When we were kids our whole family lived in our grandparents' house. It was great. There were four generations living together in a large home built by our contractor grandfather. There was our great-grandmother, our grandmother and grandfather, mom and dad and, naturally, us. Although communal family living was a wonderful and memorable experience, there were a couple of minor downsides. For example: great-grandmothers don't do well when great-grandchildren come tearing into the house with the screen door slamming behind them.
We won't ever forget the back porch covered by the grape arbor and that big wood-frame screen door that stood between us and the backyard when we wanted to go outside and play. There was an incredibly large coil-spring attached between the door and frame that caused it to automatically come slamming shut behind us. To a kid that spring wasn't a closer, it was a slammer. Nana would yell, "Walk, walk, don't run. You're going to break the door off its hinges!"
As we look back, we wonder why our handyman father didn't get rid of that door-slamming coil-spring, and install a closer instead.
If you have a great-grandchild who has slammed the back door once too often, maybe it's time for you to go shopping. Maybe what you need is a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness door closer. It does more than prevent a door from slamming shut. Quiet is just the first issue. Safety is a factor, as well. Are there infants or toddlers in your home? Lots of folks think that door closers are only for outside doors. Door closers not only help to automatically close a door and close it quietly, they also close it slowly. This can prevent the wind from blowing a door (interior or exterior) shut on an infant or toddler.
A door closer can quiet door activity and make a door safer. But there is another advantage to a door closer. It can reduce damage to a door. When a door doesn't get opened or closed too quickly, it lasts longer. And finally, for those times when you want the door to remain open, the closer can be relied upon to perform that function as well.
Springs, pneumatics and hydraulics are used to manufacture various types of door closers. Without exception, spring closers are still spring closers, ever since the days when Eugene Bount and Lois Norton began tinkering with the first door closers back in 1888. A rack and pinion mechanism still compresses a spring, which when released pulls the door closed, with the closing and latching speed controlled by the flow of fluid through a series of ports and valves.
Although they create wonderful memories for us, however, they aren't the safest or most practical. A spring is used in conjunction with a small chain to create a device called a "snubber" that can prevent a door from "slamming open," but does not provide the safety or quiet that you can enjoy with a door closer.
The most common door closer used in homes is the pneumatic type. They are less expensive than the heavier hydraulic ones that we see in commercial applications, and are easier to install. We found a couple of great web sites: for hydraulic closers you can go to www.commdoor.com. For pneumatic closers try www.quietouch.com.
You might not realize it, but with pneumatic and hydraulic closers, closing speed can be adjusted. Door closers also can be used on large cabinets and gates as well. In every case, installation is the same. One end connects to the door and the other end to the door frame.