The average American garage door opens and closes 1500 times a year. Apart from being a modest unsung hero of the household, it is one of the heaviest moving objects in the home and sadly one of the most overlooked as well. While this massive machine protects the other end of your household, and not to forget your cars as well, it is always handy to know exactly how your garage door functions incase you have to go shopping for one, or have to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with yours at home. Garage doors have their own mechanics and it is important to know how they work in order to keep them functioning well.
Garage doors come as section rollers, where the door opens and closes with the help of rollers that are electronically managed or work as one single piece (which is more common), where the whole door goes up or down as a single unit, again triggered by electricity. This simple up and down, open and shut mechanics of the door is looked over by a number of counterbalances, springs and cables. The door moves up and down a track, via rollers that especially need attention on a regular basis.
Garage doors work with one principle, counterbalance the weight of the door with force that allows you to close and open the garage door. It is not the motor or any fancy equipment that does the load of the work in a garage door; it is the springs that are the real might behinds this unsung hero.
There are two basic systems that go to work here-
Torsion spring system
A torsion spring system is mounted horizontally above the door opening. It is one of the more commonly used mechanics for garage door functioning. As the door closes, the cables attached to the door bottom corners allow the spring to wind up. When the door opens, the springs unwind and the energy are transferred to lift the door.
Extension spring system
An extension spring system is where the spring is attached to cables that are attached at the bottom of the door. In this system, the springs are extended with the door is shut, and when the spring unwinds the energy is utilised to open the door.
Points to remember
The garage door is quite a heavy duty object and is capable of functioning smoothly and without much trouble provided you service it regularly. Like any other heavy duty object, necessary precaution needs to be exercised when you are handling such a machine. Things like spring, and cables and other hardware, should not be tampered with unless it is by authorised personnel, as it can lead to serious damage, injury and even death.
The garage door is not a play object and using it as one, is also dangerous. Weighing about 300 lbs, the door section while shutting can trap and injure fingers, hands and legs. Another thing to take care of is that the garage door functions with electricity, which if, manhandled can shock, leading to severe damage.