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What is a Door Closer?

Crystal K. Wilford
Crystal K. Wilford

A door closer is an automated device that closes a door after it has been opened. The device is attached to both the door and door frame, and can be either manual or automatic. It prevents the door from standing open, slamming closed, or pulling open to slam against the wall or door frame in the presence of strong winds. The most common examples can usually be found in schools, convenience stores, and a multitude of other smaller businesses and public buildings.

Manual closers create resistance when the door is opened by making use of the force exerted to compress a spring. When the pressure lifts, the spring releases to close the door. The speed at which the door closes is controlled by the release of pressure in a chamber. A hydraulic chamber releases oil, while a pneumatic closer uses air to offer resistance to the spring.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Some automatic closers are capable of opening a door automatically via remote access control, or through use of motion sensors. The automatic door closer is more commonly known as a door opener due to its combined ability to close and open a door. This device is usually activated by triggering a motion sensor, stepping on a sensor plate, or pressing a button. Many large stores, fast food chains, and businesses make use of this type of door closer to accommodate heavy consumer traffic and to permit convenient access for people with handicaps.

The two main types of door closers can be further categorized by variations in appearance and placement. A surface-mounted door closer is often attached to the top of a door, above the hinges and in the corner. Residential screen and storm doors often place the door closer about halfway down the door's length. Concealed door closers can be hidden in either the door frame or the floor, among other locations.

A door closer can provide significant advantages, including decreasing the amount of wear and abuse a door suffers over time. One safety feature the door closer provides is the controlled motion of the door, which can prevent pets or small children from getting caught or injured by a slamming door. Automatically closing doors can prevent air from entering or escaping, which helps maintain a steady temperature inside a room and cuts down on the cost of heating or cooling. This feature also helps contain outbreaks of fire by cutting flames off from other areas in a building.

Discussion Comments


@Laotionne - Most of the residential door closers have a screw on the end. By turning this screw you can set the door to close faster or more slowly. Some of the door closers may be designed differently, but look for the screw and she whether your door closer has one. If it does then just get a screw driver and turn the screw. I'm not sure which way (right or left) you will need to turn the screw, but you can figure it out by trial and error.


How do you make a door closer adjustment so that the closer doesn't close the door so quickly and so hard?


@Feryll - Until we installed a new storm door, I was like you in that I did not give much thought to how the doors worked as long as they opened, closed and locked. Putting up the door took some time because we did not have experience with this type of job.

However, we got the door up, and installing the door closer was not difficult. It just took us some time to figure out exactly how the closer attached to the door and how it worked. As long as you have a good drill and good directions, you should be fine.


For some reason, the storm door at my front entry way to the house doesn't have a door closer. This is the way the door was when we bought the house and then moved in. I didn't even notice this originally.

A friend came by for a visit the other day, and when he told me I needed a closer on my door, I didn't know what he was talking about. I have seen plenty of storm doors and screen doors, but never really took much notice of the door closer.

My storm door doesn't swing wide open because the rubber on the bottom of the door is touching the porch floor and this gives it some stability. However, I would like to add a closer to the door, so that it closes automatically when we go in and out. I wonder how difficult these are to install

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