Elevator Maintenance – How to Avoid Costly Repair Bills

In today’s market, everyone is looking for ways to reduce their elevator maintenance costs and all building managers will tell you that elevator repairs can be very costly, especially when overtime service is required. The purpose of this article is to show you a few simple things to look for when dealing with an elevator shutdown to reduce downtime and costly repairs. Most elevator shutdowns are door related. For obvious reasons, the elevator is designed not to run with the doors open. The doors must be closed completely and locked before the elevator will move to another floor. If the doors do not lock, the elevator will not run. Some door related problems might be as follows:

  1. Elevator continues to open and close the doors but will not leave the floor to answer a call.
  2. Elevator will not close doors at all.
  3. Elevator begins to close door but will not close completely.
  4. Elevator doors appear to be closed but the elevator will not move.

Using some basic observations skills, many of these problems can be remedied without the expense of calling your elevator service provider. Some safe and easy solutions for these problems are given below.

  • Check for trash or debris at the bottom of the door in the door sill. The door sill guides the bottom of the door to keep it from being pushed into the elevator shaft. Guides fit inside a groove in the sill. The clearance in these grooves is nominal and it takes very little to jam the door so that it will not close properly. I have found everything from pocket change, bottle caps, paper, or even very small screws wedged in the door sill. If the elevator doors do not close completely the elevator will not run.

  • Check the door reopening device. All elevators have devices that detect if an object is in the door to keep the door from closing on a passenger. Some of these are mechanical, some are electronic with infrared beams, and some have a combination of both. The mechanical door detectors can get stuck in the retracted position causing the elevator to believe that someone or something is obstructing the door. The infrared detector lenses will get dirty not allowing the receiving unit to see the infrared beam. Be sure the detector lenses are clean and free of dirt. Both of these will cause the doors not to close or sound an alarm and close at a reduced speed, depending on the code restrictions in your area.

  • Check for stuck push buttons. Many times the elevator doors are not the problem at all. If a push button on the car or in the hall is stuck, the elevator will remain on that floor with the doors open. For example, if the door open button is stuck, the elevator will hold the doors open. If the 2nd floor button is stuck, the elevator will go to the 2nd floor and remain there with the door open. Many times you will be able to get the button unstuck by simply pushing it a few times. This is only a temporary fix. If this occurs, the button usually needs replacing and a technician should be called.

Most of the situations listed above are billable calls not covered in elevator maintenance contract. Doing these simple things will help building managers reduce billable repairs, as well as, elevator down time. Remember to never attempt to gain access to the top of the elevator or open the elevator doors manually. This requires proper training. Elevators are electrical and mechanical devices. Great care should be taken when dealing with such devices.