Top Warning Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Elevator
There are many factors that contribute to the wear and tear of your elevators, from usage levels to the number of floors in your building. Even in low rise buildings, factors such as age become more important. When there are more tenants and visitors in a building, the higher the complaint ratio becomes when you are experiencing issues such as long elevator wait times or downtime for repairs.
Of course, safety should always be the primary concern and as such, learning to recognize tell-tale warning signs that it’s time to replace your elevator is important. Here is what to look for:
Long Waits and Slow Downs
Long waits and slow downs lead to traffic issues during rush hour, especially in high rise office buildings. Traffic issues are dangerous, as when people are late for work, or are anxious to get home after a long day, they tend to want to squeeze into an already packed elevator. This means your elevators are seeing frequent trips with the elevator loaded beyond capacity. This creates pressure and weight to each trip which will add to wear and tear.
As part of your elevator maintenance, you should plan regular time checks to see how long it takes to get from the lobby (or garage levels) up to the top floor. You should then time trips during rush hour and peak times such as lunch. You can now have a point of reference for the manufacturer’s specifications to easily identify slowdowns.
If you begin to notice long wait times anslowdowns, it could be a defective relay. It can also be the age and condition of the elevator. If you find you are having to constantly repair the elevator due to poor performance, you might also need a new control system. Upgrading your microprocessor-based control system can actually improve wait times by as much as 50 percent. However, all of these things cost money, and, in the end, you still have an older model with many more parts that will continue to require repairs. As well finding parts for older models can be difficult which could leave your elevators out of operation for days.
If you are experiencing long wait times and slowdowns, it’s a good time to consider replacement as these issues may continue to worsen over time.
“In Between” Floors
When your elevator doors are opening “in between” floors, even just by an inch or two, this is a sign you need a new elevator. Not only is this extremely dangerous for those trying to exit or board the elevator, but it is also a sign your brakes are worn out. Not safe at all. Worn brakes not only equal mislevels but can also lead to major mishaps in operation. The last thing you want is an accident or injury.
From door sensor issues, to doors that just won’t open, door issues are a source of frustration, not to mention potential danger for passengers. There is frequent wear and tear on elevator doors which open and close twice per stop. This is one of the most common calls we see as an elevator maintenance company. Although this is a reasonably minor repair, it does add up and poses yet another danger for tenant injury not to mention frustration from more downtime.
Overheating of the drive and control system is common for traction elevators that have the equipment located above the roof. This set up means that the mechanical room faces challenges not just with heat caused by operation, but also by outside air temperatures. In the heat of the summer, with ventilation so close to the roof surface you can be facing temperatures well above 100 degrees. This leads to frequent breakdowns in the summer months, when people are already hot and cranky. Make them climb the stairs after their hot morning commute and this will lead to very unhappy tenants.
Another common reason for breakdowns is due to humidity. As you know, humidity is ultimately moisture which is also the leading cause of corrosion. You will also see a build up of dirt as outside ventilation is not usually filtered so more dirt is deposited in the system. Dirt is a nightmare that affects the control system and in fact can add more insulation aggravating the overheating issue.
Installing a new elevator that has a cooling system designed to manage heat and humidity is your best bet to avoid overheating issues. With a dedicated equipment room where openings to the outside are either limited or sealed to avoid dust build up you will see a clear improvement in operation.
It can be difficult to pinpoint energy use, but you should know that new elevators have energy efficient drive and control systems designed to conserve energy. If you have an old elevator with motor-generator sets, or DC drives, you can be sure these were not designed with energy efficiency in mind. New systems are quicker and more reliable and can reduce your energy use up to 74 percent. These savings can help cover the costs of a new elevator.
Low Power Factor
Your older drive system is likely operating with a power factor between 0.75 and 0.90 whereas a new system is at about 0.95 or higher. The power factor of your elevator’s circuit is the ratio of the current that produces useful work compared to the total current drawn in the circuit with a typical range being between 0.75 to 0.95.
The reason this is important is that lower power factor can overload circuits which means you have to upgrade system power lines. As well utilities can charge higher rates if you have a low power factor.
If you are experiencing motor failures or issues with sensitive electronic equipment in your building, it could be caused by your older elevator. They can affect the power quality as they can cause harmonic distortions. Harmonic distortions are a result of distortion to voltage and current waveforms caused by the way the older motor is using power from the system. This can disrupt other sensitive electronic equipment in the building and if connected to your circuit, can lead to early failure and overheating.
You can conduct a power quality survey to find the source of the distortions present which is often associated with older elevator systems. This is yet another sign it’s time for a replacement.
It’s in your best interest to track down time, how often you make repair calls and also the cost of those repairs. You will soon see a pattern and realize it’s time to replace your elevators. You want to do this before you see rising complaints or worse injury reports from tenants and visitors.
If you are considering new elevators for your building contact Alcor Elevator toll-free at 1 (866) 460-0308 or visit our website for more information.