Door closers are extremely important to the safety and security of any door. They provide a means of controlling the door’s swing, which is necessary to be sure the door closes completely and operates so as not to injure individuals using the door.
Door closer operation is part of both NFPA 80 which addresses fire door assemblies, and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) which addresses accessibility issues.
NFPA 80 says that a fire rated door must be closed and latched at the time of a fire. Therefore, the door must be closed unless someone is entering/exiting. If the building code permits the use of door holders interfaced with fire/smoke detection, the door should be closed and latched.
Note that latched doesn’t mean locked. Whether a door is locked from the outside is a security issue that does not involve Life Safety or ADA codes. Locking the door from the inside (protected) side is rarely permitted and well beyond the scope of this article.
ADA spells out the pressures required to open a door, the force allowed to close a door and the speed at which a door may travel. The door closer is the component which controls these parameters.
The door closer is just one component in a door system, and it is part of the locksmith and security practitioners’ responsibilities to be able to install, adjust and troubleshoot a door closer just like he or she would be able to service a lock or a hinge.
However the door closer may not be the root cause of a problem with a door, and therefore replacement or adjustment of the door closer may not always provide the solution to the problem
Issues which will affect proper door operation include:
Wind: Grabbing the door and preventing it from closing or pushing on the door forcing it to shut
Latch Bind & Alignment: Where the lock and strike are out of alignment, or otherwise not in harmony
Weather Stripping: Gaskets, sweeps, etc. interfering with the clear swing and latch of the door and frame
Threshold Rub: Caused by frame racking, the threshold rising, or the door dropping
Stack Pressure: When the buildings air handling system pushes out on the door
Door Frame Misalignment: caused by damage to the door, frame or hinges
If any of these conditions exist on a door, don’t expect the door closer to be able to overcome them.
And remember, if you are installing access control or a lock on a door, or even doing a rekey, once you touch the door, you own it from a liability standpoint.
First ask yourself:
- Will the equipment you are offering fit on the door?
- Once your equipment is installed, will the door actually work properly?
The LCN 4040 is an excellent door closer for commercial applications. Although its installation is relatively straightforward, proper planning and careful execution is vital for a successful installation.
On a recent project I wanted to install a 4040 on the pull side of the door.
The critical dimensions of this type of install are arm and closer mounting locations. Since the closer is relatively heavy and subject to torque and pressure, through bolt (Sex bolt) mounting is preferred so the closer does not separate from the door and fall.
Take time to be sure the four holes required for mounting the closer located accurately on either side of the door so the pattern lines up with the closer, and the thru-bolts will align. Also be sure you have a clean shot for the holes through the door.
For example, my most recent door had a reinforcing channel at the top whose depth exactly coincided with where the 4041 template said the top mounting holes should go.
If I shifted the pattern up, my top pair of holes would be in the channel which would not adequately support the door closer. If I shifted the pattern down to clear the reinforcement partition, the arm of the closer would interfere with the top of the door since on the pull side mount the arm travels over the top edge of the door while it opens.
LCN has solutions for this. I used their drop plate.
The LCN 4040XP is the second generation heavy duty door closer designed to withstand even more rigorous applications.