As a home expert witness, I am called upon often times a year to evaluate garage door injuries. Garage doors come in many shapes and sizes. Their functions vary from basic security of an area to cosmetic concealment. Most doors may be broken into several basic styles or categories. Typical modern garage doors for residential applications are generally predominantly of the overhead sectional variety. That style of door will come in many configurations, materials, quantities of insulation, and a wide variety of appearance possibilities. They're available as a prefabricated kit, or built as a custom design to fit the decor of any building. Commercial warehouse type installations often dictate higher security requirements. A great choice with this security type of door could be the "roll-up" style that resembles a spin top desk type of door. This door may be manufactured with many different materials that is as strong while the adjacent walls, making forced entry through this opening very difficult. Other common commercial installations include light weight aluminum single or sectional panel doors. These doors function more for closing off a currently secured area than for assuring point security. garage doors
Previously, the greatest concern with operating an overhead garage door was the potential risks associated with the springs used for balancing the entranceway weight. Pre mid 1960's garage door installations typically relied upon a pair of stretched (tensioned) springs to assist the operation of the garage door pivoting hinges. These springs became loaded (tensioned) as the entranceway was moved in to the closed position. Unloading (releasing) of the stored spring energy occurred as the entranceway was opened to the horizontal overhead position. One of the very most dangerous aspects of these spring systems was that if a time frame, often without any maintenance or inspection, the points of attachment of those springs would rust or become weak. This weakening of the springs or points of attachment would often cause an inadvertent explosive failure flinging the broken spring components over the garage, embedding the spring or steel components in to the garage walls, cars or other things in the path of travel. Unfortunately, sometimes people were in the path of travel of those explosive occurrences. As these springs failed, being an attempted safeguard, some manufacturers devised a "caging" system for the springs. These cages were retrofitted onto the stretched springs in an endeavor to recapture the parts that could release in case a failure occurred. While these caging devices were helpful, these were not completely effective. A few of these spring devices are still used today. Whenever this disorder exists or the quality of garage components is questionable, a qualified professional service technician must be consulted.electric doors for garage
In a reaction to the inherently dangerous old style garage spring issues as above, a newer and safer system for opening the overhead garage door was created. The concept was to transfer the strain or weight of the entranceway using a cable and pulley system to a vertical rod now built with a torsion (twisted) spring. This kind of spring is installed with specialty hardware and bolts to a fixed plate at one end, while the whole spring is installed around an outside pipe. This load balancing device is normally installed directly on the header of the garage opening. Using appropriate cables, connectors and pulleys, the weight of the garage door is transferred in to the torsion spring system. The difference between the old style stretched spring and the newer torsion spring is just how that the spring energy is stored. With the old style stretched spring, the vitality is stored and released by pulling on the spring or returning the spring to its un-stretched condition. With a torsion type of spring, the vitality is imparted or removed by rotating the spring clockwise or counter clockwise dependant on the direction of usage. With professional installation, the entire loading of the torsion spring is controlled by the garage installer, and is determined by the weight and size of the garage door that it's operating. When this kind of torsion spring fails, it remains attached and intact to the positioning on the horizontal control rod where it was mounted. I haven't been aware of or seen any torsion spring fly across a garage, creating injury from failed components as with the stretched older style garage door springs. That is not saying that injuries haven't occurred with the torsion style spring. The installing of this kind of spring is generally safe when left to a qualified garage door installation professional. Severe and serious injuries have occurred when untrained, unqualified individuals have attempted to install or service this kind of spring.