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November 05 2015


Garage Doors - A quick Tutorial on Garage Door Safety and Installation

As a door expert witness, I am called upon many times per year to evaluate garage door injuries. Garage doors come in many shapes and forms. Their functions cover anything from basic security of an area to cosmetic concealment. Most doors can be broken down into a few basic styles or categories. Typical modern garage doors for residential applications are usually predominantly of the overhead sectional variety. That kind of door comes in many configurations, materials, levels of insulation, and a great deal of appearance possibilities. They come as a prefabricated kit, or built like a custom design to complement the dacor associated with a building. Commercial warehouse type installations often dictate higher security requirements. Great for this security sort of door is the "roll-up" style that resembles a roll top desk type of door. This door may be manufactured with a various materials that can be as strong since the adjacent walls, making forced entry through this opening very hard. Other common commercial installations include metal single or sectional panel doors. These doors function more for closing off a previously secured area than for assuring point security. Garage Door Service And Repairs And Installs

Previously, the biggest concern with operating an overhead door was the potential risks linked to the springs used for balancing the doorway weight. Pre mid 1960's garage door installations typically relied upon a set of stretched (tensioned) springs to aid the operation of the garage door pivoting hinges. These springs became loaded (tensioned) because the door was moved to the closed position. Unloading (releasing) in the stored spring energy occurred because door was opened towards the horizontal overhead position. The most dangerous aspects of these spring systems was any time a period of time, often without the maintenance or inspection, what exactly of attachment of those springs would rust or become weak. This weakening with the springs or points of attachment would often bring about an inadvertent explosive failure flinging the broken spring components across the garage, embedding the spring or steel components to the garage walls, cars or any other items in the path of travel. Unfortunately, sometimes citizens were in the path of travel of these explosive occurrences. Since these springs failed, as a possible attempted safeguard, some manufacturers devised a "caging" system to the springs. These cages were retrofitted to the stretched springs so that they can capture the parts that could release if a failure occurred. While these caging devices were helpful, they were not completely effective. Some spring devices are still used today. Whenever this problem exists or the quality of garage components are questionable, a professional professional service technician must be consulted. Garage Door Service And Repairs And Installs

In response to the inherently dangerous old style garage spring issues as above, a more recent and safer system for opening the overhead garage door was created. The idea ended up being to transfer the load or weight from the door via a cable and pulley system with a vertical rod now built with a torsion (twisted) spring. This sort of spring is installed with specialty hardware and bolts into a fixed plate on one side, while the entire spring is installed around a horizontal pipe. This load balancing device is normally installed directly over the header of the garage opening. Using appropriate cables, connectors and pulleys, the extra weight of the garage door is transferred in the torsion spring system. The gap between the old style stretched spring as well as the newer torsion spring is the way that the spring energy is stored. With all the old style stretched spring, the energy is stored and released by pulling about the spring or returning the spring to its un-stretched condition. Having a torsion type of spring, the force is imparted or removed by rotating the spring clockwise or counter clockwise dependant on the direction of usage. With professional installation, the total loading of the torsion spring is controlled with the garage installer, which is determined by the weight and sized the garage door that it must be operating. When this form of torsion spring fails, it remains attached and intact towards the location on the horizontal control rod where it had been mounted. I have not got word of or seen any torsion spring fly across a garage, creating injury from failed components like with the stretched older style garage door springs. This is not to express that injuries never have occurred with the torsion style spring. Setting up this type of spring is generally safe when left into a trained garage door installation professional. Severe and heavy injuries have occurred when untrained, unqualified individuals have attempted to install or service this type of spring. In most installations, a warning tag is left attached close to the torsion spring when the garage door is installed. This tag warns with the danger associated with the stored energy on this spring, and alerts untrained people to not attempt any repair, adjustment in order to even touch the spring and associated hardware. Once the label that should be attached with this spring becomes damaged, is removed or tampered with, it is crucial that a new warning label be reattached immediately to indicate the dangers of this spring tension

Garage doors can be operated manually (by hand), as well as automatically (by power assisted motor). In the two caser, the proper operation with the garage door is determined by the appropriate balancing of the door weight, springs and related component hardware. A mechanical power assisted motor cannot overcome an improperly balanced door. The weight of all doors is normally deceptive. Mainly because that a properly functioning door appears an easy task to open and close, many users don't realize the combined overall weight until springs are not able to assist the door rolling around in its operation. In all cases, regardless of the type of garage door, the entire system of hinges, track, hardware, and door opener act as a team. Problems with misalignment, shifting, or jamming can cause problematic operation of the door. Counter forces imparted to a garage door, not engineered into the components, can lead to injury. Inappropriate maintenance or complete lack of maintenance has lead to severe bodily injuries. Forcing the process of a garage door, when more than one components have become damaged or broken has resulted in serious bodily injuries. In all cases, maintenance is a crucial and important aspect of proper operation of all door systems.

Contrary to an overhead type of garage door, be it sectional or single panel, rollup doors have a totally different type of operating system. When these doors are employed, they can be concealed in an overhead or under mounted trough. These doors operate much like a roll top desk door aside from how they are stored when they are not in the closed position. They normally coil as they are retracted, and require significant gear trains to cut back the effort required to move these doors around into position. Often the forces required to move these roll up doors require a reduction kind of transmission that allows a very heavy door to become operated effortlessly. These doors might be chain driven either manually, or may be automated using electric motors. Roll up doors require more frequent evaluation and servicing than the usual standard overhead garage door. The tracks that are mounted vertically on both sides of the garage opening need maintenance and cleaning with greater regularity, and are often blocked by foreign obstructions or damaged by collision of some type. These roll up doors tend to be held open by a few type of ratcheting action. Proper balancing of such doors is often more vital than an overhead sort of door, as the weight of those type of doors is commonly much greater than an overhead door.

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