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Adjusting the door bracket for a storm door closer (piston) - help!


diy955's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 7
NY

11-12-11, 07:49 AM   #1  
Adjusting the door bracket for a storm door closer (piston) - help!

I have minimal DIY abilities, so please be patient with me with this basic question.

I have a storm door with "captive" storm windows and screens, mounted, unfortunately, so the breezes and winds blow and interfere with its closing.

Am struggling to install the piston-style door closer.

I "get" playing with the adjustment screw to adjust the damping of it closing. But it seems like 85% of the settings just allow the door to slam shut (at least it's closed), and the other 15% damps the door so much that it damps beautifully but then doesn't latch, which is unacceptable anyway, but especially with the breezes that could blow the unlatched door open.

My initial and default setting in mounting the piston was to have the bracket on the door such that the piston, completely withdrawn, came to it.

When that failed, I moved the bracket away from the hinge (maybe 0.75 inches), so that the piston, with the door closed, would still be pulled out a bit. That seemed to make the door more prone to slamming.

If I could have a choice between slammed but closed, versus beautifully damped but not latching, I'd pick the slamming. But I'd rather have the optimum, where the door damps a couple times as it closes, then quietly and firmly pulls shut and latches.

What am I doing wrong? I am using the heavier duty of two choices I had at Home Depot.

 
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XSleeper's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,279
NE

11-12-11, 12:46 PM   #2  
The bracket should be 1/4" from the storm door edge, moving it farther away will usually only make the door harder to push open.

What I would suggest, is to disconnect the hinge end of the hydraulic rod from its bracket, then close the storm door. If you have everything positioned properly, the end of that rod would need to be pulled out 1/8-1/4" farther in order to connect it. If that's the case, the closer itself should have one last "jerk" that will close your door. If it doesn't, I would check that your sweep is not installed too low, because if it drags at all, it will affect the operation of the door.

You often can't expect the door to close behind you as you LEAVE the house because with the interior door shut, air trapped between the storm door and the interior door will often slow the door down so much that it won't latch. Loosening the latch is an option, but isn't usually preferred. Adding another closer to the top or bottom of the door (depending where the first one is installed) can often help give the door enough umph to close. Additional closers can be purchased at almost any hardware store.

Additionally a safety chain can be installed so that if the door happens to get yanked by the wind, it will not bend the closers or have a tendency to yank the closer bracket screws out of the door. Many companies no longer include the safety chain with their doors because they have figured out that the safety chain hurts their sales.

As far as the closer adjustment itself is concerned, I usually will turn them so that there are 3 speeds to the closing speed of the door. Quick for the first 1/3... slower for the second 1/3, then the door should simply slam shut on the final few inches. No more than 3 seconds in all. I want it slow enough so that it doesn't hit you in the arm as you go in or out, but not so fast that you can't just throw it open and slip out past it.

 
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