If your garage door suddenly stops working, the problem might be a broken spring. Garage door springs gradually wear out because they are under such heavy use. There's not a lot you can do to prevent it. Here's how to tell if your spring is broken or worn out and what you should do about it.
There are two types of springs for garage doors. Extension springs are located on each side of the door. The torsion spring is a big, heavy spring that runs along the top of the door. The torsion spring is under a lot of tension, so if it breaks, it makes a loud pop. If you hear the popping noise, or if you see the spring is split when you try to open the garage door, you should call a contractor to replace the spring since the job is too dangerous to do yourself.
Extension springs on the other hand, can wear out at different rates and cause your door to become unbalanced. A worn out spring can give you trouble even if the spring is still in one piece. You can test how well your springs are working by operating your door manually. Pull your door halfway down and release it. The door should not slide further. When you raise and lower the door by hand, it should slide smoothly along the track. If your door sticks or slips, a spring could be worn out or out of balance. It's a good idea to test your door like this every few weeks, so you can be aware of problems before they become emergencies.
If a spring is worn out or out of alignment, the contractor may be able to adjust it rather than having to replace the spring. If one extension spring is worn or broken, the contractor will probably go ahead and replace both of the springs, so they wear out at the same rate. That way, you shouldn't have to worry about replacing the springs again for several years. While it's possible you can replace the extension springs yourself if you are good at home repairs, you should only do so if you know what you're doing. Even extension springs can be dangerous to work with, and your garage door may be heavy enough to cause bodily damage if it falls on you.
When you call a contractor (such as one from Dorsey Garage Doors) to repair or replace your garage door springs, you can use the opportunity to have your entire door system inspected and serviced. This ensures your track is clean, lubricated, balanced properly, and ready to provide you with years of safe operation.