If this is your company’s first winter in a building with an elevator, you need to be proactive about dealing with the cold temperatures. Understanding the problems that cold weather can cause will help you to prevent some costly complications with your elevator system. Here are a few tips to avoid some of the more significant threats that winter can pose.
Keep the hydraulic oil warm. The cold weather can cause the hydraulic oil to become cold, which can thicken the oil and slow it down. This can interfere with the function of the elevator, causing problems like incorrect leveling or improper lift response. The best way to avoid this kind of problem is to keep the hydraulic oil warm. You can do this in several ways. If your elevator equipment is all housed in a machine room, make sure the temperature of that room stays warm. Otherwise, you can install a tank heater in the oil reservoir. This will radiate heat to the oil, allowing it to flow freely.
Lubricate the guide rails regularly. During the winter months, the cold, dry air can actually cause the guide rail lubricant to dry out. This causes friction between those guide rails and the elevator lift. If you’re hearing grinding, squealing or other odd noises from the elevator shaft when you call the elevator, that could be why. Hire an elevator maintenance technician to inspect the rails and lubricate them regularly throughout the winter season.
Test the backup system. Your elevator’s battery backup system is essential for ensuring that the elevator can lower to the main floor in the event of a power failure. With winter’s threat of ice and snow storms comes the threat of power failures. Have the battery backup system tested monthly if possible so that you can be sure that it will respond when you need it.
Set the elevator’s home floor to a warmer floor. If the elevator normally sits on the basement level until it’s called, that can lead to cold temperatures inside the elevator. If it gets cold enough, it can actually interfere with the button panel and the elevator’s operation. You can avoid this by having the elevator programmed to rest on a climate-controlled floor instead. For example, you can have it automatically return to the first floor where your lobby area is any time it’s not in use. Or, you can program it to automatically wait on the last floor it stopped at until it’s called to another one. This keeps the elevator car out of the cold temperatures. It also keeps its temperature more comfortable for your clients and employees.