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Gate & Gate Operator Issues In Cold Weather/Snow

Old Man Winter has finally arrived so it’s a good time for us to remind you of maintenance and troubleshooting for gates and gate operators to save you a service call.

Be sure to shovel any snow clear to the ground for the travel path of the gate and a few feet beyond.  This will make opening and closing the gate much easier.  Forcing the gate thru the snow puts additional stress on the gate frame as well as the hinges.

Same as above.  Make sure to shovel a path behind the gate to the ground or below the snow line for the entire opening of the gate.  Make sure the rollers have not frozen up and are freely moving.

When snow has not been cleared and the operator is forced to open the gate through the snow the operator may sense an obstruction and shut down.  Make sure to shovel and clear the snow.  Also brush any snow off gate operators, the gates themselves (to reduce weight and/or wind load from frozen snow) and any photo eyes and gate rollers.

This guy actually uses a blower to clear this gate rollers and path of travel under the gate to keep things clear.

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In extremely cold weather when the temperatures are close to zero and windchills are well below – gate operators will have issues.  Even with heater kits there are a few days occasionally in our Wisconsin winters where it’s just too cold to be effective.  If your operator shuts down or is not functional it just may need to be warmed up.  At Munson we’ve had the situation where the sun shines on the black operator box in these temperatures keeping it warm, but once the sun sets the operator cools and has issues.  Most common issues with cold weather and gate operators are:

  • Slower to open
  • Consistently only opens after multiple attempts
  • Movement is choppy or sporadic
  • Squeaking or other new sounds
  • Stays open, won’t close

The last item is the most common of our services calls (besides not shoveling a path for snow).  The long term solution is the operator just needs to warm up.  Unfortunately this does not work when a facility needs to be secure so the temporary solution is to power off the operator and manually close it.  Then chain and lock if required.  One other cold weather troubleshooting item for slide gates is to check that the rollers are not frozen, nor the operator chain to the gears if an operator is involved.


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Munson, Inc.
6747 N. Sidney Place • Glendale, Wisconsin  53209
Phone: 800.236.0340 • Email: rob@munsoninc.comaci2