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Technical Advice Column
Hard to Open Doors and Door Closers
We have all probably encountered that very difficult heavy to open door. I have actually watched as an older person tried to open a door and just turned around and left thinking the door was locked. That can’t be good for business! Some times this is due to a sagging door rubbing the floor or the jamb. Often the jamb has swollen, the hinges are worn or the weatherstripping is preventing smooth operation of the door. Sometimes the door needs to be aligned. There are many ways to fix a bad door. But often an incorrect closer was installed. Sometimes a proper closer was installed incorrectly, greatly altering the factory engineered pressure, function and life of the closer.

Caution: A leaky door closer could be a potential danger. If you see oil stains near the closer or floor this indicates a bad seal. As the unit loses its fluid it also loses the ability to slow the door. The springs inside still close the door but eventually the closer will slam the door. There have been more than a few insurance claims and lawsuits due to injuries from this situation.

Door Closers - Are all door closers the same? No! Some are surface mounted. Some are concealed in the frame or floor. Some have a cushioned action, a door stop or hold open built into the arm. Some are actually automatic openers with safety features.

Why a particular model? In addition to the obvious differences there are differences usually only known to Security Professionals, Architects, and Door Hardware Specifiers. The correct Closer for a door takes into account the height and weight of the door. Another important consideration is interior or exterior? Finally the most important in today’s world seems to be the pressure consideration. How many pounds of pressure do you want the door to require for an entry or exit. For a business entrance, generally an ADA rated closer with a strong pull but light pressure provides a welcoming feel to visitors & customers. For a warehouse or emergency exit, a standard commercial closer is adequate, but should be the proper size and type for the door. Prevailing wind and air pressure from heating and cooling systems is a factor in determining closer size and setting the back-check and final sweep. All doors with closers or openers should have at least 1 Ball bearing hinge at the top. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) has mandated allowable pressures for Public doors.

 

 

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