Can A Door Closer Be Installed Outside?
A door closer automatically closes a door. It is an important safety device for any building. Door closers are installed on all kinds of doors and mounted in many different ways from standard mount, top jamb, parallel mount, drop plate mount, flat plate mount, and much more. But can a door closer be installed outside? In this article we go over whether or not a door closer should be mounted outside.
Door Closers Should Never Be Mounted Outside In Weather
The short answer is door closers should never be mounted to the exterior side of the door exposed to weather. We will explore all the reasons why door closers should not be installed outside.
Weather Can Damage The Door Closer
One of the major reasons why a door closer should not be installed outside is the weather. Rain and snow can greatly affect the needle bearings inside of the door closer body as well as the long term performance of the door arm. A door closer arm is deigned to pivot. Exposed to rain and snow, the arm can rust causing it to not operate properly. The door closer body can also rust if the door closer is not stainless steel or marine water grade. Having the door closer exposed to weather will greatly reduce the lifespan of the door closer.
Outside Mounted Door Closers Are A Security Hazard
If a door closer is mounted outside to the exterior of building's door, then the door closer is vulnerable to potential vandals. The door closer could be removed and stolen, or the speed adjustments could be altered, or the door arm could get damaged. Having a door closer open to the outside of the building can lead to all kinds of damage to the door closer.
Outside Door Closers Are A Safety Hazard
The safety factor really ties into the security factor. If a door closer happens to be mounted outside and is removed by a vandal, that door is now a huge safety concern. Door closers are designed as a safety device to control the closing swing and even opening swing of the door. A door without a closer can swing open or closed uncontrollably fast, potentially hurting anyone in the door swing path. Likewise, if the door closer is mounted outside and a vandal adjusts the door closer, that door is no longer closing at the proper speed specified by ADA standards. Again, this could be just as dangerous.
Outside Door Closers Could Void The Warranty
If the door closer had any kind of manufacturer warranty, it most likely will be void if the door closer has been installed outside.
So Why Do Some People Install Door Closers Outside?
Well, most likely whoever installed the door closer outside did not follow the manufacturer's instructions provided with the door closer.
We all know that doors come in all sizes, types, and configurations. As a result door closers have to be able to mount in a variety of ways so that these doors can safely close. When someone asks if a door closer can be installed outside, he or she most likely believes that this is the only way they are able to mount a door closer on their door. Maybe, there is no room at the top of the door frame on the inside of the building, so they think that the door closer must be mounted on the outside of the building. They are unaware of door closer accessories like drop plates, that allow the door closer to mount on door applications with low head room.
Interior Door Closer Mounting Options
Below are door closer mounting options that allow the door closer to be installed on the interior side of the door. With these options you should have no problem mounting the door closer on the inside push side of the door.
Top Jamb Installation
On a top jamb door closer installation, the door closer mounts on the interior push side of the door. The door closer body mounts to the top of the door frame and the door closer arm shoe mounts to the top of the door. A top jamb installation is shown below.
Top Jamb Installation With Drop Plate
On an installation application where there is not enough space for all of the door closer mounting holes on the top of the door frame, then a drop plate can be mounted on the top door frame. The drop plate is a finished steel plate that has door closer mounting holes. It is designed to bolt to the top of the door frame, and acts as a mounting plate for the door closer body.
Parallel Arm Installation
In a parallel arm mount application, the door closer body mounts to the door. A special bracket called the parallel arm bracket, or PA bracket connects to the door closer arm shoe and attaches to the top of the door frame stop. A parallel arm installation is shown below.
Parallel Arm Installation With Drop Plate
Sometimes there is not enough space to mount the door closer body on the door. For example, if the door has a very narrow top rail there may not be enough space to mount the door closer body on the door. For this application a drop plate can be used. The drop plate mounts directly to the top of the door. The mounting holes of the drop plate allow it to attach to the top of the door. Door closer mounting holes are in the drop plate, allowing the door closer body to attach to the drop plate. The door closer arm with the parallel arm bracket mounts to the top of the door frame stop. An illustration of the parallel arm installation with drop plate is shown below.
A door closer should never be mounted to the outside of a building. The exposure to weather and vandals makes the installation very unsafe and will greatly reduce the lifespan of the door closer. Top jamb, parallel arm mount, and drop plates, allows door closers to be installed on interior push side of any door. If you are in need of a door closer, we recommend Liberty Door Closers. All Liberty door closers are tri-packed so they can be installed in any configuration. Drop plates are also available for every Liberty door closer. Best of all, all Liberty door closers include FAST and FREE shipping.
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