Most people never notice a door closer unless it gives them a problem, such as leaking fluid on the carpet, the door slamming, or it just not working anymore.
Door closers are not as glamorous as locks. However, they are at the top of the list of builder’s manual hardware products involved in product injury cases, and it’s no wonder. Door Closers are dynamic. They move objects (doors) weighing 75-200 pounds directly into the path of human beings. When improperly manufactured, selected, installed, adjusted or maintained, they can generate impact forces sufficient to injure people or cause them to lose their balance and fall. Temperature changes, wind, gusts, stack pressure, and people traffic, all increase the hazard. A door swinging out of control can be especially injurious to the very young and the very old, who make up the majority of plaintiffs. Yet, when properly manufactured, installed, adjusted and maintained, door closers are safety devices that protect people and reduce the potential for injury.
A door closer is designed to close the door, not compensate for door problems, such as worn or bent hinges, warped doors, thresholds which may cause doors to bind, bend, or sticking lock latches, or exit device problems. Many maintenance people try to compensate for the above problems by adjusting the closer’s closing speed causing the door to slam. While this may shut the door, it does nothing to correct the problem. It will eventually be self-destructing.
Using the door closer as a door stop may damage the closer and/or the door structure. A floor stop, wall stop, or overhead holder/stop should be used on every door. Never put a broom handle, etc… on the hinge side to wedge the door open because it bends the hinges.
Door closers come in sizes according to the size of the door, location, interior or exterior, traffic (number of people using the door), draft conditions, or air pressure in the building. There are also special closers to meet ADA requirements.
Remember, door closers are necessary to insure fire doors are closed and latched; doors are closed for security, energy loss, sound containment, and privacy. As you can see, a door closer is part of a door package and when a problem occurs, it must be analyzed and the cause corrected and not just covered up.