Have you ever gone into a building where the door operated smoothly, but felt really heavy to open; or even walked into a place only to have the door slam behind you? Most, if not all, commercial buildings have door closers. Door closers serve two important functions; one is to make sure the door latches behind every person entering, this makes sure the door will be locked when needed, the other is that they keep the door closed which keeps the building at the desired temperature. Door closers are usually hydraulic, if it is leaking it needs replaced.
Door closers are fairly simple, they only have two to three settings. These settings can be adjusted by turning the adjustment screws on either the top, bottom, or most commonly on the side. Adjustments are as follows:
1.) Swing- the swing speed is how fast the door swings closed. If the door is slamming this may need to be slowed down. This screw is marked with an “S”
2.) Latch speed- when you swing a door wide open and let it close if you watch, the speed it will slow down right before it closes. This is the most crucial screw to adjust if the door is slamming or not latching due to speed.
3.) Back check- The back check is often a large screw on the end of the closer marked with a B.C. The Back Check controls the amount of tension the closer puts on the door to pull it shut. If you have a door that opens smoothly but takes effort to open it, then lightening up on the back check or adjusting the arm will help. If the closer just doesn’t have enough pull to latch the door adjusting this may also help.
TIPS: Adjustment screws should only be adjusted a quarter to a half turn at a time. A little is a lot! Turning the screws counter clockwise increases speed/tension turning them clockwise will lessen the speed/tension. Ideally, you want the closer to take little effort to open while being effective to test them I will get the speed and strength mostly where I want them, then I will try to leave the door open by closing the door really slowly as to not let it close all the way. When the latch comes in contact with the jam and it stays open I will slightly up the back check increasing tension. The door should close all the way, no matter how gently it’s closed.