Maintenance of any product is important and necessary to obtain the maximum benefits of product service and longevity. Doors, frames and door hardware are no exception. In fact, where door openings are used in fire barriers, smoke barriers, and security areas proper maintenance is crucial. Basic maintenance to ensure the proper functioning of the assembly is imperative and well worth the effort to provide for life safety and security.
The following items should be periodically checked. The frequency with which these checks are performed must be established at the discretion of the building owner, insurance company, local building code officials and maintenance services. Since doors in different areas of a building access different traffic, the frequency of periodic inspections would occur respectively.
Hinges, check all hinges for loose attaching screws, hinge pin wear or other defects. Service the hinges or replace if necessary. The door should always swing freely and smoothly without obstruction. Door hinges should be lubricated every six months to ensure smooth door movement.
Locksets, Panic Devices, check all latching devices for loose attaching screws, wear or other notable defects. Service the latch-sets or replace if necessary. The door should always latch freely and smoothly without obstruction. Additional force should not be necessary to achieve latching. Latch-sets should be inspected to ensure that the full retraction of the latch bolt is achieved from both sides, the deadbolt be easily thrown or retracted and the dead-latch is functioning (the latch is deadlocked when the auxiliary latch is depressed). The strike plate should be firmly attached to the frame or inactive leaf of a pair of doors. The latch-bolt and strike should be inspected to determine whether the strike angle suits the bolt contact. Rule of thumb: if the opening is used fifty times a day or more the lock should be inspected twice a year, otherwise inspect once a year.
Closers, check all closer or operator devices for loose attaching screws, wear or other notable defects. Service the closer or replace if necessary. The closer should automatically close the door, do so quickly and silently, remain inconspicuous and continue to function indefinitely with little or no attention. If the closer fails to perform, the first thing to do is to trouble shoot what the problem really is. Was the closer installed properly? Was it templated on the door for the proper degree of opening? Are we relying on it to do a job it wasn’t designed to perform? Was the door hung properly?
These are common defects in a door installation that may impair the functioning of the door:
- Hinge binding, sagging of the hinges increase hinge friction, making the door difficult to open and close.
- Latch bolt stiffness, the latch bolt and strike should be inspected to determine whether the strike angle suits the bolt contact.
- Rabbit binding, Misalignment of a door in its frame may result in considerable friction, or even binding preventing complete and easy closing.
- Saddle binding, Misalignment of the door may develop friction or binding at the saddle or threshold.
- Gaskets, for sound proofing, may offer extreme resistance at the latch point.
- Weather stripping may offer extreme resistance at the latch point.
The remedy to these problems is obviously to correct the door installation; but if this is impossible or undesirable, overcoming friction or binding may sometimes be achieved through adjustment of the door closer. The spring tension may be increased to strengthen the closing power, but further adjustments will also be necessary. For instance, if the binding occurs at the latch point, tightening the spring to overcome that friction may cause the door to close too fast throughout its initial closing sweep. Therefore, the sweep speed valve would also require readjustment to increase its retarding action and control.
On the other hand, if latching is normal but there is friction in the initial sweep, then the tightening the spring may result in a slam of the door, unless the latch valve is readjusted.
It is estimated that 70 percent of the closers applied to doors are somehow misapplied! Packed in the carton along with each new door closer is a template with detailed instructions for the proper application of the closer. Yet many installers disregard these instructions, resulting in incorrect installation and adjustment of the closer, followed by a variety of possible consequences, such as:
- The door not opening wide enough. The closer has been placed too far from the hinge edge of the door, and the arms prevent normal opening.
- The door opens too wide. The closer has been placed too near to the hinge edge. This reduces leverage and closing power.
- Incorrect use of brackets. It is important to consider whether the use of a bracket will reduce the closer power. A bracket usually reduces power by about one third, so the closer size will need to be reconsidered.
- The door has no releasing action at the latch point. The arms have been set at the wrong angle.
Environmental conditions that also affect the door and the closer. Winds or drafts may be a factor for either interior or exterior doors, and could affect the performance of the closer. A closer should be selected on either a no draft or maximum draft basis.
Most laymen do not realize that even a fairly light breeze or draft blowing against a door represents, because of the door’s relatively large area in square feet, a considerable total pressure against it. The wider the door, the greater the wind’s effect.
If the air is blowing the other way-in other words, tending to push the door shut, the effect will be exactly the opposite. The door speed will tend to increase as the door closes. This problem must be solved hydraulically, by so adjusting the latch and sweep valves to accommodate the conditions.