Mastering Elevator Maintenance: Tips and Techniques

Elevator MaintenanceElevators and lifts are indispensable building systems, pivotal for the smooth functioning of any multi-story structure. As a result, elevator maintenance becomes a vital aspect of overall building upkeep that should never be overlooked. In this article, we delve into the importance of elevator maintenance, its impact on operational budgets, and the critical factors to consider for ensuring safety and efficiency.

Importance of Elevator Maintenance

Neglecting elevator maintenance can have significant consequences that impact both the safety of building occupants and the overall efficiency of operations. Building owners and facility managers should carefully consider the following crucial factors when it comes to elevator maintenance:

Safety: Elevators are responsible for transporting passengers and goods between different floors, making their safety paramount. Regular maintenance is essential to identify and address potential issues before they escalate, ensuring the elevator remains reliable and safe for all users. A sudden breakdown of the elevator can lead to severe accidents, causing injuries or worse.

Operation: Elevators play an important role in daily building operations, and their downtime can cause significant inconveniences for occupants and visitors. In the worst-case scenario, prolonged elevator outages can disrupt business operations, leading to productivity losses and potential reputational damage for the building management.

Costs: Repairing or replacing broken elevators can be an expensive endeavor, often running into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the issue and the elevator’s complexity. Regular maintenance helps identify minor problems early on, preventing costly breakdowns and prolonging the useful life of the elevator, thereby reducing long-term expenses.

Regulations: Many regions have strict laws and regulations governing elevator maintenance and safety inspections. Building owners must comply with these regulations to ensure their elevators are regularly inspected and certified as safe for public use. In some jurisdictions, buildings are required to display the date of their last maintenance inspection inside the elevator, further emphasizing the importance of adhering to maintenance schedules.

Calculating Elevator Maintenance Costs

Elevator maintenance costs can vary depending on several factors, including the type of elevator, its age, complexity, and the service provider. Let’s delve into the key cost considerations when it comes to elevator maintenance:

Type of Elevator: Different types of elevators, such as hydraulic, traction, or machine-room-less (MRL) elevators, have distinct maintenance requirements. Each type may involve specific components and mechanisms, which can impact the overall maintenance cost.

Age and Condition: Older elevators may require more frequent and extensive maintenance to keep them running efficiently and safely. Regular maintenance for older elevators is essential to prevent breakdowns and extend their useful life.

Service Level: Elevator maintenance plans come in various service levels, ranging from basic preventive maintenance to comprehensive packages that cover repairs and emergency call-outs. The more comprehensive the service level, the higher the cost.

Frequency of Maintenance: The frequency of maintenance visits also affects the cost. Elevators subject to heavier usage or located in high-traffic buildings may require more frequent inspections and maintenance.

Certified Technicians: Elevator maintenance should be performed by certified technicians who possess the necessary expertise and training. Hiring certified professionals ensures the elevators receive proper care, but their hourly rates can impact maintenance costs.

Replacement Parts: As elevators age, certain components may require replacement. Sourcing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts can be more expensive, but it ensures compatibility and reliability. However, there are alternatives, such as refurbished or aftermarket parts, that can be more cost-effective.

Outsourcing vs. In-House Maintenance: Building owners have the option to outsource elevator maintenance to specialized servicing companies or handle it in-house with dedicated maintenance staff. The decision may depend on budget considerations and the scale of the elevator maintenance needs.

Emergency Repairs: In the event of an unexpected breakdown, emergency repairs may be necessary to restore elevator functionality quickly. Emergency service calls often come with additional costs, so proactive maintenance is essential to minimize the likelihood of emergencies.

The Importance of Lift Maintenance and How to Perform It

Lift maintenance refers to the regular inspection, servicing, and repair of elevators (also known as lifts) to ensure their safe and reliable operation. Lifts are mechanical systems that require regular maintenance to prevent breakdowns, ensure passenger safety, and prolong their lifespan. Proper maintenance helps identify and address potential issues before they become significant problems.

Performing lift maintenance typically involves the following steps:

Inspection: Regular inspections are crucial for identifying any signs of wear and tear, damage, or malfunction in the lift components. Trained technicians inspect the lift’s mechanical, electrical, and safety systems.

Cleaning: Keeping the lift clean is essential to prevent dirt and debris from interfering with the smooth operation of the lift doors, buttons, and other components.

Lubrication: Proper lubrication of moving parts reduces friction and wear. This includes the lift’s gears, pulleys, and other mechanical elements.

Testing Safety Features: Technicians will test various safety features, such as emergency brakes, door sensors, and overload protection, to ensure they are working correctly.

Replacing Worn Parts: Any damaged or worn-out components identified during inspections should be promptly replaced with genuine parts to maintain the lift’s performance and safety.

Software and Control System Checks: For modern lifts with computerized control systems, technicians will check the software and make any necessary updates to ensure the lift operates smoothly and efficiently.

Load Testing: Periodic load testing is done to ensure that the lift can handle its rated capacity safely.

Emergency Preparedness: Technicians should be well-trained in handling lift emergencies and be able to respond quickly to any unexpected situations.

It is crucial to have lift maintenance performed by trained and certified professionals. Attempting to maintain lifts without the necessary expertise can lead to safety risks and potential legal issues.

If you own or manage a building with a lift, you should consider entering into a maintenance contract with a reputable lift maintenance company. They will typically offer regular maintenance visits, emergency call-out services, and the expertise needed to keep your lift in optimal working condition. The frequency of maintenance visits may vary depending on factors such as the type of lift, its usage, and local regulations, but typically they occur every 1 to 6 months.

Remember, lift maintenance is not just about meeting regulatory requirements; it’s about ensuring the safety and comfort of everyone who uses the lift.

Elevator Maintenance: Schedules and Checklists for Efficiency

Developing elevator maintenance schedules and checklists involves considering several crucial factors to ensure efficient maintenance and compliance with regulations. Here are the key steps involved:

Factors To Consider

When creating elevator maintenance schedules, various factors need to be taken into account, including:

Usage statistics of each elevator

Data from condition monitoring sensors (if applicable)

Input from elevator operators (if applicable)

Relevant local regulations

Adaptation to Location

The final maintenance schedule must also account for any location-specific extraneous circumstances that may affect elevator performance and maintenance.

In-House Maintenance

For those performing elevator and lift maintenance in-house, it is essential to ensure that the work is carried out up to the required standards and in compliance with regulations.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Establishing standard operating procedures and preventive maintenance checklists is an effective way to ensure consistent and reliable maintenance practices.

CMMS System Integration

If using a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) like eWorkOrders, you can streamline the maintenance process. This involves creating SOPs and checklists within the CMMS software and attaching them to the corresponding elevator equipment entries in the database. Additionally, these documents can be linked to specific work orders.

Easy Access for Technicians: By integrating SOPs and checklists into the CMMS, technicians gain quick and convenient access to these resources. They can access the necessary documents with just a couple of clicks or taps on their screens, regardless of their location.

By following these steps and utilizing a comprehensive CMMS system, elevator maintenance can be efficiently scheduled, executed, and monitored, leading to improved elevator performance and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Best Practices for Efficient Elevator Maintenance

To ensure effective elevator maintenance, following best practices is essential. Firstly, it is crucial to prioritize adherence to OEM recommendations and vendor guidelines during maintenance procedures. These guidelines are designed by the original equipment manufacturers to optimize elevator performance and ensure safety.

Secondly, leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) technology for predictive maintenance can greatly benefit elevator maintenance efforts. By integrating sensors and data analytics, technicians can anticipate potential issues and address them proactively, reducing downtime and costly repairs.

Lastly, comprehensive maintenance schedules and checklists are paramount. By considering usage statistics and data from condition monitoring sensors, maintenance can be scheduled at appropriate intervals, keeping elevators running smoothly and minimizing unexpected breakdowns. These practices contribute to the overall reliability and longevity of elevator systems, ensuring a safe and efficient vertical transportation experience for users.


Elevator maintenance’s significance in building management cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts safety, efficiency, and operational budgets. By adhering to preventive maintenance plans, utilizing certified professionals, and leveraging modern CMMS technology like eWorkOrders, organizations can ensure smooth elevator operations and elevate their facility maintenance to the next level.

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