The concept of preventive maintenance has long been accepted as the keystone for continuous operation and long lifespan of an elevator. Conducting routine checkups can help prevent a number of unforeseen events. Generally, natural causes such as adverse weather conditions can affect the safe and continuous operation of the accessibility system. For instance, cold weather can have an effect on the operation of all accessibility devices, and elevators are no exception.
With winter on its way, it is important for building owners to prepare elevators for the season. Below mentioned are some of the useful maintenance tips that can be followed during the winter season –
- Cold hydraulic oil – Cold weather can cause large fluctuations in the temperature of the hydraulic oil that potentially lifts the elevator. The hydraulic oil temperature should be between 85 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit so as to benefit from optimal performance. For instance, if your equipment is in the garage, upper floor or any other area that is not under climate control, it may result in problems such as erratic leveling of the system. There are two options to solve this issue. The primary option will be to keep the machine room at consistent temperature. Another option will be to install a “tank heater” in the hydraulic oil reservoir to control the temperature of the oil.
- Lubricate dry rails – Due to the cold weather, the lubricant on the guide rails may sometimes dry out creating increased friction between the rails and the lift. This in turn may result in a strange noise from the lift shaft as it moves up and down. Therefore the steel rails should be lubricated. It is important to hire the services of a certified, trained and professional technician familiar with the prominent safety features and the device operational mechanisms to perform this task.
- Parking in climate controlled floors – If the lift is not climate controlled, the temperature inside the cab can be made comfortable by parking the lift on any one of the “climate controlled floors” when not in use and leave the swinging door open on any of the floors. In addition, a parking or homing feature can be installed that can be automatically programmed to park the device at the climate controlled floor and automatically return the same to a specific floor when it is required for use.
- Check backup system – Most elevator systems feature a battery backup system that offers emergency lowering facility in the event of power failure due to ice storms, blizzards and freezing rain. Users need to check whether the backup system is fully functional and fully charged so that it will work properly during a power outage.
- Check elevator pit sump – It is crucial for building owners to check whether the device pit sump is in good working condition as this helps to avoid the chances of ice and snow buildup in the pit. Never operate the device with ice and snow build up as this can cause the trolleys to freeze, thereby causing severe damage to the travelling cable.
Whether for residential or commercial applications, elevators are built to be safe, durable and convenient. However, once installed regular and adequate maintenance is what matters the most. Prolonged use and inclement weather exposes the device to regular wear and tear that may potentially affect its efficient and smooth operation. In addition, systems that are not well maintained are prone to accidents. So it is essential for homeowners / building owners to schedule regular maintenance at least once a year or more depending upon individual use and needs.