All garage doors have springs, which are an essential part of any garage door system. Springs are the mechanism that allows you to easily move the door up and down. The two main types of spring systems that we’ll talk about here are the garage door Torsion Springs and Extension Springs.
Torsion springs are the most common system in households today though there are other spring systems out there like Wayne Dalton Torquemaster Garage Door Spring etc... They all use different parts, but the principle behind them is the same, which, simply put, they balance and support the weight of the door.
The torsion spring is located above the garage door and it uses a torsion system. Each garage door has a specific size spring, and the size is determined by the weight of the door. Heavier doors require a larger spring to operate the door. In a single car garage, you will usually find one spring and double car garages have two (in some rare cases four springs may be needed). In a regular residential garage door, 16x7, you need to wind the springs 7 ¼ times. Each full wind of the spring is equal to one foot of garage door height. For example, a 7 ft. garage door requires 7 turns. The extra ¼ turn is required to ensure the cables on each side of the garage door will still have tension when the door is fully opened.
The extension springs work differently. Unlike torsion springs, any system with extension springs must have two springs (Or 4), no matter what size the door. When the door is down, the extension spring is completely stretched and has a lot of tension. The spring takes the weight of the door and the tension is used to pull the door up. Like a torsion spring, extension springs have different sizes and each size is marked by a different color (blue, white, yellow, red, green, and gold).
Also similar to torsion springs, the heavier doors require larger springs. Unlike the torsion spring, the extension spring has two big drawbacks. First, both sides of the springs need to be installed in the same position for smooth operation. If not installed properly, the garage door becomes rickety, resulting in noisy operation and worn out parts like rollers, cables and hinges. Second, is safety. Any extension spring must be installed with a safety cable. When the spring breaks, the cable will prevent it from flying around and potentially causing an injury.
Unfortunately, from personal experience, many houses with extension springs system do not have a safety cable installed. If you are reading this and you have extension springs, please check to ensure you have a safety cable.