What Size Torsion Spring do I need for my Garage Door?

Any garage expert understands that torsion springs are an integral part of the door mechanism. They’re incredibly popular for most home builders for their low costs, and they are consistently gaining popularity for their ease of use. Conversely, if you’re not familiar with the components of your garage door, the chances are that you will fall into the trap of buying parts not fitted with the current door you have. This brings us to the question, what size torsion spring do I need for my garage door? 

The standard size for torsion springs ranges between 1 3/4″ or 2 1/4″ inside diameters. Ideally, most doors that open and close manually use springs, and since garage doors typically weigh hundreds of pounds, opening them without the aid of springs would be practically impossible. With the help of the torsion spring, you should be able to operate your garage door manually without much trouble.


 Getting down to basics 

A torsion spring stores energy by coiling tightly as the door closes. When the door is at rest, the torsion spring stores an enormous amount of energy. This stored energy is then used when the door opens. As the door opens, the torque on the shaft keeps the cable tight on the cable drum. The cable then winds up on the cable drum, making the torsion spring to unwind.

When the torsion spring unwinds, it tends to lose some of its torque, and when this happens, it loses the amount of lift that it can produce. This is particularly common with vertical or high lift garage doors. When a garage door is fully opened, about 3/4 to 1 turn is still applied to each torsion spring. While the extra torque in the torsion spring is regarded as minimal compared to the torque when the garage door is closed, it still keeps the door open.

 Purchasing a garage door spring

One size fits all is something not quite applicable when buying a garage door spring. Every door requires a specific spring specification depending on the height and weight of the door. The typical spring size being 728, buyers must always keep in mind these five critical things. These basic things include the spring length, wire size, spring wind, inside diameter, and types of ends. For two-spring-type garage doors, it’s highly recommended that buyers measure and record each one’s specification. This way, they can be assured of getting the right spring for their door.

 How to measure your garage door springs 

Providing the correct torsion for your application should always be your number one priority. Here are a few steps you can use to measure your garage door spring.

Determining wind direction 

The first and crucial step is to determine the wind direction. On most springs, the wind direction is indicated by the color of the winding cones or cable drums, where red indicates a right-wound spring while black stands for the left-wound spring. Similarly, if the end of the spring points in the clockwise direction, it’s the left-wound and vice versa.

Measure the wire size

You can do this by measuring the length of ten or twenty coils of spring using inches. Afterward, compare that measurement to the garage door torsion spring to determine the correct wire size.

Measure the inside diameter of a torsion spring 

Before buying or replacing a garage door spring, you’ll need to measure and know the springs’ diameter. This is the most straightforward task on many garage door springs set as it doesn’t require any hectic measurements. It may involve checking the winding cone, and if you see a number like 1.75 or 2.0, the spring would have a 1 3/4-inch diameter.

If no number appears to be listed on the spring components, take a simple measurement by hand. To do this, place the spring down on a flat surface, then run a measuring tape or ruler along the spring’s inside diameter. The resulting measurement should be the diameter of the spring.

Measure the overall length of the torsion spring

Measuring the overall length of the torsion spring, which is integral to its winding capacity, is a pretty smart option. It’s one of the critical aspects of the unique power of automatic garage doors. For instance, If you have a larger door and then undersize the spring, you can’t expect to get the needed lifting and lowering ability. Therefore, you must measure the overall length of the torsion spring. It involves no unique understanding or special trick, making it perhaps the most straightforward steps. You’ll only need to run a tape measure along the length of a spring in terms of inches.

 Torsion spring longer life options

The torsion spring’s cycle life is determined by how many cycles it should make before it breaks. Ideally, the cycle life rating doesn’t account for premature breakage; conversely, it’s often caused by highly corrosive environments or chips in the steel. While the garage door industry’s standard cycle life is rated 10,000 cycles, springs less than 10,000 cycles are rated overstressed and are not always recommended for use.

However, if you prefer 10,000 spring cycles, your new torsion spring should have a larger wire size. With a larger wire, the longer it will take for the spring to break. Upon increasing the wire size, don’t forget to increase the length to keep the same lift and torque setting. For narrower, heavier doors, users are recommended to increase the inside diameter to offer enough space on the springs’ shaft to fit.

 Common torsion spring topics 

Below are some popular topics that interest most homeowners when opting for torsion spring purchases. While they seem critical and valuable, they don’t necessarily apply to all garage doors. Read on!

  • The need to replace torsion springs 

Just like any other machine, there will come a time you’ll need to replace torsion springs. For garage doors with two torsion springs, it’s highly recommended that you replace them both. This is because most doors have springs with a similar cycle life rating, and when one breaks, there’s a higher probability that the other spring will also break too much sooner. It’s better and wise to replace them both as it saves you time and money

  • Spring steel 

With the recent concerns about the type of steel used in springs, we felt the urge to address it. Chinese imported steel and springs are often rated more brittle or not properly heat-treated, causing them to fail prematurely. The aluminum alloy cones springs made in Canada haven’t had any product failures yet. However, springs made in the United States are highly rated to be made with high-quality steel and are relatively dependable. We also recommend oil-tempered coated torsion springs and not galvanized ones as they tend to lose more tension than oil-tempered ones. Conversely, if your garage door is in a highly corrosive environment, you may opt for galvanized torsion springs as they help prolong the springs’ life.

  • Diverse spring dimensions 

Although it’s possible to use unmatched springs, it’s more likely that you’ll get the maximum cycle life out of a pair of springs when they have the same wire size, length, and inside diameter. While unmatched springs have the proper lift, their cycle rating may differ by over fifty percent, which to me is wasted dollars. So, basically, to maximize torsion spring life, buy springs that are evenly matched in lift and cycle life.

 Frequently asked questions

Do I really need a torsion spring?

See, torsion springs offer a smoother, less dangerous, and longer lifespan operation. As such, it’s much pretty apparent that you need a torsion spring. Single garage doors take one torsion spring while double ones take two springs. For hefty single doors, you may still use two springs.

 What’s the role of torsion springs?

They are commonly used in garage doors, clipboards, or clothespins. Its other types of applications include lever returns, hinges, or counterbalances. It provides a clothespin with its ability to clamp down on other items and works by storing energy in a twisting, rotational motion.

 Are longer torsion springs any better?

Well, in most cases, when using larger springs, it’s very much possible that you’ll quadruple your spring life while only doubling the cost of the springs. So if you’re planning to live where you are for a long time, you may want to try the extra-long life torsion springs.

Final thoughts

When it comes to automatic spring doors, most homeowners assume that such doors utilize more or less the exact same set of parts. Conversely, even with the narrow category of spring-powered doors, this is not always the case. Torsion springs have a lot to offer in terms of smoother operation and more extended durability. So, when opting for a torsion spring, it’s crucial to find a blend of experience, affordability, and quality, as we have stated above. Go to a supplier with a proven track record and one who you can rely on for high-quality products.

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