What Door Closer Do I Need?
Are you confused about the different types of door closers and what one you need for your requirements? Read no further than e-Hardware’s handy guide to door closers and how to fit them.
How do i know what Door Closer to choose?
It’s safe to say that there is a vast choice when it comes to selecting a door closer and choosing the correct one for your needs can be confusing. Perhaps you have been told by building control that you need to fit a door closer - your builder suggests a type of door closer - you google, and a mirage of options appear in front of you…
Let’s face it – you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you’re at the end of your project and want to keep costs as low as possible… so you might be tempted to buy the cheapest standard door closer.
A lot of people feel this way. They want to make a quick decision, get the door closer delivered and get the project finished.
Although sometimes this might be all that is needed for the job it isn’t always the best solution. In order to make an informed decision you should consider the following.
It is important that you know why door closers are needed to understand their importance. Door closers are essentially a back up to cover for potential human error. If someone leaves a door open in a property where the building owners / managers have a legal responsibility to fulfil, this can not be allowed to happen.
Reasons for needing a door closer vary however, the main reasons are security, privacy, hygiene, energy conservation, acoustics and most commonly fire protection.
What should a door closer do?
The door closer you purchase should: Be suitable for the door is will be fitted to and be suitable for the type of traffic using the door; Close the door reliably and completely after every opening cycle; operate in a safe manner so users are not harmed and the doorset is not damaged; Hold the door closed against any anticipated air pressure where the door has no latch fitted.
What to consider when buying a Door Closer
Where is the door located?
Is the door internal or external? Is it inward or outward opening? These questions matter because some door closers can only be fitted to internal inward opening doors or require an angle bracket to be purchased separately in order to fit it on outward opening doors. You want to avoid purchasing a door closer to then find it can’t be fitted where you want it without having to purchase additional items. Some door closers are made from material that will rust easily or isn’t secure enough for external doors. Therefore before you purchase make sure the door closer you are selecting can be fitted on your door in the location it is in.
Inward Opening Door:
Find a door closer that has; pull side mounting or is Fig 1 standard installation. Usually fitted on office doors, loft conversions or kitchen doors where the door closer is to be fitted inside the room.
Outward Opening Door:
Find a door closer that has push side mounting, Or Fig. 6 / fig 66 installation. Examples of where this fitting is needed are;
- On an outward opening external door (to keep the closer inside the building and out of the weather)
- A door that opens into an area where all other doors open the other way (If the closer were fitted to the pull face it would be the only door with a closer showing and it would look odd).
- Outward opening security doors where the closer needs to be inside the secure area to prevent tampering or removal.
What size is the door and door frame?
Check the width and height of the door and door frame as heavier doors will require a closer with a larger power size and if you have a narrow door frame you may need to think about fitting a concealed door closer or look at the position the door closer is fitted in for example you may need it to be transom mounted (fig 61).
What size door closer do you need?
The door closer size required depends on the size and weight of your door. Door closers often have variable sizes to suit various door weights and sizes. When fitting a door closer to a fire door it must have a minimum power size of EN3 to conform to the EN1154 standard.
Power sizes relate to door saixes and weight as follows;
How often will the door be used?
You need to consider how often the door will be used to determine the performance category you require. Performance categories are split into three categories as below.
Locations such as hospitals, schools, shopping centres would all be considered high volume usage.
What does Cam Action and Rack & Pinion mean?
Cam action and Rack and Pinion are two types of mechanisms used in door closers. Rack and pinion is the most widely used mechanism normally used with a jointed arm. This produces the best performance in terms of opening and closing forces. Be mindful however that, as with most products there can be some very cheap and inefficient door closers for sale so you should rely on independent testing to make your choice.
Cam Action closers can be very efficient as they are designed to move the arm with reduced movement which reduces friction. Cam action closers only work with slide channels which tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Inside a Cam Action door closer.
Slide Channel – Considered aesthetically pleasing due to the arm not protruding into the room
The most common type of door closers sold are Overhead Door Closers which are available with various types of mounting positions
-Fig 1 / Pull Side (Regular arm surface mounted)
-Fig 66 / Push Side (Parallel Arm Surface Mounted)
Concealed door closers are hidden from view and are a more aesthetically pleasing fit than overhead door closers. They are fitted in either the door jamb, the door itself or the transom. A lot of people use concealed door closers such as Perko concealed closers on Fire Doors where they feel a door closer will ruin the interior design.
What if I don't want a door closer to ruin the look of my door?
As mentioned above most people that are worried about aesthetics purchase concealed door closers such as Nu-Matic door closers or Perko door closers. There are lots of different types on the market and you will need to make sure that the one you wish to purchase has the qualities you require (such as being fire rated). Some concealed closers can control closing and latch speed like overhead door closers.
Is it closing a Fire Door?
If you are fitting the door closer to a fire door you will need to check with the door manufacturer what type of door closers can be fitted to ensure it still complies with the fire testing environment. When choosing a door closer for Fire Doors you should consider;
Make sure the Door Closer is CE marked and Fire Tested to the agreed certificate level required to match your door. For example if you door needs to stay closed for 1 hour in a fire but you buy a door closer with a 30 minute fire certificate it will not do the job you need it to.
Make sure you fit the door closer as per the fitting instructions provided by the manufacturer and set it to the power size required for it to comply with the fire certificate. The door closer can only be used with the type of arm assembly/assemblies it was fire tested with.
When fitting a door closer to a fire door it must have a minimum power size of EN3 to conform to the EN1154 standard.
Keep the door closer well maintained during its use.
You should not use mechanical hold open door closers on fire doors unless they are electromagnetic and linked up to the alarm.
It must not be possible to stop the door closer from working except when the correct tool is used.
Remember that following the above points can help save lives. It would be horrible to think that because you did not fit the door closer properly or set it to the correct size it failed in its duty to hold a door closed in the event of a Fire.
Do I need Backcheck?
Backcheck stops or slows the door during its opening cycle so that it can not be flung open violently and damage walls. This function usually stops the door before 90 degree opening is reached however most manufacturer suggest that backcheck alone cannot be relied upon to stop the door under all circumstances and an additional door stop should be purchased if required.
Do I need Delayed Action?
Delayed action stops the door from closing immediately once it is released. This function allows time for groups of people, trolleys or bulky objects to pass through the door easily before it resumes normal closing speed. This function is usually adjustable and can give a delay of up to two minutes however most doors only need five to ten seconds delay. Please note that delay must not exceed 25 seconds when closer is fitted on a fire door.
Do I need adjustable closing speed and latching action?
Latch action (sometimes called snap action) is when the door closer allows the door to move faster during the last few degrees of closing to overcome the mechanical resistance of a door latch or lock. This is a good function to help make sure the door is properly closed after every closing cycle.
Adjustable closing speed determines how quickly the door closes after being opened. This function can be adjusted so that you can allow a longer closing time if the door will be used by the disabled, the elderly or the young enabling them to pass by safely.
Whether you require these functions depends on where you are fitting the door closer
How are they Fitted?
You must always follow the manufacturers instructions when fitting a door closer however we have selected two videos e believe are a useful tool to understand how overhead door closers are fitted.
Figure 66 Push side fitting Video
Figure 1 Pull Side fitting Video
As you can see there are plenty of things to think about and consider when selecting the correct door closer for your doors. If you have any doubt or need reassurance that you are purchasing the correct door closer, please contact our customer service team on 01206 213499 and they will be able to advise you