Fire door closers are extremely handy gadgets – they let you meet your obligations to comply with fire safety regulations and guidelines, and improve security, heat retention and noise reduction. Here is our guide to making sure you select the right fire door closer for your business.
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What is a fire door closer?
Fire door closers are fitted to the top of the fire door to ensure that the door shuts even if people leave it open; if there’s a fire, the door will be able to contain or slow the spread of the flames and/or smoke.
What are the choices?
There are two main types of fire door closer: ones that automatically close the door each and every time it is opened, and those that are activated by the sound of a fire alarm and only then close the door.
Other choices you need to make include:
The weight of the door
Larger and heavier doors will need a more heavy-duty closer to be able to work effectively, whereas smaller and narrower doors will need a lighter-weight model so as to not overly burden the door with additional weight. Choose your door closer based on the weight of the door – the manufacturer should list in their product specification how much weight their door closer can handle.
You can find door closers with delayed or adjustable closing actions, to give more time before the door is closed. This feature is particularly useful in environments where the elderly, disabled or children might need a little longer than average to get through the door.
Before you buy your new door closer, make sure you have checked the door and the frame for suitability. Does the door open inward or outward? Where will you be able to physically mount the closing device? Is the door an external or an internal one? Be sure to get the right fire door closer for the type of door and doorframe you have.
Many fire door closers are built to specific grades – these refer to the average open/close frequency for the door (basically, the amount the door is used on a daily/annual basis). Grade 1 is for the highest traffic doors, with an expected number of opens and closes anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000. Grade 2 is for medium use – 10,000 to 100,000 opens and closes, and Grade 3 is for very low use, anywhere up to 10,000 uses.
Your new fire door closer should be compliant with BS EN 1634–2014. This is the British Standard relating to fire resistance and smoke control for doors. Meeting this standard means that the fire door and the fire door closer are suitable for use as a fire restriction and smoke control tool.
Some closers will be rated to this classification for a specific time – so for up to one hour, for example. This means that the closer should operate as required in the face of a fire for at least one hour – giving you plenty of time to evacuate the premises.