Torsion springs are a mainstay of overhead garage doors. Most homeowners have at least a passing knowledge of what they are and what they do. They know that the torsion spring sits above the door parallel to it and lifts and lowers the door by uncoiling and coiling respectively. They also know that torsion springs store massive amounts of energy when coiled and thus are extremely dangerous to work with and around. But what most homeowners aren’t aware of is that there are two main types of torsion springs, oil tempered and zinc galvanized, and that both have their advantages and disadvantages. In this post we’ll compare the different types of garage springs.

Once you are familiar with the types of springs, we can decide whether or not you want a single spring system of a two-spring system

Many garage doors use extension springs instead of torsion springs. Click the 'Torsion springs' link above to see the difference.

Comparing the Different Torsion Garage Springs From Loveland to South Denver

It can be useful to know about the different types of torsion springs. So below we’ll introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of both; oil tempered springs first.

oil tempered garage door torsion spring

Advantages of oil tempered springs

  • Strength and durability - The process of oil tempering results in a spring that is incredibly strong and durable. The oil tempered torsion spring will typically have a lifespan in the neighborhood of 10,000 up/down cycles which is usually good for 7 to 10 years.
  • Little or no adjustment required - If you maintain the oil tempered torsion spring properly they’ll almost never need to be adjusted. They are typically able to maintain their energy storage capabilities slightly longer than zinc galvanized springs.
  • Affordability - Perhaps the number 1 reason why oil tempered garage springs are the preferred choice of some garage door manufacturers is their affordability. This allows the manufacturer to keep the price of their garage door systems low and also means that the spring can be easily replaced if need be without breaking the homeowner’s bank.

Disadvantages of oil tempered springs

  • They rust - Oil tempered springs are prone to rusting. This can significantly shorten their lifespan and inhibit performance as well. One way to avoid the oil tempered spring rusting, snapping and requiring garage door repair is to have the pros from A Better Garage Door in to lubricate the spring on a regular basis.
  • They’re not attractive - Too many Colorado homeowners the fact that oil tempered springs are not exactly beautiful is not an issue. They’re high up on the wall out of sight so who is going to see them anyway? However some are more conscious of appearances and want a spring that looks good just in case someone should see it.

As you can see oil tempered springs have several things going for them that make them a popular choice for garage door manufacturers as well as homeowners. But what about zinc galvanized springs?

galvanized torsion spring
Dave Martin of Martin Door (one of our suppliers) holding a galvanized garage door torsion spring

Advantages of zinc galvanized torsion springs

  • They look great - Where oil tempered springs fail in the looks department zinc galvanized springs shine, literally. Where even well maintained oil tempered springs can look like they haven’t been cleaned in years zinc galvanized springs, due to the nature of the manufacturing process, retain a clean lustrous appearance that appeals to many homeowners.
  • They’re residue free - Garage door technicians will tell you that zinc galvanized springs arrive on the jobsite clean and aren’t burdened by the oily residue that emanates from oil tempered springs. This makes them easier to work with in that work gloves and clothes don’t wind up covered in that residue.
  • They resist rusting - Because they’re galvanized the zinc galvanized torsion spring will resist rust far better than the oil tempered spring ever will. This makes them a preferred choice in areas where high humidity is prevalent or in areas prone to flooding. Homes by the sea will also benefit from the rust resistant qualities of zinc galvanized garage springs.

Disadvantages of zinc galvanized torsion springs

  • More frequent adjustments - Because of the way they’re produced zinc galvanized springs will typically lose their tensile strength faster than oil tempered springs. Because of this you’ll need to have the pros in to rebalance your door from time to time or else you’ll wind up with a garage door that doesn’t open or close completely.
  • They can be a little noisy - As zinc galvanized springs coil and uncoil they can produce a high pitched squeal many homeowners find annoying. The sound will typically become even louder and more annoying as the spring ages. For some homeowners it’s simply too much and they wind up swapping out their zinc galvanized spring for an oil tempered spring.

So there you have it. Both the oil tempered spring and zinc galvanized spring will give you years of service and hardly ever require garage door repair. One is affordable but needs to be lubricated on a regular basis while the other is attractive but needs to be adjusted on a regular basis. Which one is right for you will depend on the location of your home as well as your own personal preferences.

The Advantages of a Two Spring System

When installing garage doors many home builders will use only a single spring. This is done for two reasons. 1) To save money and 2) because the builder correctly assumes that most of the time the new homeowner won’t think to check the number of springs on the overhead door. The builder’s assumption that most people won’t check is a fairly safe one because as any garage door service in Broomfield will tell you many homeowners (and would be homeowners) believe the number of springs on a garage door is pretty meaningless. After all, the thinking goes, it’s the “opener” that opens the door. Right?

Double Spring Garage Doors

The Truth About Garage Door Openers and Why You Need Springs

The opener in fact only supplies the initial push or pull and then acts as a regulator to make sure the movement of the door is smooth and safe. It’s actually the torsion or extension springs that do the heavy lifting. So whether your garage door has one or two springs will often times make a difference in how dependable your door is, how often it will need repair and how long it will last. That said let’s look at some of the advantages of having a two spring system on your garage door.

The Top Garage Door Service in Northglenn Explains the Value of Two Springs

Now that we have a better appreciation for the important role the springs play in the operation of the garage door let’s look at the two spring garage door system. The dual spring system actually has a number of advantages over most single spring systems for the following reasons:

  • It helps preserve the doors components - If you have a small engine in your car it’s going to have to work harder than a large engine to get you around. Because of this every component in the engine will be more susceptible to breaking down; and sooner rather than later. It’s the same with the garage door. A single spring puts pressure on other components like the bearing plates and side drums. It can also create twisting pressure on the rollers and the tracks if the door is opening and closing even a tiny bit unevenly. With a two spring system this type of twisting motion is eliminated while pressure is also relieved on the side drums, bearing plates and more.
  • You have a backup in case one of the springs breaks - With a single torsion or extension spring you could be in a very tight spot if you or someone else is under the door when the spring snaps. When that happens the full weight of the door (typically several hundred pounds) is transferred to the motor. But the motor, as we learned above, is not built to handle the full weight of the door. And so what often happens is that the spring snaps, the weight is transferred to the motor, the motor is overwhelmed, the opener arm breaks and the door comes crashing down. With a two spring system however if one spring snaps you have another one to absorb the weight and keep the door from plunging to the ground.
  • Extended life expectancy for each spring - The life of garage door springs, whether of the torsion or extension variety, are measured in ‘cycles’. One complete up and down motion is one cycle. If you have a single spring garage door that spring is taking the full weight of the door every time it opens and closes. If however you have two springs each is only absorbing half the load. As such you should be able to get twice as many cycles out of a pair of springs as opposed to a single spring simply because the two springs help each other carry the load equally.
  • Help in a pinch - If you have two extension springs and one of them breaks the door won’t come crashing down as we mentioned above because the remaining spring will shoulder the load. In such cases however, you may need to disengage the motor because only having one extension spring pulling from one side of the door will result in uneven pressure on the door and its components. If you need to open the door manually while you wait for the pros to arrive to fix your garage door springs in Broomfield you’ll find that the single spring makes it much easier to open the door than if there were no viable springs. And that’s important because the door can weigh hundreds of pounds.

There can be little doubt that a two spring garage door system is a safer, longer lasting and smoother running system than one with a single spring. If you need service on your garage door springs in Northglenn or need garage door service in Broomfield of any type call A Better Garage Door.