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How to Slow Down a Slamming Storm Door

A slamming screen door can be annoying, especially when you have kids or pets and are worried about their safety. You should slow down its speed to make it last longer and for peace of mind. A storm door has a piston closer; it closes the door slowly after opening. When the door is at least 6 inches from closing, the closer’s speed increases so the door can latch firmly.

Storm doors are not only crucial during hurricanes, but they also improve your home’s energy efficiency. They add a shield of protection from the elements; they prevent air leaks and act as insulators. Since they suffer a lot of traffic, they can slam when not closed gently.

How to Fix a Slamming Storm Door

A storm door is an excellent addition to your home; it keeps the elements away and acts as a shield for the main door. Your storm door has a pneumatic closer that prevents the door from slamming. If your door slams or closes too fast, you can slow it down by doing the following;

Understanding the Mechanics

Rustic green storm door with greenery in the foreground

It is necessary to know how a storm door works

A pneumatic closer is a mechanical gadget developed to close a storm door slowly but gently, so it latches. This is possible because the closer uses spring tension regulated by hydraulic fluid. When you open the door, hydraulic fluid flows from one reservoir to the next. The spring pushes the door to close.

As this happens, the hydraulic fluid flows back to the previous reservoir, passing through various valves that regulate speed. Controls for latching speed and swing speed determine how fast a door closes. There are different types of door closers, such as surface mounted, concealed closers, and floor mounted closers.

Adjusting the Sweep and Latch Valves

One way of slowing down a speed storm door is to adjust the sweep and latch. One of the main issues that homeowners face is the slamming of their storm doors; this can be fixed if the closer is in good condition. The sweep and latch valves are usually marked on the closer using numbers or letters. While making adjustments, you should never unscrew these valves completely. Doing this lets the fluid run down on your clothes and floor.

To adjust these valves, close the door, use a hex key or screwdriver to tighten them until they are almost clockwise. This requires less force, leave the valves when they stop turning. Overdoing it can damage the closer seals which causes leaks. Test your door severally to ensure that it closes properly.

Adjusting the “Back-Check” Valve and the Delayed Action Valve

Young woman staring out through door's glass pane.

You can fix your storm door without extra help

Almost all storm door closers have a sweep and latch valve, while others have additional valves that can be fixed to prevent slamming. If your closer has a “back-check” valve, you will know. It’s set apart from other valves and usually marked with ‘BC’ or ‘B’. This valve prevents the door from opening too quickly or sider than it’s supposed to. It makes the closer to slow down whenever it extends for more than 80 degrees; this prevents the door from slamming into things or the wall. Counter-clockwise rotation of the valve screw allows the door to easily open fully, while clockwise rotation makes it harder to close.

Some closers have the delayed action valve; it allows the door to stay open for at least 30 seconds. This is designed to allow people with mobility issues through before it closes.  A counter-clockwise turn allows it to close faster while a clockwise turn takes longer to close.

Making the Door Latch

You can prevent your storm door from slamming by adjusting it, so it latches firmly.  Start by closing the door entirely and locating the pin that keeps the pneumatic cylinder on the bracket. Press it to remove the cylinder.

All door closers have a pneumatic cylinder that maintains the speed at which the door swings. The bracket links the cylinder to the door. Locate the position where the arm of the pneumatic cylinder is connected to the bracket; this helps you to see the pin you need to remove. Most closers have more than 2 holes to fix the cylinder closer further away or near the bracket to adjust pressure.

Position the holes on the frame of the cylinder under the furthest holes from the bracket. Fix the pin back to hold the cylinder and bracket in place; this makes the door to close harder and latch firmly. The door won’t lock firmly if it lacks pressure in the last inches as it closes. You need to connect the cylinder near the bracket to increase pressure in the last seconds as the door closes; this allows it to latch firmly.

Conclusion

Storm doors keep the elements away and keep you safe during hurricanes, but they can wear down or need adjusting. One of the issues that most owners face is a slamming storm door. You don’t have to buy another door or consult an expert; you can slow it down by making a few minor adjustments.