What is a “Door Closer” and Why Should I Care?

 

What’s that thing on top of your door that closes it behind you?

It’s a closer.

We often hear these referred to as “closures,” “closer-arms,” and “arms.” A closer is an adjustable, spring-loaded mechanism filled with hydraulic fluid that dampens the door swing. Closer hydraulic fluid is very similar to what is found in the shocks on the suspension of your car. And just like the shocks on your car, when the seals fail and the hydraulic fluid leaks out, it’s time to replace them! A building owner or facility manager should be aware of the basic maintenance and upkeep on door closers.

Indications that a closer may be failing include:

  • Leaked oil stains on the door
  • A door that slams or proceeds faster through the swing-cycle than it used to
  • A closer that will no longer take adjustments.

Failed closers can be dangerous. Without a controlled swing, doors can slam and pinch fingers, or fly open into people or other parts of the building. This can cause additional damage and maintenance issues. In fact, there are building codes and standards focused on providing handicap accessibility that set specific restrictions on how fast a closer can close a door. If the closer slams the door, or makes the door too hard to open, the door may be in violation of these codes.

Also, to maintain its fire-rating, a fire-rated door must be installed with a working closer. If the closer is not closing the door completely, the fire protection of the building can be compromised.

So, if a door isn’t closing, does that mean a failed closer is to blame? Not necessarily. Issues like frost heave, door sag, and frame condition can all play a part in proper door operation.

Rely on your LaForce representative to guide you in troubleshooting your door maintenance questions!

Special thanks to Mike Morse, a LaForce Building Products Consultant in Madison, WI. He also contributed practical tips in these previous blogs:

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