How to adjust door closer spring power without adjustment screw

I recently installed a door closer for my wooden door, in order to keep it closed automatically to maintain the cold temperature in my air-conditioned room. Hopefully it will help me save some budgets on my monthly electric bill and also save our earth.. :)

standard door closer installed on a left hand door

After following the guide in the leaflet which has a marking template, I successfully installed one. But for the first try, I am very disappointed, not because it is not working (indeed it is), but it is really da** hard to open. It seems that I need to push a 1-tonne stone door, this reminds me to my favorite childhood tv show: THE FLINTSTONES. I find it really hard to open, moreover my wife and children. They all complain my door closer. After a week of complain, I decide to end it, my ears have given up. I try to read the leaflet again but still find no way to adjust this hardness, which is caused by the internal spring for sure. I also look online but only to find out that door closers are actually designed for different door weight (this determines its spring hardness) and there are also good-but-expensive door closers with adjustable spring power. At this moment, I just realize that my door closer has no spring power adjustment option and it is designed for a heavy-weight steel door. :'( I have bought a wrong one, but I cannot return it for it has no refund policy.

Instead of just mumbling, my brain starts its engine (Like a race: "Gentlemen, please start your engines" but in my case: "Dear brain, please start your engine"..haha LOL). Thanks to my old physics knowledge, I finally did it. All family members are surprised and cheered to find out that the door finally gets softened after my brain wins the race..haha..nope.. I mean after I do some tricks on it.

I think I should summarize and put this online, so anybody who has problem adjusting the door closer spring power, can also read my tricks and fix their door closers too:

  1. For door closer with spring power adjustment screw.
    If your door closer is equipped with this adjustment screw, you can easily adjust the spring power to make it easier or harder to open. The following figure shows how to adjust a typical door closer with a screw on the end side of the cylinder. The location of the spring power adjustment screw depends on the door closer brand, yours may have it located somewhere else. For more accurate information, refer to the instruction leaflet in your door closer box.
    adjustable door closer power

  2. For door closer WITHOUT spring power adjustment screw.
    It is quite difficult if your door closer has a fixed spring power with no adjustment option like mine. This is common on economic door closers, which are manufactured with less adjustment option to push the production cost lower. But utilizing the law of physics, we can still make this happen. Instead of turning the adjustment screw left or right, we can still adjust the door closer power by moving parts of the door closer away or closer to the door hinge. This trick does not alter the default spring installed in your door closer, so we wont name it "spring power adjustment" anymore. If you understand how a leverage system works or the relation between moment, force and distance, you will be surprised how this system can simply be applied to adjust the power of a door closer. The following figure shows how I did it on my door closer. It is a left hand door with standard door closer installation (not parallel arm nor top jam).
    how to adjust door closer without power adjustment screw

Please observe 3 elements in that figures: hinge, door closer and arm shoe. If you want to analyze its leverage system, you need to consider 1 more element: the door handle where you push/pull the door open with your hand. But since we are not giving lecture on physics here, we will just leave it to the scientists. LOL :).

And now let's get to the point, to adjust your door closer power you can move either the arm shoe or the door closer, away or closer to the door hinge. Arm shoe movement works in a contrary way with the door closer movement, in relation to your door closer power. The following table will give a better explanation for you.

Parts Decrease Opening Power
(Easier to open)
Increase Opening Power
(Harder to open)
Arm shoe Move away from hinge Move closer to hinge
Door closer Move closer to hinge Move away from hinge

That's all folks, hope you find it useful. Cheers.

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