Double doors present special problems when installing electric locks as latching must occur at the top rail and threshold, simultaneously.
Electric locks that can be used on double doors are: electric-retracting exit devices, shear locks or magnetic locks working in conjunction mechanical vertical-rod exit devices.
For added convenience, both leafs of a set of double doors are sometimes electrified. This is a bad idea as both leafs release upon activation. The leaf that is accessed is allowed to swing closed and latch. The leaf that was not accessed might have come unlatched and without the momentum of the door being swung closed, the leaf might not securely latch, creating a situation where the door can later be pulled opened when it should be latched.
Additionally, only one leaf needs to be electrified. Electrifying both leafs is an unnecessary expense and increases the complexity of the installation twofold.
Whenever possible talk the customer into having a removable mullion installed in the center of the doors as it will make for a stronger installation by allowing an exit device to fasten in the middle of the frame versus top-and-bottom latching at the top rail and threshold. The cost of the removable mullion will be offset as electrified vertical-rod exit devices are much more expensive when compared with single-point latch equivalents. Before installing the removable mullion make sure that the AHJ approves.
AVOID MAINTENANCE TRAPS
Assuring the right hardware is installed eliminates needless callbacks. Let the customer know upfront if the hardware the customer has in mind to install is going to require callbacks.
For example, the customer might be set on using magnetic locks in an area where air pressure constantly fluctuates. During times where the air pressure is great, the closer might not be strong enough to bring the magnet close enough to grab the armature. The closer might be adjusted to compensate for this. At other times when the pressure is weak, the armature slams against the magnet, requiring another closer adjustment.
Up front, a power-assist closer needs to be recommended to address the air imbalance. If the customer balks at the added expense, note the condition during the original assessment and the fact the customer declined the suggestion.
Weather conditions can accelerate the need for maintenance.
In Figures 07 and 08, rust creeps in under an electric strike mounted less than 90 days. This is near the ocean where all types of electric hardware take a beating when exposed to the elements.
The installation of under-sized electric strikes can require continual maintenance, especially in high-traffic areas.
STANDALONE ELECTRIFIED LOCKSETS
Today’s standalone electrified locksets are outstanding choices for alternatives when considering the installation of electric locks. They are easy and less expensive to install; they usually comply with all codes; they are inexpensive as the cost to install saves many labor hours.
Modern standalones feature long battery life, and integrate several of the components that are normal parts of the installation. Some standalones offer wireless operation by key fob.
Limit personal liability by knowing the codes and regulations in your jurisdiction.
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