How a Garage Door Works

New garage door Boulder Garage DoorsOur friendly staff at Boulder Garage Door in Boulder, Colorado is here to provide insight on how a garage door works. We know that has been a burning question on your mind for quite some time now. Today, you can finally find out the answers! Really, we promise that it’s pretty interesting.

The Importance of Your Garage Door

Obviously, your garage door is an important element of your home. It is the largest entry point to your home and as such has both insulation and security concerns. Modern doors have a myriad of safety, security, and energy efficiency features. But how does the system work? Let’s take a look.

The Garage Door

The door itself is the most obvious part of the garage door system. There are tons of options out there, so you’ll want to choose your garage door with care. After all, you’ll be looking at it and using it for a while. Whatever style you prefer, the function of the door is the same. Its purpose is to seal the opening of your garage against the elements and intruders.

The Springs

The whole purpose of having a door is so that you can open it. But garage doors are hefty, especially wide ones for a two car garage. They can easily weigh a couple hundred pounds or more. So, springs are key to how a garage door works.

The material out of which your door is built also plays a role as some are heavier than others. Insulation is another factor. A door with insulation will be substantially heavier than the same door without.

Now imagine trying to open that garage door by hand. Doesn’t sound pleasant, does it? The springs step in to solve this problem. The springs work to combat the force of gravity pulling down on the door which makes the door seem lighter.

There are two main types of springs, extension and torsion. Extension springs stretch out as the door goes down. Since they are seeking to return to their scrunched-up state, they exert a pulling force on the door. This causes the door to lower slowly and helps lift it up when opening the door.

Extension springs tend not to last as long as torsion springs. They can also be dangerous when they start to fail. If someone is nearby when one breaks, they could be injured. If you’re troubleshooting garage door issues, give us a call if you think the issue involves your springs. Please leave repairs to the experts.

Torsion springs are located above the door usually. They provide a balancing force to the door. As they don’t stretch out and put themselves under pressure, they are generally safer. They also tend to last longer. Still be very cautious, though!

Choose your garage door springs carefully. The bigger and heavier your door, the heavier duty springs you will need. The weight also determines how many springs you need. There are various sizes, and some are rated for 10,000, 20,000 or even up to 30,000 cycles of is opening and closing the door.

Let’s look at how long that is in a practical sense. If you open your door 4 times a day, it will take 10 years to open it 15,000 times. Most springs last somewhere between 7-12 years.

The Cables and Drums

Springs are working whether your door is connected to an automatic opener or you disconnect it to open it by hand. They help both you and your opener to manage the weight of the garage door.

There are a few other components that are part of the automatic opening system. On either side of the door, you’ll notice a drum and cable. When it comes to how a garage door works, these cables provide the lifting force to open the door.

The Tracks and Rollers

If you look up on either side of your garage door, you’ll see tracks that extend from the door back into your garage. This is where the door goes when it rolls up.

Rollers are attached to the sides of the doors. They kind of look like the wheels that you would see on roller blades. They are made from various materials: plastic, nylon, and steel. And you can choose how many ball bearings you want inside.

When you activate the opener, here’s how a garage door works: the cables begin to pull, and the rollers follow the tracks up until the door has cleared the opening. Choose the rollers carefully as they affect how much noise your garage door makes when opening and closing.

The Opener

The final component is the garage door opener itself. There are several different types, although the screw drive, chain drive, and belt drive all work similarly. In the screw drive there is a slider and in the other two, a gear and sprocket system. Each respective system drives either the slider or the sprocket to cause the door to open or close. Screw drives and chain drives are strong but noisy. Belt drives are quieter but not quite as strong.

There is one other type of opener that is entirely different from the other three, the jackshaft opener. This type only works with a door that has torsion springs. Instead of mounted on the ceiling, this opener goes on the wall next to the door and attaches directly to the bar where the torsion springs are. It exerts force on the torsion springs to open and close the door.

Because of the side mount, this system is advantageous in cases where height clearance is an issue. It is also a powerful door opener system and works well with heavy doors. However, you will pay for the conveniences of this system, as it is typically more expensive than the other types.

We hope that this article about how a garage door works has been interesting and informative. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Boulder Garage Door. We can provide a new opener, new garage door, even expert repairs, and our more than 40 years of experience makes us a perfect choice for any job. We look forward to helping you.

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