The British weather can leave something to be desired at times so it stands to reason that on occasion it may have an impact on your electric gate openers!
Every season brings a new set of conditions and each of these has the possibility of causing an issue with your electric gate kit. These are all easily rectifiable issues that once you are aware of and know what to look out for, can be solved quickly & easily by even the most inexperienced DIY person.
Snow & Ice
As pretty as a dusting of snow can be in winter, it can cause your electric gate openers to malfunction very easily.
Your photocell sensors, once covered, will cease to function due the beam being continually broken. Just a quick sweep off and your electric gates will be fully operational!
Additionally, if you have sliding gates which have a track in the ground, you will need to check for snow and ice as a build up of either will stop the gates from sliding properly, or at all by physically blocking them or triggering the obstacle detection function.
Rain in inevitable in the UK and all electric gate kits are built to easily withstand this. Gate mounted arms will never encounter problems through rainfall but underground motors can sometimes find themselves at the root of a problem.
When installing underground motors, the foundation boxes will have soakaways built in to drain excess water away from the inside. Water will always get in to the boxes, but as long as the drainage is sufficient, the motors will not sit fully submerged in water for extended periods of time.
However, if you find that water is not draining away properly, it might be best to look at other issues. Most commonly, if a gateway is at the bottom of a slope, all the water that runs down the hill will channel in to them. This amount of water cannot be drained away via a simple soakaway so the best thing to do is to run a drainage channel across the driveway higher up to divert the water flow from reaching the foundation boxes in the first place.
As the seasons change and the leaves begin to fall, make sure to check your sliding gate tracks and photocells to make sure they are clear of tree debris. A littering of leaves can prevent your electric gate openers from working as they should so strap on a leaf blower or grab a brush to clear them...a very easy fix!
Flora & Fauna
Particularly in the summer months, trees, shrubs and flowers take full advantage of their time in the sunshine to bloom and grow.
If your gates start to act weirdly by stopping part way through operation or just not opening at all, take some time to inspect around your gates.
A rogue daffodil swaying in the breeze across a photocell sensor is enough to break the beam and prevent the gates from opening or closing. By the same token, check the edge of your gates where the safety edges are placed....an overhanging branch or overgrown shrub making contact with the safety strips will be interpreted as an obstacle on contact, causing the gates to stop and reverse direction.
Bugs & Beasts
Although your control panels and junction boxes for your electric gate kit should be fully sealed; because they are warm, they become very appealing to the slug and bug population of the UK, especially in winter as they seek shelter.
The most common reason for a blown control board is a sneaky slug finding a way in and trailing a devastating wake of disaster before it blows entirely, taking the slug with it!
A visual inspection of your control board (always get an expert to isolate the power and perform this inspection for you) will confirm if a cornucopia of slugs caused the failure.
Unfortunately, there is rarely a cheap repair to this and a new control panel would be required… so take extra care on installation to prevent both water and bug ingress!
Sometimes, spiders also like to get in on the action and make little spider dens in your photocells! If your gates are not moving (opening or closing) or stopping intermittently, take the lenses off your photo beams and just have a peek to see if spiders or other beasts have moved in. If they have decided to make your photocells their home, they will continually break the beam and cause the gates to stop working. A quick clean out of your spider sensors (!) should get your electric gate kit back up and running again!
Blustery conditions can be a nuisance depending on what gate type you have and whether or not your property is in an area badly affected by wind.
Iron gates which are open patterned are not an issue as wind can freely pass through them but gates which as closed boarded (even partially) will require stronger electric gate openers to cope with the wind resistance exerted on them.
A closed boarded gate is like a sail in the wind and the forces placed on them can be huge. This means that functions such as the built in obstacle detection systems found in many of the 24V electric gate opener kits cannot be used as the gates will detect wind as an object ad stop in its tracks.
Provided you have the correct electric gate openers on your gate, then you should never encounter a running issue on a windy day. You just need to bear in mind the location of your gate and the type of gate you have when choosing an electric gate kit!
If you have electric gate openers and they are still not operating after performing these checks, give us a ring on 01282 677300 and we can advise as to what to look at next!