October seems to officially kick-off the season for decorating your driveway gate. With the season, comes family gatherings, neighborhood parties, and sadly an increased need for a closed gate. To maintain security, welcome guests and make your wife happy, we’ve got a few do’s and don’ts for the holiday season.
1) DON’T BLOCK YOUR PHOTO EYE
What is your photo eye? It is an anti-entrapment device that will hold your gate open when the sensor is tripped. There is not a way to turn off this device. It is required on all up-to-date gate operators in compliance with the UL 325 code. Older gate-operator models may not have them.
Every year, when our clients start their holiday gate decorating, we get calls about gates holding open. Before Frankie gets in his service truck, we will ask if you have hung a wreath or lights on your gate. It is likely you’ve obstructed the view of your photo eye with your decorations.
Here are some more tips for trouble shooting your photo eye year round.
2) DON’T LEAVE YOUR LIGHTS ON ALL NIGHT
Festive, yes, but that will add a lot to your electric bill (and possibly upset your neighbors). Set the lights on a timer and save some money. Be sure to pass the timer idea along to your neighbors (if you like them).
3) DO CHECK & REPLACE BATTERIES
Most of the calls we get about driveway gate issues are due to a bad battery. Good batteries should last a couple of years, but it is not unheard of for new batteries to fail. If you get them from a trustworthy source, they will replace them. We get ours from Batteries Plus.
- To test your gate operator’s 12-V battery, purchase a voltmeter from your local Home Depot or other supply store. If the battery tests less than 12-V, it is low. Take it in to get it reconditioned or replaced.
- Don’t forget that some keypads run on a 9-V battery. If yours hasn’t been replaced in a while, be on the safe side and change it out.
NOTE: You will have a battery to check even if your gate is AC powered. In that case, you have a battery back-up system that you want to work in case your power goes out.
4) DO CLEAR DEBRIS & VEGETATION
Leaves are the major culprit this time of year. If your photo eye is blocked, the gate will hold open.
Be sure to clear off your solar panel too (if applicable). You’ll want to make sure it is getting the sun it needs during these shorter days without any obstruction.
PRO TIP: As it gets colder, freezing rain or snow can also cause an obstruction. Add Rain-X to your photo-eye. It is not fool-proof, but it sure does help!
5) DO GENERAL MAINTENANCE
Check for corrosion on electrical connections. Clean them and apply anti-corrosive spray. And, if applicable, oil and grease your hinges.
AND DO … BE A HERO!
Who wants to get out in the freezing rain to open a gate? Not this gal! And, I’m sure your wife won’t like it either!
Click here to download a PDF list of our full maintenance checklist.