Russ Ward

Elevator Winterization – Let It Snow

Elevator Winterization – Oh the weather outside is frightful…is your elevator ready to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow? As a chill fills the air in most of the US and Canada, it is a good question. Is your elevator ready for cold temps and inclement weather? This blog has always been about all things elevator including how to take care of them and keep them operating at peak performance. As a result, cold seasonal temps should be addressed. So consider giving your building the holiday gift of elevator winterization.

The holiday season is the perfect time to consider some of the following items. Some of the tips may be part of routine maintenance or you might be Florida, however these are things to consider regardless:

  • Time to look your maintenance contract over! You have a limited window to make alterations. Just like Santa checking his list twice, you should set aside some time to review your maintenance contract. I always recommend sending your current company notice that you are ending the contract. This gives you tremendous flexibility and a good way to open negotiations or if dissatisfied pick a different maintenance company. If you bought one of our elevators, they all have non-proprietary components so anyone can maintain them.
  • Check the log (not the yule log) and see how often the elevator was visited by your technician. It is either electronic or on a clipboard in the machine room. You may be shocked at how little actual maintenance you are paying for! If no one has been to see your elevator in more than a few months, call to get an explanation. One case I personally know of is a property manager who had the locks changed on the machine room knowing that the maintenance company would come looking for a key. Six months later still no one asked for it, but the invoice she received indicated two routine maintenance visits. Whoops!
  • When they do show up ask about specifics like hydraulic oil temps regarding hydraulic elevators. If your weather is more like you would find at St. Nick’s workshop knowing that can be helpful. Optimally, the temp of the fluid that makes your elevator work should be between 75 to 95 degree Fahrenheit. That is a general range and can be higher and lower with in limits. If you have no heat in the machine room or your unit is at the top of the hoistway or on the roof, you may need to see about getting a tank heater or insulating the machine room better. Another tale-tell sign is if your elevator has trouble leveling at floors properly. Sluggish operation should be addressed.
  • Are you hearing a groan or moan like Marley from a Christmas Carol when your elevator is going up or down? It may not be the ghosts of Christmases past, present or future. It could be due to cold weather making grease or lubricant sticky. Your lube can dry out over time and the cold maybe exacerbating that process.
  • If Jack Frost nips at your nose every time you enter the elevator, it may be parking when not in use at the wrong floor. When your elevator car is not being used, you can often choose where it sits. Having it sitting at garage floors or at levels with exterior entrances can put a chill in the air. If you want a cozier ride, have the car when idle parked on a floor with heating.
  • With ice and bad weather possibly turning your area into a winter wonderland, it is a good idea to check out lowering systems. Many elevators have a way for the elevator to automatically move to the lowest or main floor for egress when the power goes out. Have your technician double check the battery lowering or battery backup system. If the power goes out due to ice storms or heavy snow, the backup is needed. Now is the time to make sure the system is working.
  • Most elevators have a sump pump in the elevator pit to keep water out! In most cases these sit dormant. However, due to colder temps a water pipe can burst and lead to water running down into the hoistway. If the pump does not do its job, the damage could include expensive elevator components.
Exterior or garage entrances can make for a cold elevator car.

The above is just a short list you can talk over with your elevator maintenance company. If they are not responsive, give you grief or want to charge more for a simple winterization check up…you got the wrong company. Follow through on firing them as soon as you can.

You are responsible for the safe operation of your elevator and the above list will help, but you have to have a willing partner. It is always a good idea to line up maintenance now than dealing with someone stuck, especially when it is cold outside. Be proactive so your elevator can give you years of reliable service. Remember as long as you love your elevator so, you can say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Happy Holidays from Modular Elevator Manufacturing!

Conclusion – Here’s the Pitch

Not going to say much here, but lots of the above steps can be interrupted by purchasing an elevator that has proprietary parts and components or use proprietary tools. Never, let me repeat, never purchase an elevator with proprietary parts and tools. It is a scam and a rip off to increase your costs and the elevator company’s profits in the long run. Secondarily, never purchase a building with an elevator with proprietary parts. It is largely an unseen future expense that will drive up costs for maintenance agreements.

We at MEM never use proprietary parts and tools. Contact us to find out the reasons why. You can also get a Fast Track Quote by clicking the link below. Lastly, if you are interest in the least, set up a live virtual tour of our facility. You can ask any question you want and find out for your self how we are taking you higher with high-quality commercial elevators.

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