One of the most important pieces of hardware on a fire door is the over head closer. It is vital that the door is able to self close all the way to the rebate stop and if necessary latch as well.
The fire door closer you buy should: fit the door it’ll be installed on (see our blog on different door types), as well as be suitable for the type of traffic that’ll be passing through it; after each opening cycle, it should close the door solidly and completely; operate safely to prevent injury to users and damage to the door set; If there isn’t a latch on the door, it should close it against any expected air pressure.
It is also vitally important that the door does not bind on any seals or the frame when it closes. The closer must overcome this friction. If this is not achieved then the fire door will fail an inspection.
These are the things you need to consider when sourcing and installing fire door closers:
Where your fire door is located
Is the door on the inside of the building or the outside? Is it outward or inward opening? These are critical questions to consider before purchasing a door closer because some door closers can only be installed on internal inward opening doors or require the purchase of an angle bracket to install on outward opening doors. You don’t want to buy a door closer to find out later that it can’t be installed where you want it without extra purchases. Some door closers are manufactured of rust-prone materials or aren’t secure enough for use on exterior doors. As a result, make sure that the door closer you choose can be installed on your door in the area it is in before you buy it.
Do I even need a closer?
Whilst most doors do require a closer they are not always necessary. Flat entrance doors, hotel rooms, cross corridor doors, will almost require a closer. However, cleaner’s cupboards, dry risers and some plant rooms do not require a closer. Thus, you can install a Fire Door Keep Locked Sign.
Is the closer compliant?
There must be suitable evidence of fire performance and the closer must be compatible with the fire door. Many installers are unaware that the closer also needs to have evidence of fire performance that it is allowed to be installed in the configuration that the door is installed in. Most door closers are installed on the pull side of the door. However, it may be the case that the closer needs to be installed on the push side of the door, you must check that the closer is tested to be installed in that configuration and on that particular door leaf.
What size closer do I need?
The door closer size depends on the weight and dimensions of the door. Closers often have variable sizes to suit various door weights and sizes. When fitting a door closer to a fire door it must have a minimum power size of EN3 to conform to the EN1154 standard.
Power sizes relate to door weight and dimensions are as follows:
Max Door Weight
Max Door Width
A door that opens inwards
Look for a door closer with a pull side mounting. They are commonly installed on loft conversions, kitchens, or offices where the door closer is needed to be installed inside the room.
A door that opens outwards
Find a door closer with a push side mounting. This fitting is required in the following situations:
- An outdoor door that opens outwards will help keep the closer inside the building and out of the weather.
- A door that leads to a location where all other doors open in the opposite direction. If a closer is fitted to the pull face, it will be the only door with a closer showing, and that would appear odd.
- To prevent manipulation or removal, outward opening security doors require the closer to being inside the safe area.
See below a video on a push side fitting:
What is the fire door and frame size?
Confirm the height and width of the door frame and the door. That is because heavier doors will need closers with a greater power size, while a small door frame will require you to consider installing a concealed door closer.
Do you require a specific door closer size?
The door’s size and weight determine the size of the door closer needed. Variable-size door closers are standard to accommodate varying door weights and measures. To comply with the EN1154 standard, when installing a closer to a fire door, the closer should have a minimum power size of EN3.
Is the door going to be used frequently?
To figure out which performance category you’ll need, think about how often the door will be utilized. The performance categories can be classified as either low, medium, or high. High-volume usage locations include schools, hospitals, and shopping malls.
What environment will the closer be installed in?
It is very important that the location and environment is carefully considered. For example, a heavy duty closer is not appropriate in a care home; in care homes there are many people with mobility issues. In a care home it would be best to install a closer with a swing free device, see below:
Swing free closers feel like standard doors when pushed. They offer little resistance when pushed and easy access in a building where people may have mobility issues. However, if the fire alarm is sounded they work like a normal closer, and the door self closes. For more information on fire doors in care homes check out this link.
Alternatively, in a mental health unit it is essential that the closers are anti-ligature. In this case a concealed closer that is housed in the door itself can be used such as the example below: