When it comes to garage doors most homeowners are well acquainted with the panels that make up the face of the door, the opener that gets the door moving and regulates its motion and some even know about the springs and the fact that they are the real work horses of the garage door mechanism. After that things get blurry for most folks with regard to identifying other components of the door. And that’s to be expected. Because most of the time there’s no need to worry about the more obscure elements of the door, like the cables for instance. But knowing what the different cables are and what they do is important.

Broken Garage Door Cable

Cables Explained by the #1 Garage Door Service in Northglenn and Broomfield

There are two types of cables on most garage doors: the cables that transfer the energy of the springs to the task of lifting the door and the safety cables that do their best to prevent you from getting hurt in the event of an accident with the springs. Let’s look at the lifting cables first.

The Lifting Cables

Contrary to popular belief the lifting mechanism of your door has little to do with the garage door opener. It’s actually the garage door springs that Broomfield homeowners can thank for the smooth, effortless way the door is lifted up and tucked away into the ceiling of the garage. But the springs themselves are not connected directly to the door. Instead, they’re connected to pulleys or drums over which run cables which transfer the energy of the springs to the task of lifting the door. Typically there is one “lifting” cable on each side of the door. If either of these cables break the door will raise and lower unevenly and will eventually fail altogether.

Types of Lifting Cables

Lifting cables assume one of two configurations because there are two types of springs used to lift the door. They are torsion or extension springs.

  • Torsion springs - store their energy by coiling. They sit against the wall above the door itself parallel to it. While lifting the door the torsion spring expends its stored energy. During the process of lowering the door the torsion spring coils back up storing energy for the next lift.
  • Extension springs - store their energy by extending. They run perpendicular to the door itself extending back into the garage space parallel to the tracks. Extension springs release their energy when lifting the door and then “recharge” themselves, as it were, as the door lowers and they extend.

With torsion springs the cables are wound around drums at both ends of an axle or spring shaft. As the spring shaft rotates the cables either extend to drop the door or coil around the drum to lift the door. These cables typically last for many years. If they become frayed and snap prematurely however your garage door service in Broomfield will need to figure out what type of obstruction is rubbing against the cable to cause the fraying, and fix it.

Extension springs have a pulley attached to the end over which runs a cable that provides lift for the door. Again, if one of these cables snaps and is not replaced the door will lift unevenly and eventually fail outright.

The Safety Cables

Safety cables are the cables you hope you never have to thank for saving your bacon. The safety cable extends from the door frame through the extension spring to the other end where it attaches to the hook screw that holds the spring. If the extension spring breaks the safety cable prevents the pieces from whipping around and potentially killing someone or causing grave bodily harm. Keeping the safety cables in good condition is important so that, should the day come when you actually need them, they’re there for you.

A Word of Caution

While it may be tempting to replace the lift or safety cable yourself it is in fact a very unwise thing to do. Any project that might bring you in contact with or require you to work on or around garage door springs should always be done by a highly trained, qualified professional. The amount of energy stored in garage door springs is enormous. Many people have died and many more been seriously injured working around them when they have snapped. Don’t become a statistic. Make sure any work done around your garage door springs in Northglenn is always performed by a qualified pro.

In order to insure your lifting and safety cables are always in prime condition have the technicians from A Better Garage Door perform an annual service check on your door mechanism. It could save you a lot of time, trouble and money in the long run.