Does the ‘Close Door’ button really work? If you press it repeatedly, will the doors close faster? Likely, you’ve considered these questions while pushing that elevator button (maybe even more than you’d like to admit) as you waited for the doors to slide shut. As passengers, it’s only natural to want the elevator to move as quickly as possible. But does pressing ‘Close Door’ help that happens?
We got to the bottom of some of the most common elevator myths, including whether pushing the ‘Close Door’ button shuts the elevator doors more quickly.
Doors will open without an elevator car
Rest assured – elevator doors won’t open into an empty shaft. There are two sets of doors; one for each floor and one for the elevator. According to How Stuff Works, elevators have “clutch mechanism that unlocks the outer doors at each floor and pulls them open.” This clutch is only activated once an elevator car stops at a floor. That’s when the doors will open to allow riders to board.
Elevator doors can also be pried open or opened via the “key hole” in an emergency. (There’s no official name for this feature, explains Brian Black, the National Elevator Industry Inc.’s code, and safety director.) The key hole is that tiny slot, which looks a lot like a peep hole in a door, that can be unlocked by individuals with a drop key. Not all elevators have a key hole, but when they do, they are more commonly accessed by maintenance (as emergency responders may not carry a drop key and would likely just pry the doors open). Only then will elevator doors open without a car in the shaft.
Pushing the ‘Close Door’ button shuts elevator doors more quickly
You may as well call this one the ‘Placebo’ button, according to the New York Times. Press it to your heart’s content, but the doors aren’t going to close any faster. The ‘Close Door’ button function was adjusted when the Americans With Disabilities Act came to pass in 1990. In order to allow all riders enough time to get on, “the riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster”, explained Karen W. Penafiel, executive director of National Elevator Industry Inc.
Although most elevators have been modernized or are headed for modernization, it’s important to note that some elevators may still have a working ‘Close Door’ button.
Besides making us all feel better, the button still exists in elevators today for emergency personnel. They may have codes they can enter in urgent situations that render the button functional again.
North of the border, this button really does work. Global News reported that the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (which operates in Ontario, Canada) says that the ‘Close Door’ button does work in most elevators, but only to initiate the process of closing. Pressing it repeatedly doesn’t get those doors to close any faster – sorry!
Elevator mirrors are so you can check yourself out
This one’s only partly true. There are a few reasons elevators include mirrors. Medium reported that mirrors have been installed (inside and outside elevators) as a way to distract riders from time spent waiting and riding. In our fast-paced society, people don’t like “wasting” time, and mirrors give the illusion of something to do (ie. look at ourselves). Elevator selfies have experienced a recent boom in pop culture, as riders take advantage of the time to snap a quick picture.
Mirrors also offer a sense of security in crowded elevators where you have more visibility from all angles to other riders. Plus, they make the cab appear larger than it really is; the small cab space can make some people uncomfortable.
All these distractions make mirrors the modern day version of elevator music. In its conception, elevator music was created to disguise the then-new grinding noises from riders and put them at ease. Now, mirrors help remedy modern issues like wait times, security, and more.
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