Why Door Close Buttons On Elevators Don't Work

Even if your building has an up-to-date elevator that runs with all the speed and precision of a Swiss watch, it’s likely you’ve found yourself waiting the maddening extra few seconds for the doors to finally close. You may have even punched the “door close” button a time or two. If you did, it was in vain. That’s because in most elevators close buttons are never actually programmed to work. In fact, about 80% of them don’t work. The reason has more to do with practicality than spite. Most elevators are programmed to learn and work off a building’s traffic patterns — like the rush of activity around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. — and, therefore, know when to return to the ground floor as quickly as possible and when to idle. Artificially forcing the doors to close — as when you press the door close button — can throw this off. Elevator technicians say that if you want to get the doors to close faster — such as when the elevator has stopped on a floor and there’s no one to get on — just wave your arm through the door and pull it back quickly. That will make sensors in standard elevators think that a person has entered, and then the doors will shut.