On Sunday 24th January, we experienced our first heavy snowfall down in Berkshire, where Benincà UK is located. This has been threatened for a while and whilst it brings joy for many, it can unfortunately cause problems for your electric gates.
With that in mind, we wanted to flag how below freezing temperatures and adverse weather can take its toll and impact on the smooth functioning of electric gates and have pulled together some helpful tips below:
1. Throughout the winter months and especially when temperatures begin to drop below freezing, we always recommend not to leave your gates unused and run them a few times to get everything moving as you’d expect. Low temperatures and moist environments can cause parts to seize, don’t let that one morning where the gates won’t open be a surprise, be prepared.
2. Especially with hydraulic operators, whilst the oil has a very low freezing point, the colder the outside temperature the more solid the oil will become, and it may cause your gate motors to stop working correctly. Special ‘winter oil’ is available but also keeping the hydraulic temperature up through regular opening and closing cycles will help.
3. This may seem an obvious one, but if there has been some snowfall, any snow can act as an obstacle for the gate, so please make sure you clear the surrounding area of the gate, so the snow doesn’t act as a block and stop the gate from functioning.
4. Photocells are fundamental to the safety of your gate system. They make the safety circuit via an IR beam between the receiver and transmitter. Always make sure you wipe them clean and remove any frost or snow, as if the sensors become blocked, they will stop the gate from working. You can simply wipe them clean with a damp cloth using warm water.
5. In very cold conditions it is common for locks to seize and even gate hinges to freeze and become stiff or even frozen solid. Everything has a freezing point and in the UK we have a humid climate so the addition of moisture combined with freezing temperatures, means locks, maglocks and other moving parts can become frozen. To help avoid this from happening, we recommend adding a small amount of WD–40 to the area. Whilst the WD-40 will not stop the low temperatures, it will strip a lot of moisture so will prevent the frozen lock in some cases. We always advise that when the temperature is back to normal, to wipe clean anything that has been sprayed with WD-40.
6. Always check your safety systems and make sure all safety circuits work as normal. It should be common practice for regular maintenance of your safety devices such as rubber safety edges. Give the gates an open and close command and apply pressure to safety edges to make sure the system works as intended. It is possible that again, with added moisture in the environment, some safety edge circuits such as rubber edges can be prone to perform differently, or not at all. Whilst they should always ‘fail safe’……it’s good practice to check your gate system during this cold spell and beyond.
7. Do you have an intercom system? In very low temperatures the camera on a video intercom may be covered with snowfall and although unlikely, it is possible that the buttons on your call point or keypad could become stuck, so check them, don’t miss an important visitor in this spell of cold weather.
8. Does your gate motor have enough torque, and has it been set up correctly? The majority of Beninca gate motors have electronic control of motor torque and many have the ability of an auto-set feature. If installed in the height of summer, with newly installed hinges the movement of the gates that defined the auto set up will be very different to operating them today in the cold weather snap. If the torque settings were not set adequately your gate system may not close fully or have false safety triggers where it believes it is sensing an obstacle. Have your gate system regularly serviced to make sure the system is set up correctly and working as intended.
We hope the above tips have been useful, however if you do have any further queries, please do give us a call on 01488 658276 and our team here at Benincà UK would be more than happy to answer your questions.