Figure 1 - Automatic hydraulic door closer
To solve the automatic door closer problem in residential environments, manufactures have come through with two automatic door closer hinge styles for homes, that replace the old style commercial hydraulic door closers.
Both of these alternatives should be readily available at most hardware stores and the big box home improvement centers.
The first alternative, which is usually used on interior doors, but can also be used on exterior doors depending on the weight of the door, is a spring loaded replacement pin for standard door hinges, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 - Automatic door closer hinge pin
The upper casing on the spring loaded hinge pin comes in a variety of metal finishes and you should be able to find a finish that matches your current hinges so that the replacement spring loaded hinge pin does not standout.
Installing the spring loaded hinge pin is relatively easy. All you have to do is remove the current hinge pin and replace it with the new spring loaded hinge pin. This can usually be accomplished by placing the tip of a 4 inch common nail on the bottom of the hinge pin and using a hammer you can tap the head of the nail which should drive the pin up and through the hinge.
Note: Do not use a Philips or slot screwdriver to drive the hinge pin out of the hinge unless you do not care about the tips of your screwdrivers!
Note: It is wise to support the outer edge of the door, between the floor and the bottom of the door, when removing the hinge pin so that the hinge does not separate.
Once the hinge pin is removed you insert the spring loaded hinge pin in its place.
The hinge itself does not have to be removed from the door or the door frame.
Note: If you have a heavy door and one spring loaded replacement pin is not sufficient to shut the door automatically you can install a second pin in the lower hinge.
The second alternative is to install a set of specially designed spring loaded hinges, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 - Automatic door closer spring hinge
The installation of a spring loaded hinge requires the removal of the old hinges and replacing them with the new hinges. It should be noted that spring loaded hinges are usually larger than standard door hinges and if this is the case on your doors you will have to drill new mounting holes and possibly adjust the frame and door mortises to accommodate the new spring loaded hinges.
The spring loaded hinges come in a variety of metal finishes to match a home’s interior décor.
Note: In most cases, with either the spring loaded replacement hinge pin or the spring loaded hinge the amount of tension, which controls the speed at which the door closes, can be adjusted. For instructions on how to adjust the spring tension check the information sheet supplied with the products.