June 12, 2023

Warning: Why Garage Door Springs Are So Dangerous and What You Can Do to Stay Safe

Picture this: You come home after a long day, and as soon as you press the garage door opener, you hear a horrifying bang! Your garage door has given up on you, and its broken spring is ready to unleash chaos. Believe it or not, garage door springs are ticking time bombs that can wreak havoc in an instant. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the dangers of garage door springs and arm you with essential tips to keep you and your family safe from these hidden hazards lurking right at your doorstep.

Garage door springs are dangerous because they are under high levels of tension that can cause sudden and violent release if they break or malfunction. As such, it is important to have your garage door springs inspected and maintained regularly by a professional technician. Additionally, homeowners can take safety precautions such as avoiding DIY repairs, keeping children and pets away from the garage door area when it is in operation, and knowing how to manually open the garage door in case of an emergency. By being aware of these dangers and taking appropriate actions to mitigate risk, you can help ensure the safety of your family and property.

Potential Dangers of Garage Door Springs

Garage door springs are a crucial component of garage doors, responsible for lifting the immense weight of the door. These springs work under intense tension and pressure and can be the cause of severe accidents that may lead to death or serious injuries.

To gain a better understanding of the dangers associated with garage door springs, let’s consider an example. John, a homeowner, was attempting to replace his garage door springs by himself. Suddenly, without warning, one of the extension springs snapped and flew off its bracket. The sudden release of tension from the spring caused it to fly across the room at high speed, hitting John in the face and knocking him unconscious.

This unfortunate incident is not uncommon when homeowners attempt to perform garage door repairs themselves without proper knowledge or experience. According to the CPSC, an estimated 20,000 people are taken to U.S hospitals every year because they sustained injuries related to their garage doors.

Although some homeowners may believe that DIY repairs can save them money, such acts can prove fatal and end up costing far more than hiring a professional technician in the long run.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some specific types of accidents and injuries that can occur due to faulty garage door springs.

  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated 30,000 injuries caused by garage doors and garage door openers in the United States each year, with a significant number of these injuries resulting from spring-related accidents.
  • A study conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) found that between 1990 and 2007, approximately 2.03% of all emergency department visits involving home improvement tools were related to garage doors, highlighting the potential safety hazards posed by garage door springs.
  • In a report published by DASMA (Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association), it was revealed that 47% of surveyed professional installers reported seeing serious injuries or fatalities due to garage door spring accidents in their careers, illustrating the danger posed by improperly maintained or broken garage door springs.

Injuries and Accidents

The majority of injuries and accidents related to garage doors often involve their springs. As mentioned earlier, when these powerful springs snap unexpectedly due to wear or damage, they become projectiles which can severely injure anyone nearby.

For instance, imagine you’re in your garage under your car while your spouse opens the overhead garage door using a malfunctioning spring system. Without any reverse mechanism installed into your opener/door system, there would be nothing stopping it from crashing onto you with tremendous force if the spring fails.

Additionally, garage door springs can be compared to a loaded gun. A gun stores energy in the form of compressed air and releases it by firing a bullet, while a garage door spring stores energy as soon as it is stretched and releases it when retracting.

According to statistics, an average size garage door weighs about 200-400 pounds, which is why falling garage doors always pose a significant threat to your safety.

Now that we have established the potential dangers of garage door springs and possible accidents, let’s take a closer look at how you can prevent them and maximize your safety.

Risk Factors for Spring Failure

Garage door springs are under intense pressure, and several factors can contribute to their failure. One of the most common reasons a spring snaps is fatigue due to wear and tear over an extended period. Garage door springs have an average lifespan of 7-10 years or 10,000 cycles, which means that they will become weaker with use and eventually break. The number of cycles per day depends on how often you use your garage door, so frequent use may shorten the average lifespan.

Another risk factor is rust or corrosion, which can weaken the spring’s strength and increase its chances of breaking. Humidity, exposure to water, or lack of lubrication can cause your springs to rust and corrode faster than normal. Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) can also affect your garage door’s hardware as it makes metal expand or contract.

Furthermore, improper installation and maintenance of garage door springs can accelerate spring wear and lead to structural damage. If installed or adjusted incorrectly, springs may not function correctly. Therefore, they may be more likely to fail even when they are relatively new.

A homeowner in Vancouver reported that they tried to repair their garage door spring themselves without realizing the hazards involved. In a rush to finish the job quickly, he accidentally damaged the spring’s coil while installing it back into place. When he started operating his garage door afterward, the damaged spring completely gave out suddenly and slammed shut onto his car causing extremely costly damages.

Regular professional inspections by trusted technicians help detect early signs of problems before they escalate rapidly; hence it’s advisable to choose a reliable company like Canadoor Garage Doors that regularly trains its experts on handling garage door springs.

Now that we’ve looked at potential dangers and risk factors let’s understand the Types of Garage Door Springs better.

  • Garage door springs are under intense pressure, and their failure can be caused by several factors, including fatigue due to wear and tear over an extended period. Rust or corrosion, extreme temperatures, improper installation, and maintenance of garage door springs can also accelerate spring wear and lead to structural damage. It is essential to have regular professional inspections by trusted technicians to detect early signs of problems before they escalate rapidly. Choosing a reliable company like Canadoor Garage Doors that regularly trains its experts on handling garage door springs is advisable.

Types of Garage Door Springs

There are two types of garage door springs: extension and torsion. Extension springs are more commonly found in older garage doors or those with limited headroom, while torsion springs are typically used in newer garages and are considered to be safer.

Extension springs expand and contract to lift the garage door. They come in pairs, one on each side of the door, and may stretch out like a slinky when the door is lifted. Torsion springs work by slowly turning on a steel shaft located above the opening. These tend to be sturdier and last longer than extension springs.

It’s important to understand that choosing between extension and torsion springs depends wholly on your garage’s size and preferences, which means that there is no universal answer for which spring is best. A professional technician can help you figure out which type of spring suits your door best.

A homeowner in Calgary had an improperly fitted extension spring break when trying to adjust their opener setting leading to serious injuries and significant property losses.

Canadoor Garage Doors provides these consultations coupled with cautionary advice throughout the entirety of every repair, replacement, or installation job without overlooking even the smallest detail.

Now that we have discussed the risk factors for spring failure and types of garage door springs let us look at how you can take precautions against risks associated with spring failure.

Extension Springs vs Torsion Springs

Garage door springs come in two main types: extension springs and torsion springs. Extension springs are typically found on lighter garage doors, while torsion springs are more commonly used on heavier doors.

Extension Springs: These springs are usually mounted above the horizontal tracks of the garage door. They expand and contract to assist in opening and closing the door. The tampered coil shape when extended provides the amount of tension needed for lifting the door up and down. Extension springs can be very dangerous when they fail as they become like a whip that crackles under extreme tension; this can cause serious injury so it is important to inspect them regularly.

Torsion Springs: These consist of twisted metal coils that are placed horizontally above the garage door. They work by unwinding to lift the door and winding up to lower it back down again slowly. Torsion springs are much safer when compared to extension types since they don’t snap or fall apart when they break.

For example, imagine a spring with 180 lbs loaded onto it snaps at one end while in operation due to being over-pressurized. With such an event happening unexpectedly without any preventive measures taken, the released energy could set off a harmful chain reaction resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities.

Given these potential risks, it is important to choose carefully which type of garage door spring is right for you.

Essential Safety Measures and Precautions

Proper maintenance, regular inspections, and following guidelines should be taken into consideration for safe use of your garage door. Here are some essential safety measures that you should consider:

Firstly, make sure that your garage door has safety cables installed before purchasing one if it doesn’t already have them. Safety cables prevent any serious injury from occurring due to failures on extension springs by keeping them secured in place during malfunctioning.

Secondly, do not try to repair or replace broken springs by yourself unless you are a trained professional. Garage doors are heavy and complex machinery and systems that can cause serious injury if operated incorrectly.

For example, if an inexperienced person attempts DIY spring repair, it could cause the garage door to move unexpectedly through irregular operation which can be the cause of severe injuries like sprains, fractures or worse.

Thirdly, keep children and pets away from the garage door while it is in operation. It’s important to teach them the potential dangers of playing with damaging equipment so they can understand why being cautious is crucial.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial when it comes to garage door springs. As previously mentioned, garage door springs have a limited lifespan and can break over time. The average lifespan of a garage door spring is around 10,000 cycles or 7-10 years. This means that it’s important to have them inspected and maintained regularly by a professional garage door technician.

During the inspection, a technician will check the condition of the springs, cables, rollers, hinges, and other parts of your garage door. They will also lubricate and adjust any parts that need it. Additionally, they can identify any potential problems before they become major issues.

Neglecting regular inspections and maintenance can lead to serious problems down the road. A broken garage door spring can cause the door to slam shut or come crashing down, leading to injuries or damage to property. In some cases, a broken spring can even damage your entire garage door system.

Not only does regular inspection and maintenance keep you safe from harm, but it also prolongs the lifespan of your garage door system. By having a professional inspect and maintain your system regularly, you can save money in the long term by avoiding costly repairs or replacements.

It’s recommended to schedule an inspection and maintenance appointment with a professional technician at least once a year, although the frequency may vary depending on usage and other factors.

Handling a Garage Door Spring Emergency

If your garage door spring breaks unexpectedly and you’re unable to wait for a professional technician to arrive, there are certain safety precautions you can take in case of an emergency.

The first thing you should do in case of an emergency is to disconnect the automatic opener. This will prevent any further damage from occurring. You can do this by pulling the release cord attached to the opener mechanism. Make sure to stay clear of the opener mechanism when doing this as the door may slam shut.

After you have disconnected the opener, ensure that everyone in the vicinity of the garage door is aware of the situation and stays away from it until repair work has been completed. Keep pets and children away from the area as well.

If you need to manually open the garage door during an emergency situation, do so with caution. Disconnect the opener using the release cord and then lift the door manually from the bottom up. Be sure to keep your hands and feet away from the springs at all times as they are under a lot of tension.

Remember, garage door springs are dangerous and should only be handled by trained professionals. Attempting to fix or replace them yourself can lead to serious injury or further damage to your garage door system. Always contact a professional technician for any repairs or replacements needed.

Some homeowners may attempt DIY repairs on their garage doors, including repairing or replacing broken springs themselves. However, this is not recommended and can lead to more problems than solutions. Not only is it unsafe, but it can also cause more damage to your garage door system if not done properly.

Emergency Disconnection and Manual Opening

In some cases, emergencies happen and you may find yourself in a situation where your garage door spring snaps or fails, leading to serious injury or damage to your property. In these critical moments, it is essential to know how to disconnect the automatic opener and manually open the garage door.

To begin with, you should find the emergency release handle on your garage door opener system. This is usually a red cord or handle hanging from the operator rail that connects to the trolley. Pulling this cord will disconnect the trolley from the rail and release the tension on the spring system.

Once the trolley is disconnected from the rail, you can manually lift the garage door. However, keep in mind that garage doors are heavy and can cause harm if not lifted properly. Use caution and avoid straining yourself when lifting the door.

If you encounter difficulties lifting the door manually or notice any unusual noises or sounds as you operate it, stop immediately and call for professional assistance. Attempting DIY repairs on a broken spring or incorrectly operating your manual setup can result in injury and put your safety at risk.

Some homeowners may question why they should bother learning how to manually open their garage doors when an automatic opener is available. However, an automatic opener may be subject to power outages or malfunctions during emergency situations. Knowing how to operate your garage door manually could make all the difference in such circumstances.

In conclusion, every homeowner should have basic knowledge of how to manually operate their garage doors in case of emergency. Remember also to reach out for professional help when unsure of what to do next – your safety always comes first!