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How to Check a Garage Door’s Balance

Garage door systems can be very dangerous to work on unless you are specifically trained to do so. This is due to the size of the door (it is the largest moving part of a home) and to the amount of energy story in the torsion springs which bear the load of the heavy doors. The procedure given here is a diagnostic only. To have any work performed on your system, please call an overhead door specialist such as those at Aaron’s Garage Doors here in Nashville.

Of the routine maintenance tasks on a garage door, checking the balance of the door is among the most critical. An out of balance door will fail sooner than it should and replacing springs can be one of the more costly repair jobs.

When checking a garage door’s balance, what is actually being done is checking how well the springs are counterbalancing the weight of the door. Id springs are old and/or fatigued, the door will feel heavier. An automatic opener will continue to work and you will not know there is a problem unless you check, or the door fails. The door should be checked about once per year for normal use; twice per year if it used more often:

  • Make sure the area around the garage door is clear. You will need to move across the length of the floor.
  • Pull the emergency release cord to disengage the door from the opener so that you can move the door by hand.
  • Raise and lower the door a few times. You should be able to feel any undo friction. If there is excessive squeaking (nails on a chalkboard!) you hinges may need to be lubricated.
  • Close the door and raise it to knee height. The second roller from the top should be at the radius of the track – the point where the track curves to move the door from vertical to horizontal. If the springs are good, the door should maintain this position. Slight movement is passable, but if the door moves to the ground the springs should be replaced.
  • Re-connect your garage door opener.

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