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How to adjust a door closer

A commercial door closer controls how quickly (or slowly) your door shuts. Many business owners are unaware of how to adjust a door closer to ensure it operates properly. There are four settings you can adjust to improve the performance of your commercial door. 

This article will discuss these four settings and how each can be adjusted for flawless door operation. We'll also identify the signs to look for so you'll know when it's time to start shopping for a new commercial door closer. If you do find that adjusting a commercial door closer isn't enough, CDF Distributors can provide the products you need for your door – and if you need commercial steel doors, CDF is a great place to begin your search.

What You Need to Adjust a Door Closer

Before you adjust the door closer, make sure you have one of these simple tools on hand to get the job done. Which one you choose will depend on the type of adjustment screws on your door closer:

If you aren't able to see the adjustment valves, you'll need to remove the cover. If your door closer has fasteners, loosen them to slide the cover off. Otherwise, you

Door Closer Adjustment in 4 Settings

Let's dive into how to adjust a commercial door closer. First off, you'll need to identify the problem you're having, then make the appropriate door closer adjustment.

#1 The Door Is Closing Too Slowly

Solution: Adjust the Close Swing Speed

Different types of businesses need to install a door that closes at various rates of speed. Rather than manufacturing a unique door for each purpose, it makes more sense to equip the closing assembly with methods for adjusting the closing speed. This makes it easier to customize the door's operation for the needs of your business.

You may have yet to notice the features on a standard closer that allow you to adjust the close swing speed. Typically, there is a small screw labeled with an "S" to indicate that the screw controls the close swing speed. 

To speed up the door closure, turn the screw clockwise. You can slow the door by turning the screw counterclockwise. Make a minor door closer adjustment of a degree or two and test the door several times. Even a turn of a quarter of an inch can make significant changes to the close swing speed.

#2 The Door Isn't Latching Properly

Solution: Change the Latching Speed

If you have ever watched your commercial steel door close, you probably noticed that there's a change in speed as the door closes to a gap of a few inches. 

This is the latching speed, which controls the force at which the door closes. If the door moves too slowly, it may not latch correctly when it touches the frame. This setting is the latching speed and is also adjustable. Fortunately, learning how to make a door close tighter is simple.

Find a screw labeled with an "L" to indicate the control of the latching speed. Turning this screw clockwise will increase the latching speed. You may want to do this if an outside door isn't closing fast enough. Conversely, turning the screw counterclockwise will slow the latching speed. If an inside door is slamming shut too forcefully, make a commercial door closer adjustment to decrease the latching speed.

The goal for a non-delayed action door closer is to shut and latch the door in 7-8 seconds.

#3 The Door Slams Into the Wall

Solution: Modify the Back-Check

The back-check is an optional feature in a door closer mechanism that keeps the door from opening too quickly and hitting the wall or other stationary objects.  

This feature uses a spring or a hydraulic mechanism to control the closing of the door. Either type of door can be challenging to open if the pressure is set too high. 

To change the pressure involved in opening a commercial door you will need to adjust the back-check. Look for a screw labeled with a "B" and turn it clockwise or counterclockwise to modify the strength required to pull the door open.

#4 The Door Starts Closing Too Quickly

Solution: Set the Delayed Action

Another feature of commercial and industrial door closers is the delay action. This feature is controlled by a screw marked with a "D." The delayed action is the time a door will remain open before it begins to close. To adjust the door closer, turn the screw clockwise to decrease the delay time or counterclockwise to increase the delay time. 

If you're primarily managing foot traffic, consider adjusting this setting to close the door as swiftly as possible. However, you'll want to increase the delay time if you routinely get packages so delivery drivers have ample time to maneuver through the doorway. Adjust the door closer in small increments to ensure you get the exact delay time you want. And check the door multiple times.

Troubleshooting a Commercial Door Closer Mechanism

Not all problems can be solved by adjusting a door closer mechanism. If there's an issue with the adjusting self-closing door hinge, if your door is warped or if the door has to swing uphill to close, adjusting a commercial door closer is not going to resolve your problem. Have your door inspected and repaired to ensure it will close and lock properly. 

Another possible reason the door doesn't close properly is that the closer is incorrectly installed. Check the manufacturer's website to confirm before attempting to adjust the door closer tension. 

Finally, if the closer's arm is noisy or bounces around when the door's in use, try tightening all the fasteners. 

How to Know When it's Time to Replace a Door Closer

If you've made every possible door closer adjustment and your door still doesn't operate properly, it's time to invest in a new door closer. 

Another sign that making a door closer adjustment isn't going to help is if you spot oil in the cover or see it leaking from the body of the closer. When this occurs, you likely have a broken seal. Your closer is not fixable, and it's time for a replacement.

If you do need to buy a new door closer for your commercial door, make sure you're getting the right one by answering these questions:

When the Law Requires Operational Door Closers

According to Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) regulations, every fire door in a healthcare facility must have an automated closing assembly. Since many other industries have also adopted this requirement, most commercial and industrial doors come with these types of closing assemblies.

As IFSEC Global explains, the automatic closing of commercial and industrial doors is also an important safety feature. During a fire, closing doors as individuals flee to safety will help slow the spread of smoke and fire. However, people may be too panicked to remember to close the door behind them. An operational automatic door closer addresses this issue by ensuring the door will close on its own. Make sure you've made the proper door closure adjustment to ensure your door complies with safety regulations.

CDF Has the Best Commercial Doors as Well as the Know-How to Adjust a Door Closer

CDF Distributors offers a wide range of commercial and industrial doors (and commercial door closers) to meet your needs for both exterior and interior doors. Whether you need a metal or wooden door, with glass panels or vents, CDF has the doors you need to furnish your commercial property. Whether you want to know more about how to adjust a door closer or you need quality doors delivered to your job site super quick, we can help. Shop CDF to find your wood or commercial metal doors today.












October 18, 2022
Wayne Foreman