The Science of Springs: Understanding the Role of Torsion and Extension Springs in Installation

When it comes to garage door systems, springs are the unsung heroes that bear the brunt of the heavy lifting. Torsion and extension springs are two common types used in garage door installations, each with its unique mechanism and function. In this article, we delve into the science behind springs, exploring how torsion and extension springs work, their role in garage door installation, and the importance of proper installation techniques.

Understanding Torsion and Extension Springs

  • Torsion Springs:

Our fellow garage door experts at Overhead Door explain how torsion springs are tightly wound coils of metal that store mechanical energy when twisted. They are mounted horizontally above the garage door opening and are typically positioned on a shaft. When the garage door is closed, torsion springs are under tension, storing energy. As the door is opened, the springs unwind, releasing stored energy to help lift the door.

Torsion springs are known for their durability and reliability, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial garage doors. They provide smoother operation and require less space compared to extension springs.

  • Extension Springs:

Extension springs, as the name suggests, extend and contract to counterbalance the weight of the garage door. They are typically mounted on both sides of the door track and are connected to the door’s bottom brackets. When the door is closed, extension springs are stretched to store energy. As the door is opened, the springs contract, exerting force to help lift the door.

Extension springs are more common in older garage door systems and are often found in residential settings. They are cost-effective and easier to install but may require more maintenance compared to torsion springs.

The Role of Torsion and Extension Springs in Installation

Proper installation of torsion and extension springs is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of a garage door. Here’s how they factor into the installation process:

  • Measurement and Calculation: Before installation, precise measurements must be taken to determine the appropriate size and type of springs required for the garage door. Factors such as the weight of the door, its size, and the available space will influence the selection of springs.
  • Mounting and Attachment: Torsion springs are typically mounted above the door opening on a shaft, while extension springs are mounted on both sides of the door track. During installation, springs must be securely attached to the door and properly aligned to ensure smooth operation.
  • Tension Adjustment: Adjusting the tension of torsion and extension springs is a critical step in installation. Torsion springs require precise winding to achieve the correct amount of tension, while extension springs may need adjustment to balance the door properly.
  • Safety Precautions: Handling garage door springs can be dangerous due to the high tension they are under. During installation, technicians must take appropriate safety precautions to prevent accidents or injuries. This may include wearing protective gear and using specialized tools.
  • Testing and Adjustment: After installation, the garage door system must be thoroughly tested to ensure proper operation. Technicians will check for smooth movement, balance, and alignment, making any necessary adjustments to springs or other components.

Importance of Professional Installation

While DIY installation of garage door springs may seem tempting, it’s not recommended due to the risks involved. Professional installation by trained technicians ensures that springs are properly sized, installed, and adjusted to meet safety standards. Here are some reasons why professional installation is essential:

  • Safety: Garage door springs are under high tension and can cause serious injury if mishandled. Professional technicians have the knowledge and experience to safely install and adjust springs without risk.
  • Accuracy: Proper installation requires precise measurements and calculations to ensure that springs are appropriately sized and tensioned. Professional technicians have the expertise to achieve the correct balance and tension for optimal performance.
  • Warranty Protection: Many manufacturers require professional installation to maintain warranty coverage. DIY installation may void the warranty, leaving homeowners liable for any repairs or replacements.
  • Peace of Mind: By hiring professionals to install garage door springs, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that the job is done correctly and safely. Professional installation minimizes the risk of malfunctions or accidents, providing long-term reliability and performance.


Torsion and extension springs are vital components of garage door systems, providing the necessary force to lift and lower the door safely and efficiently. Understanding the science behind springs and their role in installation is essential for homeowners and technicians alike. By entrusting the installation of garage door springs to professionals, homeowners can ensure the safety, reliability, and longevity of their garage door system.

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