Cold weather can drastically affect the functionality of automatic gate closer technology, as well as potentially causing misalignment in the door itself. These issues sometimes do pop up in Summer, for non-temperature based reasons, however happen much more commonly during Winter months due to the susceptibility of device hardware to cold/inclement weather. Here’s a guide to some of the causes of Wintertime gate closer issues, and some information as to how to fix these issues, as prepared by the gate closer installation and repair experts here at Nonstop Locksmith and Security Solutions.
Causes for Cold Weather Gate Closer Malfunctions
The lubricant applied to the gate hardware’s moving parts gets too thick due to the cold weather. Many greases/lubricants are formulated for use within specific temperature ranges, and the wrong lubricant used with the wrong ambient temperature can cause way too much friction during operation of the gate opener, rendering it unusable.
B. The 12 volt battery used in the automatic gate opener gets less effective as the general temperature outside gets lower. Lead based acid batteries degrade rapidly as the temperature gets lower- with some normal batteries functioning at less than 50% effectiveness at 0 degrees Fahrenheit than they do at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Remedy Winter Gate Closer Issues
- Heat up the battery. The majority of gate closer batteries are contained inside containers made of sheet metal – which do very little to protect the batteries from the frigid temperatures. Remedy this by installing the proper amount of foam insulation inside the box in order to raise the internal temperature inside the box to keep the battery warmer.
- Measure and cut out the proper amount of foam for all four sides of the compartment, as well as the bottom – use tools like a box cutter and tape measure, and make sure to cut across the straight edge for a cleaner cut. Then, take out the battery from it’s compartment, and add a few diagonal lines of construction adhesive to a single side of the foam insulation pieces. Then, push the cut outs onto the sides and bottom of the compartment, and allow the adhesive to fully dry. Don’t cover the top of the compartment EVER; it needs to be uncovered to allow potentially dangerous gases to vent outside. Then, place the battery back into the compartment once the panels are installed.
- Try cleaning the battery terminals. During extreme cold weather, make sure to clean the battery’s terminals as well as the battery cable terminals to take off any corrosion that may have accumulated. First, slide the cable terminals off of the battery and use a metal brush to scrub their surfaces hard to take off any corrosion or gunk. You may want to apply a tiny amount of a conductive grease to help prevent and mitigate any further corrosion.
- Verify that the battery is charging up correctly. It may be possible that your battery isn’t accepting a charge due to the cold weather. Yes, some batteries simply have a short lifespan- it may be necessary to contact a licensed gate closer repair professional to have the battery checked. If this is the case, the broken battery will need to be replaced with one with the proper specifications to use in the gate closer.
- Take off old remaining grease, and replace it with special cold weather grease. Once you have attempted to verify the problem isn’t with the battery itself, you will want to try to make sure that friction due to congealed or hardened grease isn’t inhibiting functionality. Wear rubber gloves and use a rag to take off any existing grease from the pistons, rollers, or any other mechanism of the gate closer / opener. You don’t need to take off ALL of the grease, but the more you can take off, the better. Then, apply unique, special grease meant to work in cold weather to all the areas of the opener / closer designated by the manufacturer for grease application.