How Long Can Your Elevator Last?

When you install an elevator, you expect it to last as long as possible. Usually, a lift needs to be modernized when it becomes more than 20 years old. Its lifespan depends a lot on the maintenance quality provided, and some units can last up to 25 years. During the later part of its life, the system is going to have decreasing performance and increased service calls. When this begins to happen, you should consider replacing your elevator.

Expected Lifespan

There are many factors that influence the expected life of an elevator. This can include:

  • Equipment design
  • How much it is used
  • Environmental factors
  • Maintenance program (quality and schedule)

Most elevators that get proper preventative maintenance are going to last for at least 20 years before they will need any major updates. Once a well-maintained elevator reaches 25 years of service, it would no longer be cost-effective to run it.

If you have a unit from the mid-80s, it is likely that it has relay-logic control systems. Not only are the systems obsolete, but you will have a tough time finding the technicians who can maintain them. You can expect the same scenario for current elevators 20 years into the future. Besides, manufacturers also start phasing out parts of old units.

The late 80s saw the emergence of elevators that were in a transition state between the earlier relay-logic units and the new solid-state systems. This technology combined the best of the old and new systems, also integrating computer-based controls.

Factors Influencing Elevator Life

There are two main factors that have an influence on the elevator’s life.

1. Controls
An elevator made by a major company is considered to last longer than the one manufactured by an independent control supplier. Every manufacturer owns the controller software code and has proprietary control over the design.

2. Scheduled Maintenance
If an elevator is not maintained regularly, its lifespan is going to decline drastically. You can expect such a unit requiring modernization in as short a period as 10 years. When maintained well, a unit may need to be modernized only to meet the latest building code or to increase your home’s value.

What to Do to Extend Your Elevator’s Lifespan?

If your elevator suffers damages or general wear and tear, it may not be possible to improve its condition. But regular and quality maintenance and parts replacement can help delay modernization. It is recommended to follow these maintenance tips to increase your unit’s life:

  • Temperature: It is recommended to maintain the machine room’s temperature in the 15 to 32 degree Celsius range
  • Visual Inspection: It is recommended to visually inspect your elevator every week
  • Cab Lights: Make sure to replace non-working cab lights during maintenance checks. Usually, this part is not included in the contract, so you will have to ask the service team for a replacement.
  • Cleaning: The car tracks, hall door, and light ray unit can be cleaned yourself. This can help prevent many issues. Avoid the use of cleaners on the controls because they can get corroded over time. Make sure that the drip tray is free of water.
  • Buttons: If the buttons get stuck, you can tap them lightly to remove them. Avoid the use of tools to prevent any damage.
  • Written Records of Issues: It is recommended to maintain a written record of all the issues. You can then easily explain the problems when the service team comes for scheduled maintenance.
  • Paint the Door Frames: You should be careful when painting the door frames. Any paint that sticks out can dislodge the rubber door stops.
  • Spills: If there are any spills in the hoistway or elevator, you should call the professionals.
  • Building Pressure: Make sure that a stable pressure is created by keeping the doors closed.

If there are burnt-out indicator/button bulbs, make sure they are replaced at the time of maintenance visit. In most cases, it is not possible to inspect the elevator daily. However, if you can do so it can help you take immediate steps to fix any problems. An important part of daily inspection is to check for any signs of vandalism and any safety issues. While the maintenance crew will address issues like worn out parts, lubrication, and others, it is important for you to avoid overloading the lift. Overloading can increase the wear and tear on the equipment and decrease its life. So follow these tips to make sure that your elevator lasts for decades.

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