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Door Counter-balance and Cable/Bottom Bracket Inspection

Fall is here in Minnesota and we know what's coming next....Winter!

Here is the first in a series of garage door inspections that you can easily do to prepare your garage door and opener for the long winter ahead.

How to Perform a Garage Door Spring Test

DO NOT RELEASE the garage door opener safety release with the door in the open position. If a spring is broken or severely out of adjustment, the door could fall causing death or severe injury. Caution: If you are the least bit unsure, or do not understand this procedure, please, contact a professional garage door service to inspect your door.

First, with the garage door in the completely CLOSED position, release the garage door opener safety release.

Next, raise the garage door manually, so that the bottom of the door is in the middle of the opening. Be sure the path from the door bottom to the floor is clear, (children, pets, feet, hands, objects, etc.). The door should raise with little effort and stay positioned in the mid- open position. If the door goes down with any amount of force, falling, or heavy, your spring system is out of adjustment and needs to be addressed.

All garage door spring systems have a life cycle, typically 5,000- 10,000 cycles, and begin to wear as soon as they are put in to use. Because 95% of garage doors have openers on them, we do not notice when the spring goes out of adjustment, causing undue wear and damage to the opener.

My older brother called me late one evening to say that he was at his son's house because they could not get the garage door to close properly. The opener was making a grinding noise & the door kept going back up. He wanted to know if I could help him trouble shoot the problem over the phone from 100 miles away. I said sure, I'll help.

With the advent of smart phone technology and a few questions, I was able to determine that the door was 10 years old, and that the spring was so severely out of adjustment, that the top two feet of door close travel was completed only by the opener and not the torsion spring! Garage door openers were never designed to open or close doors with out the spring counterbalance assistance.

Well, eventually, the door "dumped" the cables, and they had become tangled and bound on the cable drums the door couldn't move. I might add that this was a monster of a door - 16x8 with windows, and a pair of 2" x .283 x 41" torsion springs. The door weighed about 400 pounds!

We determined that this door was going nowhere and that the services of a professional door technician was needed, the door stayed open that night since daylight was needed to properly access the situation and wait for the technician.

I explained to my brother that what we needed to do was to get the cables untangled on the cable drums, and to do that in the dark with no experience and less than ideal circumstances was almost a guaranteed hand/finger amputation.

He called Pete Hawkins, the owner of Hawkins Overhead Door of Wabasha, Minnesota,, who came right over the next morning and replaced the cables and properly adjusted the garage door torsion springs.

Thank you for your prompt and professional service Pete!

Door Counter-balance and Cable/Bottom Bracket Inspection