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There’s nothing more annoying than a storm door that keeps blowing open on a windy day.
Not only does it let in cold air, bugs, leaves, and dust, but it can also damage your door. Leading to warping, loose hinges, and poor alignment. In some cases, the door can be torn from the doorframe, resulting in costly repairs!
Thankfully, this is very fixable.
In this article, we’ll explain why your door might be blowing open – even if you don’t live in a high-wind area – and how you can fix the problem with a door closer, door chain, realignment or by reversing the door completely.
Ready to get started?
Why Your Door Is Blowing Open
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a screen door or storm door, high winds can cause your door to blow open – and you may not even realize it!
To make matter worse, doors that blow open suddenly can be a risk to your children, pets or other members of your family.
There are several reasons why doors blow open – and isolating the reason can help you find the right solution.
The first culprit is an unsecured door. Most homeowners overlook the importance of a high-quality closer, chain or latch. As a result, the door has no closing mechanism or hook to keep it attached to the wall. And while many might use decorative door stops, they’re often filled with sand and won’t be strong enough to withstand fierce winds!
If your door blows open when it’s shut (with or without the bolt), there could be a problem with your door’s alignment. When screen and storm doors get battered by children and harsh weather conditions, the hinges can loosen and make your door hang incorrectly. This prevents the latch or locking bolt from aligning with the strike plate. Not only does this allow the wind to open your door, but it can also be a security risk for your family.
The other reason why your door keeps blowing open is the position of your home. High altitudes or exposure to frequent winds could result in slamming doors, particularly if they open the wrong way. This can also occur even if you have strong door closers and chains. Builders or remodelers often factor this into their plans, but it’s easily overlooked and only becomes apparent when it’s too late.
How to Fix A Door That Blows Open
Once you’ve worked out why your door is blowing open, you can choose one of the following solutions to solve it. Ideally, you should implement more than one solution to ensure that your door functions correctly and remains weather-proof for years to come.
1. Door Closer
The easiest fix is a screen or storm door closer. If your door didn’t come with one, it’s never too late to install it. This allows your door to close slowly and gently, preventing the slamming or swinging that often happens when there’s a slight wind – or even when there isn’t!
Door closers come in two types: pneumatic and hydraulic.
Pneumatic closers have a strong spring inside that absorbs shock, resulting in a fast, smooth close. To change the speed, you turn the screw on the closer to adjust it.
Hydraulic closers use spring tension modulated by fluid. This fluid moves from chamber to chamber as the door closes, providing a slow and steady close. Like pneumatic closers, they have a latch that allows you to change the resistance to suit your preferences and needs.
Of the two, pneumatic closers are more popular because they’re cheaper and easier to maintain. Hydraulic closers need to be refilled if they leak, and the cost can be the same as replacing the closer itself. However, hydraulic closers can handle heavier doors, which is why they’re often used in industrial settings.
When buying a door closer, choose one that suits the weight and style of your door.
As for materials, opt for heavy-duty steel for longevity and performance.
Also, consider a closer with a spring-assisted dead stop. This additional feature will absorb shock and prevent the door from opening to its full position.
2. Screen or Storm Door Chain
If your closer isn’t strong enough to handle winds in your area, consider installing a door chain.
This can prevent damage to the closer (when it’s under stress) and limit how far a door extends. Door chain kits are widely available and installation is easy. Again, for longevity and high performance, make sure the chain is made from high-quality steel.
3. Realign the Door
When door closers and chains aren’t helping your door stay closed, it might be time to take a look at your door alignment.
Check to see if your latch or bolt are aligning properly with the door plate.
If it isn’t, your door isn’t closing properly, even when you think you’ve turned the lock.
This usually happens when you’ve got loose hinges. Inspect the door screws and hinges to see if they’re loose. Tighten them with a screwdriver and see if this fixes the alignment problem.
If it doesn’t, you may need to assess the condition of the door frame. Do you see cracks or rot in the wood? If so, this will make it difficult for hinges to stay put.
The solution for this is to repair your door frame and reinstall your screen or storm door. If you’ve got DIY skills, do it yourself. Alternatively, call a professional to make sure it’s done properly.
Either way, it’s worth the cost because your door won’t blow open and it’ll improve your security too.
4. Reverse the Swing of the Door
Living in a strong wind area can be challenging.
You need to reinforce windows, tie down outdoor furniture, and weatherproof door frames.
But if your external doors are blowing open all the time, it might be time to reverse your doors so they open outwards instead of inwards.
Before you do this, make sure that you’ve got a ‘universal’ door that allows for reversal. Most doors can open both ways, but it’s best to check beforehand.
You can do this yourself or hire a professional. If you don’t have a universal door, you could invest in a new door that opens in the right direction!
Should Screen Doors and Storm Doors Open Inward or Outward?
Secondary screen and storm doors tend to swing outward because there isn’t space for two inward-swinging doors (front doors tend to swing inwards).
However, if you have a storm door on its own, it’s better to have it swing inwards.
This protects the hinges from weather exposure and prevents the open door from absorbing moisture (particularly if it’s made of wood). It’s also more convenient when you’re entering your house – and a good way of keeping strangers out.
If you’re thinking of buying a screen or storm door to add further security to your home, it’s best to get an outward-opening door. They tend to be more wind-resistant and prevent leaves or dust from being drawn into your house.
When Should You Replace Your Door?
It’s time to buy a new screen or storm door when all the recommendations above don’t work. This means that your door is too old or made from low-quality materials.
Most doors have a limited life. Screen doors, for example, can last up to 30 years if they’re well maintained. Storm doors can last even longer if they’re made from steel or heavy-duty aluminium.
As a new homeowner or tenant, you might not know the age of your door or how it was treated before you moved in. As a preventative measure, inspect it regularly for wear or damage.
If you find that the condition is poor and the door keeps swinging open, then you’re not getting any security or weather protection for your home. That’s when it’s time to upgrade to a high-quality door with closers and chains.
Screen and storm doors can blow open for many reasons – but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it!
With a quick inspection, you can find the root cause and start implementing solutions, like adding a chain to protect the door closer or tightening the hinge screws to improve alignment.
At worst, you may need to reverse the door or get it replaced with a sturdier model. This is preferable to the risks you take with a faulty door. Either way, your door won’t blow open, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of added security, weather-resistance, and a smooth close!
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