The Mechanics of the Suburban Fixture Known as the Garage Door

garage-doorThe garage is a fundamental part of any functional house as you mostly rely on it to keep your property secure. The automated garage door has been a useful innovation (since the invention of the car) and although the mechanics of the system may seem fairly straightforward, have you ever asked yourself how it snaps back so effortlessly into place?

Torsion Spring

Contrary to popular belief, the torsion springs and not the motor do all the work. A vast majority of today’s garage doors are embedded with torsion springs, which are characteristically located above the door opening horizontally. When the door begins to close, cables attached at the bottom corners cause the springs to wind upwards, which releases stored energy. As the door continues to open fully, the springs unwind themselves bit by bit, and the energy released allows the door to lift.

Extension Spring

Another system used to open garage doors is the extension spring system, which is not as popular as the torsion springs mechanism. It works by utilizing the springs attached to cables that are found at the bottom corner of the door, much like the way the torsion cables are positioned. When the garage door shuts, the springs stretch, and when it opens, the energy conserved in the springs hauls up the door. The torsion system has more advantages over the extension spring mechanism because the extension springs weaken each time you operate the door. So you can save money effectively by choosing the torsion system due to its longer durability.

The Motorworks

A typical garage door motor is approximately a 1/2-hp, 6-amp machine that is connected to a volt outlet. The voltage of about 120V is all the power a garage door needs to function properly. Manufacturers also incorporate an inverter and battery to create space for smaller more proficient motors that convert AC power into DC, which explains why your garage door still works even when there is no power. A T-rail guides and protects the door’s chain or belt as it opens and shuts the garage door. The height of the garage door or the distance traveled is determined by the operator with the help of the controls on your remote. Once you press the button to open the door, the remote sends a code to your door’s receiver, allowing it to open the door.

Although a number of garage doors still use the torsion spring system, recent modifications include changes in design to make the various models of doors available aesthetically pleasing, less noisy and lightweight. Today’s doors are also better insulated, with other modifications including the use of polyurethane panels that measure the infiltration of air.

Now that you know how automated garage doors work, you’ll be better equipped to make a well informed purchase. If you are like me, however, and prefer to leave the technical details to the experts, you can simply head on to Garage Automatics to see the latest in automated garage door technology as well as reviews on each one that’s out on the market – updated regularly. Check them out at

Final Words

Good luck in your search for the perfect garage door for your home. You’ll pretty much have a basic knowledge of how the mechanics work, which will come in handy should repairs do as well. Cheers!