springs will allow your automatic opener to last for it’s entire designed service life. If it has to work harder to open a door that isn’t properly installed, it can fail early. Also, making sure the door is properly installed will make your home safer, because the door will not slam shut if somebody pulls the manual disconnect with the garage door in the open position.