Modern elevators are an essential addition to large residential and commercial buildings. Without them, elderly and disabled people have no way of getting to their apartments, while office structures implement elevator systems to speed up employee interactions. There is no denying it: by speeding up and simplifying movement between floors, elevators make everyone faster and improve the lives of people with disabilities.
However, while the damages and failure of elevator components are quite rare, some people flat-out refuse to use an elevator, mainly due to irrational concerns over a potential safety risk. Despite the rarity of surprise breakdowns, most elevators receive frequent inspections, in accordance to lift safety regulations, established by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Building owners are responsible for the reliable operation of all elevators, and because the average person is afraid of potential issues, they conduct required inspections, even if the elevator’s performance shows no signs of damage.
This beginner’s guide covers regular maintenance needs for residential and commercial elevators. Below you will learn about the regular wear and tear of elevators, as well as servicing and repair of elevator-related equipment.
Residential elevator basics
This section covers the fundamentals of elevator services and lift maintenance. Elevators are very complex machines, therefore the majority of regular inspections and maintenance tasks are conducted by an elevator repair company. Even minor damages, mobility issues and basic elevator inspections are conducted by elevator companies as part of a signed maintenance contract.
However, while maintaining a commercial elevator demands more regular maintenance expertise from an elevator maintenance company, preparing for a maintenance visit with proper cleaning of the elevator cab and making sure all the machines are functioning correctly will ensure that annual elevator inspections come and go without necessary repairs.
What is the basic maintenance of an elevator?
To prepare for complex tasks that require professional assistance from an elevator maintenance company, and unskilled workers in office spaces, the general rule is to focus on fluid servicing and cleaning of external surfaces within the elevator car and the machine room. The rest depends on frequent monitoring of installed elevators, making sure that they are functioning correctly. This way, if any unexpected damages occur, property managers log elevator inspections to provide as much information to professionals under a service contract.
What is the service life of an elevator?
On average, elevators in residential buildings about 25 to 30 years. For large office spaces, this number can get lower due to a higher usage rate. However, this lifespan can be prolonged if you schedule elevator maintenance following the manufacturer’s recommendations. In most cases, conducting a thorough inspection at least once a year with the help of most elevator companies should help you meet this benchmark without much trouble.
What to do when an elevator is out of service?
If a commercial elevator malfunctions, the best course of action is to call the elevator company and schedule emergency repair procedures. Reactive elevator servicing should only be done by licensed technicians who understand the structure and can implement repairs without endangering people in the elevator cab.
Does HSE regulate elevators?
As the main regulatory body for safety regulations, the Health and Safety Executive covers workplace elevator use and maintenance recommendations in the section for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. Other requirements for elevator implementation and maintenance can be found in the statutory guidance for lifts regulations.
How do I know when my elevator needs to be serviced?
When residential elevators work in optimal condition, the best guide for maintenance intervals is the manufacturer’s manual. Of course, if you choose the same elevator company as your contractor, all elevator service procedures will adhere to safety recommendations and suggested time intervals.
However, just because your residential elevator is not due for a checkup, that does not mean that it operates in optimal condition. To identify and cater to the elevator’s servicing needs, property managers should track and log any suspicious sounds, noises, or unexpected behaviour.
Elevator maintenance tips
While the majority of elevator maintenance should be left in the hands of professionals, this section will cover tips for keeping your lifts in optimal condition and identifying problems ahead of time.
Conduct Inspections to find Issues
Visual inspections are the key to identifying problems in elevators. Regularly checking key components doors cables, control elements, or any other essential part is a great practice for property maintenance workers. They help detect problems a lot faster, which leads to a swift resolution of problems with the help of experts at elevator companies.
Schedule Maintenance Inspections Every Few Months
If you believe that your elevator does not receive enough maintenance and repairs during recommended servicing intervals, increase the frequency of elevator inspection procedures, and thorough maintenance inspections. Keeping a watchful eye on elevator components, even if their functionality is not fully understood, will help you find signs of damage and gradual failure ahead of time. This way, you can prevent surprise breakdowns and prepare elevator repairs ahead of time, with cheaper replacement parts
Keep your elevators clean
Elevator maintenance procedures come and go without significant repairs if the elevator car and control components are being kept clean. Thorough cleaning is an essential maintenance procedure for all industrial equipment. After a routine elevator inspection, property managers make sure that dust, debris, and other contaminants are swiftly removed before getting a chance to affect internal components.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations
No equipment manufacturer maintains such a tight bond with their product like elevator companies. Following their tips and recommendations on elevator servicing will help you maintain the machine in the best possible shape before scheduled maintenance inspections.
Track your elevators with software assistance
While the complexity of residential and commercial elevators is rarely understood without proper training, modern lifts have sensors and digital components that send updates on the state of the elevator and its components. Even better, both the property managers and elevator technicians can track elevators, react to warnings, and schedule repairs with the help of facility management software.
What are the most common elevator repairs?
For most commercial and residential elevators, the main component that breaks down or malfunctions is the elevator door or its control panel. While these issues pose no immediate threat to people using the elevator, prolonged downtime is where the real issues begin: trapped users can start to feel claustrophobic, lightheaded, or even threatened by other people inside the cabin.
Regular elevator inspections and an open communication line with the manufacturer help to swiftly resolve common issues without aggravating or endangering other people.
The best strategies for elevator maintenance
For all elevator types, utilising a preventive maintenance strategy with basic routine tasks is a great way to minimise the slow depreciation of elevator components. Unlike heavy industrial machines, elevators rarely come in contact with abrasive materials and contaminants; therefore maintaining fluid levels and cleaning the elevator is more than enough to prepare it for a thorough examination.
In a residential or office space, modernised elevators have tools that inform technicians about gradual or total equipment failure. Implementing these tools into the system will help you make more repairs ahead of time before the issue starts affecting other components.
When do elevators need to be replaced?
Depending on the state of its components, an elevator should be replaced after the breakdown of its main components. Because it is a machine that performs a repeated set of actions under safe conditions and minimal effect from environmental factors, most elevators work for at least 20 years before necessary replacement is needed.
Elevator maintenance is a tricky process that should be split into two categories: non-skilled servicing tasks, usually completed by property managers or their subordinates. Then, when the time comes for a thorough examination, any changes and repairs should be done by experts at the elevator repair company.