Prepare Your Elevators for Winter Featured Image

Prepare Your Elevators for Winter

As the cold weather rolls in, you may be focused on making sure your building’s lobby stays warm and dry. But when was the last time you considered doing the same for your elevators’ engine room?

In this article we share our best tips for helping your elevators run smoothly and safely during a cold snap, winter storm, or flash flood.

Even in the beginning of the winter, before the coldest days arrive, there are several actions you can take to minimize disruption to your elevator traffic.

Watch the temperature

Your top priority should be to keep the engine room properly heated – minimally in the range of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit – and to eliminate any cold air leaking into the space.

If your elevators run on a hydraulic system, it’s crucial to ensure that the temperature of the hydraulic oil does not drop to a point where it impacts system performance. In a worst-case scenario, cold temperatures can cause the hydraulic oil to congeal. The cold, thick oil can trigger anything from erratic levelling of the elevator car to a complete system failure. For peace of mind, some building managers choose to install a tank heater in the oil reservoir. This simple system maintains the oil temperature at 85-95 degrees, the optimal range for peak performance.

Another important checkpoint during cold weather is to proactively ensure that the steel rails are properly lubricated. This will prevent any squeaky noises and possible disruption of operation if a slowdown develops during peak usage periods.

Clear the hallways, floors, and doors

To avoid issues with elevator doors operating properly, it’s a good idea to maintain a regular regimen for keeping both the car- and hall-side door tracks clear of debris all year. The winter season, however, calls for increased cleaning activity since tracks can quickly become clogged with packed snow, ice, salt, mud, and even pine needles from holiday trees. In addition to professional maintenance, you can perform your own touch-ups such as thoroughly vacuuming out the door tracks, using paint brushes to help loosen and remove common track debris, and – for more stubborn obstructions – a stiff nylon brush.

Precautions during floods

In the early winter, when weather conditions are milder, winter storms can bring severe flooding – which can cause major issues for your elevators. Here’s what to consider when expecting the worst.

Prior to an anticipated storm

  • Check the condition of the pits to make sure that sump pumps are not clogged and permitting ice and snow to accumulate. Further, you should never operate the pumps in the presence of such buildup as this can cause freezing of the trolleys, leading to substantial strain and damage to the travelling cables.
  • Check the function and charge of the battery backup to ensure the operation of emergency lowering during storm-related electrical outages
  • Barricade the motor room to prevent, as completely as possible, entry by a substantial volume of water
  • Close hoistway vents and openings to keep water out of the shaft

During flood conditions

  • Move the cars to the top floor(s), shut down the system and power, and make sure that there are no remaining building occupants who need the elevators to evacuate safely.

Download your winter checklist

To ensure you are ready for any difficulties the winter season might bring for the elevators in your building, we have created a handy checklist for you to download. Simply print and use this list to stay on top of potential issues and keep traffic running smoothly all winter long.

Download your checklist (NEED PDF)

Let’s Talk About Your Elevator Service Needs

For help getting your elevators ready for winter’s challenges, call the friendly ASG team at 877-689-0805.