One of the major benefits of fitting automatic gates is that you no longer need to get out of your car to open and close them. This is great all year round, but it’s particularly valuable during the winter months, when it can be a real wrench to step out of a warm car into the cold and wet.
So, what about when the weather turns really cold? If a cold snap brings snow and ice, will that influence how well the automatic gates function?
No one likes the idea of being forced to get out of the car on a freezing cold day to troubleshoot gates which aren’t working. The good news is that automatic gates can be relied upon to work in all kinds of conditions. The key to keeping them working and able to cope with whatever the weather throws at them is regular maintenance, particularly in the winter.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the steps you can take to keep your gates working reliably throughout the year.
Keep up with the servicing schedule
Automatic gates need to be serviced regularly. The frequency will depend on the amount of daily usage they receive. A regular service, particularly before the arrival of winter, can give you confidence that your gates will be able to handle whatever the unpredictable British weather does. During a service all the moving components will be checked, any hydraulic fluid will be changed, hinges will be greased, and any potential issues will be before they’re allowed to become a problem.
Remove daily snow and other debris
When snow does fall it should be removed from your gates, particularly any snow that lies on the ground in the path your gates follow when they open and close. Try and clear as much away by hand as possible. Don’t use salt, as this can damage the finish of your gates and cause potential problems if it gets into the gate motors. Perhaps more of a regular problem than snow is leaves during the autumn and winter. These can build up, rot down, and ultimately turn to compost that obstructs the transit of your gates. To prevent this happening, you should clear fallen leaves from your drive and from around your gates on a regular basis.
Remove any obstructions from the photocells
The photocells are a key part of any gate automation system. They help to ensure that your gate system is safe, and attention should be paid to them to make sure they’re always working effectively. To do this, you should remove snow, debris, and leaves from the photocells using a warm damp cloth. Never use cleaning or oil-based sprays on your gate photocells.
Run the operating system when the weather freezes
Running the gate motors a few times will help to keep the inner gears working, and the linkages free. This will ensure that the mechanism is able to move properly and alert you to any potential issues, such as frozen or binding mechanisms. Any potential issues can be rectified quickly by a maintenance engineer.
Check your drainage
If your gates are fitted with underground motors, then you’ll need to make sure that they have adequate drainage. They shouldn’t be sitting in water at any time of the year, but during winter, when there’s heavier rainfall, and potential frost and snowmelt, this is even more important. During a heavier period of rain take a look at your motor and ensure that the drainage is working as it should be. Check that drain holes are not blocked and that running water isn’t pooling around the motor housings.
Keep the moving parts properly lubricated
Keeping gears, hinges, wheel hubs, bearings and articulated arms lubricated should help to ensure smooth movement, reducing friction and the risk of a serious issue developing.
Good practice all-year round
Making sure you have gates that you can rely upon all-year round comes down to good maintenance. Not only will regular servicing and light maintenance keep your gates working in snow and ice, it will also extend their life overall.