- Wiping off photocell covers - cobwebs and dirt can stop these working
- Greasing gate hinges to keep the gate running freely
- Clearing debris and leaves from sliding gate tracks
- Changing batteries in wireless devices if needed (such as safety edge transmitters and photocells)
1. Avoid costly future repairs and breakdown call outsAll electric gate kits are comprised of moving parts which, just like your car, need attention from time to time to keep them running efficiently and reliably. Having your electric gate kit serviced will allow an engineer to assess any damage or wear and tear before it becomes an issue. Parts and emergency call outs can be expensive so it is best to catch problems before they occur. In addition to checking the moving parts, batteries need replacing in items such as safety edge transmitters and wireless photocells. If batteries die in either of these, the gate will not work and if you've called out an engineer to fix your gates and they find that to be the issue, you'll be looking at an expensive bill for changing batteries!
2. Check they are in line with current safety standardsThe DHF are constantly reviewing the safety guidelines for electric gate kits on both residential and commercial properties. Whilst your electric gate kit and accessories may have complied with the regulations when they were first installed, there may have been changes in the legislation afterwards. Not only that, over the course of time, welds on gates rust and can fail and other structural issues can cause a catastrophic incident. Liability in the event of an accident involving electric gate kits lies initially with the person who installed the equipment. This means that if you have fit the electric gate kit yourself, then it is you who is liable. If you have had a professional gate installer fit it, then they are liable. However, the homeowner will be still be liable if they have not been seen to have taken adequate steps to ensure the safe operation and ongoing maintenance of the gates and the electric gate kits. The best way to ensure that your gates are always compliant and safe to operate is to have them reviewed during an annual service. That way, any additional safety measures which may need to be implemented will be detected. Force testing will also be carried out to make sure that all safety equipment is functioning correctly.
3. Get the longest lifespan from your equipmentIn addition to the actual electric gate kit, the gates themselves should be given attention during your annual service. Your gates must be running freely and the hinges must be greased regularly. If the hinges are not free running then the electric gate motors will have to work harder to operate the gates and inevitably, will wear out faster. To ensure that you get the full lifespan from your electric gate equipment, servicing will involve clearing of debris, greasing any moving parts, ensuring toothed racking is in good condition and clearing out of underground boxes.
How often should the gates be serviced?That depends on the type of gate you have! If it is a commercial gate with heavy traffic or the gate is on an apartment block for example, then 2 services a year will be required. For a normal residential dwelling or business premises with little traffic, one service a year will be plenty.
We have talked in previous editions about the various different types of electric gate motors for swing gates such as ram arms, articulated arms and also the very popular underground motors.
In this article we will focus on the pros and cons of installing underground electric gate kits to help you determine if this is the type of gate automation that is going to be the best for you.
This is one of the main reasons that make underground gate automation so very popular. Because the motors are buried under the ground, enclosed in boxes; all that is visible is the rust proof lid. This is particularly advantageous if you do not want to spoil the aesthetic of your gates by attaching arms across the back section of your gates.
Whilst no automatic gate kits are especially noisy, the underground operators are amongst the quietest of all the opener types. This is something you may wish to bear in mind if you live in a residential street, especially if you are likely to be operating your electric gates during the night time hours.
Can move all gate types
Underground gate motors are most typically found on open patterned iron gates but they can also be used on closed boarded gates if required. In order to move a closed boarded gate you will need one of the higher specification underground motors such as a BFT SUB R or the Beninca DU.350.
Easy to manually release
All electric gate motors have a mechanism to release in the event of a power failure so you don’t get trapped on your driveway. The underground motors have a lever beneath the gate which connects to the motor. A large key (like an allen key) is all that is needed to disconnect this lever from the motor, it then clicks easily back in to place when the power is restored.
Can require lots of extra drainage
Due to being in boxes under the ground, they obviously have the potential to fill up with water. As standard, a soak-away will be added to provide drainage away from the boxes. The motors are rated to operate under water but it is never good for them to be permanently fully submerged.
Not ideal at the bottom of a slope
If your gates are at the bottom of a hill or slope, this can provide an additional drainage challenge which may not be combated with just a standard soak-away. You may well find that you need to put a drainage channel across your driveway to stop a cascade of water reaching your underground gate motor boxes in the first place.
Hard to retro-fit and requires welding
If your gates are already installed and you are wanting to retro-fit electric gate motors, it is far more difficult to install underground gate openers than it is to install arms. The installation process requires the removal of your gates and then welding of ‘shoes’ to the underside of the gate to connect to the drive mechanism of the underground gate opener. This is something to bear in mind when costing up the job as this can add a significant amount of expense to the project.
Not always possible to dig down deep enough
In order to embed the foundation box on to concrete and provide an adequate soak-away, you will need to be able to dig down to around 500mm and also excavate a significant area around the boxes. You would be best to test the feasibility of this before you purchase your kit.
If you are unable to dig down to this depth then there are some electric underground gate kits which need a slightly shallower depth. You would be best to discuss this with us prior to purchase.
In summary…..underground electric gate kits are a fantastic solution for all gate types but would be recommended more for a new gate install than as a retro-fit option.
If you want to discuss anything regarding underground gate motors, please give us a call on 01282 677300 and we can help you with any technical matter.