Servicing Automatic Gates and Operators
With advances in technology and high-quality products that are used to manufacture gates and openers, maintenance is kept at a minimum. That, however, doesn’t mean proactive measures shouldn’t be taken to ensure the gate and opener remain in tip-top working order. Here are a few DIY tips regarding gate and operator maintenance, some of which, can be performed by you, the owner. You might be surprised at how little one really needs to do to keep these babies in pristine condition! With that being said, however, even though minor repair and maintenance issues can be done by the gate-owner himself, keeping the phone number of a reputable professional on hand is always a wise choice. A professional will ensure a thoroughly comprehensive analysis of your gate and operator takes place during scheduled appointments throughout the year. It’s much a car that receives regular servicing—you take care of it, and it will take care of you!
Protecting the Arm:
Grab a simple can of spray silicon and aim it directly at the inner tube that travels in and out of the arm. One would logically think that spray oils would be a good protectant, as well, but never use spray or penetrating oils since they have an inherent tendency to gather dirt and dust, resulting in harmful grunge build-up. Spray silicone, on the other hand, does an extremely effective job of keeping the inner seal soft and supple and also keeps moisture at bay which prevents the arm from ‘freezing up’ when temperatures plummet.
Protecting the Hinge Section:
Again, nothing complicated needs to be done to ensure the hinge area remains in perfect working condition—just a few simple things. Number one, since many hinges—especially for swing gates—have grease fittings, they should be greased about once every 4 months. Number two, once a year, one should remove the arm and manually swing the gate to determine if it is working perfectly. Double-check that all the hinges are tight and solid, and visually scrutinize for any cracks in the joints and welds.
Protecting the Chain:
Chains can be problematic and it’s not unusual to have chains as the culprit for many repair assignments. Chain-drive slide gates need only minimal ‘babying’. Never use WD-40 as a lubricant for any chains. The best option is spray-on white lithium grease and apply to the chain every few months to ensure the chain remains flexible and can better withstand freezing temperatures.
Protection from Pests:
Destroy any signs of pest intrusion that becomes evident. But never use chemicals or liquids as a means to rid your components of pesky intruders. This is where a professional should be called. An expert will know exactly how to counteract any and all unwelcomed guests.
Any type of electrical equipment installed outdoors has a natural enemy—and pests are it. Concerning vermin include insects, snails, rodents and reptiles. Believe it or not, snails and slugs can literally destroy a circuit board in no time. Their slimy little trails wreak havoc because they become highly conductive, in-spite of minimal moisture. Then there are the arachnids—spiders. Would you believe spider webs with minimal dew on them can also conduct electricity and damage a gate’s circuit board?–strange, but true. Gate-opener circuitry can continue to be ravaged by bee’s nests and ant hills that will do a wonderful job of corroding those things you spent good money on.
Don’t Maintain Your Gate and Operator Alone:
For those who enjoy the do-it-yourself approach, there are certainly some things that can be done on one’s own. But since an automated gate system is a significant investment, it’s prudent to allow a professional to perform scheduled services for most of the maintenance and repair. An expert in the field will leave no stone unturned. Here’s a list of just some of the many services professions will perform:
1: brackets and ground tracks—are they mounted securely?
2: control boxes—are they clean and vermin-free?
3: hydraulic oil—is it at the correct level?
4: drive belt chain—does it require any adjusting?
5: electrical connections—do they reveal any abnormalities?
6: internal moving parts—are they in need of lubrication?
7: security gate sensors—are they malfunctioning in any way?
With your regular maintenance regime as a do-it-yourselfer, combined with scheduled maintenance from experts who have trained insight from everything electrical to everything physical, your gate and gate operator will serve you well for many, many years to come!