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Andersen storm door won't close properly


mrshomeowner's Avatar
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09-06-17, 08:46 AM   #1  
Andersen storm door won't close properly

Hoping someone can help me solve the mystery of our wonky storm door. It is an Andersen door with a glass panel on the bottom and a top panel that can screen or glass. The door has an pneumatic closer. It will only close (i.e. latch) if you follow these steps:
- Swing the door open all the way
- Let go and let it start to close
- It gets within a few inches of closing and then starts to open again due to the pneumatic pressure
- At this point, manually close the door and it will latch (when doing this you can feel that there is still built up pressure in the closer as you pull it closed)

If you don't do anything (i.e. just open the door and then let go and try to let it close on its own), it does not latch. It will start to close, open itself again, and then the pressure of the closer will release and it will close but not latch. Even if you manually pull it closed all the way, it doesn't latch. It must go through the steps listed above in order to latch.

This is the same whether it is all glass or half glass/screen, and whether the interior door is open or closed.

If I play with the adjustment screw to get it to close faster, it just slams shut. Without the adjustment screw in, it slams but again does not latch, even if I try to manually latch it.

Should I just play with the screw more? Is there some sweet spot I haven't been able to find yet where the door will just close on its own and latch itself?

What I can't wrap my head around is why I can't get it to latch without any of the pneumatic pressure. With the pressure built up (following the steps listed at the top) it latches easily -- it doesn't seem like it's misaligned or anything.

 
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stickshift's Avatar
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09-06-17, 08:50 AM   #2  
Never owned any of their products but Andersen claims to have great warranty service, I would give them a call.

 
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09-06-17, 09:23 AM   #3  
Next to the adjustment screw, are there 2 holes for the pin? If so, try the other hole, then readjust the screw. Some door checks have 2 adjustments although not usually on storm doors. Disconnect the pin closest to the door & spin it a few times clockwise. Then reconnect & readjust again.

 
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09-06-17, 03:32 PM   #4  
First, is the door plumb? To check that, open the door so it just clears the z-bar... and look up and down it. Hopefully the gap of light that you see is straight up and down. In other words if you open it and can see an 1/8" gap of light at the top, it should also be 1/8" in the middle and 1/8" at the bottom.

Assuming that is okay, your closer probably just needs a length adjustment. Rather than just arbitrarily adjusting it to the next hole, Remove the closer completely. Close the door. Attach the closer to the door bracket first... then with the closer fully retracted, observe how far away the hinge side hole is from lining up with the hinge pivot bracket. In most cases, it should be 1/4" short. In other words, if it is not 1/4", adjust the bracket on the door one direction or the other until the hole in the end of your closer is 1/4" away from the hole in your hinge pivot bracket.

To attach it, remove the closer from the door, attach the closer to the hinge pivot bracket, then pull the body of the closer out as needed to line up the closer with the hole on the door bracket. Assuming you have glass in your storm door, use the outermost hole in your closer. The 2nd hole is only used when the door is operating with screen only.

Then adjust your closing speed as needed. The door should close fairly quickly behind you, but then delay for the last foot or so... then jerk shut on the last inch or two. It's common to have to push a door a little bit if the prime door is closed... if that is not acceptable, you can raise your sweep slightly or adjust your latch to be a little more loose.

If you have more than one closer, the top closer should be 1/2" away from the hole in the hinge pivot bracket when it is fully retracted, attached to the door bracket but disconnected from the hinge pivot bracket. (As mentioned earlier, the bottom closer should be 1/4" away when it is disconnected).

 
Norm201's Avatar
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09-06-17, 03:57 PM   #5  
If this just started, you need a new closer. They do wear out. Not covered under warranty as a wearable part.

 
mrshomeowner's Avatar
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09-07-17, 02:54 PM   #6  
Thanks. Previous homeowner installed it and it's been like this as long we we've been here so I'm not sure.

 
mrshomeowner's Avatar
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09-07-17, 02:57 PM   #7  
Thank you-- turns out the door is NOT plumb! I hadn't realized this. Given this, do you have a different recommendation?

 
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09-07-17, 03:56 PM   #8  
Do as X-Slipper suggest to check if door is not plumb. You may after remove door and shim it.

 
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09-07-17, 05:20 PM   #9  
How far out of plumb is it? Is the bottom open more than the top or is the top open more than the bottom? Sometimes doors will get racked out of plumb through use... or when the wind whips them open, etc. Sometimes you can rack the door back into shape. (For safety, remove the glass first) Then you can open the door, brace your foot against the bottom, and either push or pull the top of the door (depending on which way its racked) but do it gently to rack the frame back plumb. Do this carefully, a little at a time, and check the swing of the door and whether it contacts the weatherstripping evenly or not. Once you are satisfied with how plumb the door is, put your glass back in.

 
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