How to Open Your Electric Gate in a Power Cut
Imagine – you’re out late when a storm hits, and the power goes out. You realise that your electric gate will be shut when you get home, and you have no idea how to open it. Short of calling a gate specialist, what can be done? Today, we’re going to talk about your options when dealing with the problem alone, and how to avoid it entirely where possible.
Types of gates
First of all, let’s start by covering the two kinds of gates homeowners have: sliding and swing gates. Sliding gates are easier to understand mechanically, so it’s better to start there, and then move on to swing gates.
Sliding gates work by sliding on wheels along a track. Typically, there is a gear-tooth rack fixed lengthways on the gate interior – this meshes with a gear on the gate’s motor. When the motor is engaged, the gear turns, and the gate is pulled open.
Swing gates, on the other hand, are able to have a variety of motors behind their operation. The principles are generally the same – the motor either turns an arm fixed to the gate, or uses a telescoping arm to pull the gate toward the gate post.
When you need to operate an electric gate with no power source, you’re using what’s called the ‘manual release.’ Usually, using the manual release for your gate won’t let it move freely – you’ll need to move it by hand. If your gate uses a manual release, there’s a high chance the motor will be able to move with little resistance.
However, not all manual release systems will work under pressure – if it feels like you’re forcing something, try releasing the pressure by pushing back the opposite way, before trying again. If it still feels as though you’re forcing the mechanism, it’s best to try using the manual release again.
Manual release keys
Nearly all manual release mechanisms for electric gates use a key. This manual release key is inserted into the corresponding lock on the outside of the gate motor. Following this, there is typically a lever, crank, or handle that must be pulled or turned, in order to decouple the motor drive from the gate arms, gears, and shafts.
Many manual release keys are numbered. Knowing the number of your gate key is vital for easily and quickly replacing them, and it also helps any technicians working on your gate. Due to the rarity of emergencies in which they need to be used, manual release keys for gates are easy to forget about. If you’ve moved into a house with an electric gate already installed, knowing where the gate key is – and the number of it – is vital.
The rarity of use also means manual releases can get dirty and stuck – when you have the gate serviced by an expert, it’s a great idea to get your manual release system checked too.
Automatically opening gates
It’s worth noting that new laws around emergency procedures are now being enforced, and it’s possible that newly made electric gates – like those we manufacture here at Prestige Gates – will be required to open automatically in a power cut. Some homeowners find the idea of this worrying, as it poses a potential security risk, but the safety risks eliminated by automatically unlocking or opening gates are significant. These newer safety codes are primarily intended to prevent fires from cutting power to your gate, leading to potential disaster.