How to Avoid Common Elevator Problems with Prevention Tactics

Experiencing elevator equipment failures greatly interferes with the day to day operations of your building. It can prove to be a landlord’s worst nightmare, especially when equipment failures lead to ongoing tenant complaints. Many common elevator problems cannot only cause costly wear and tear on your elevators, they can also put tenants at risk. Here are common elevator problems and the prevention tactics you can use to avoid them.

Worn Sheaves

Worn sheaves lead to rope wear, creating an endless cycle which in turn leads to even more wear on the shaves. The best way to avoid this damage is to have sheaves regrooved to help prevent rope failure.


As elevators age, wear and tear on parts causes tiny metal particles to release into the oil that keeps everything running smoothly. When this happens the tiny particles eventually disrupt proper function of the entire system. This in hand with improper lubrication and worn seals lead to contamination. The best way to avoid this issue is to use oil analysis to detect contamination. Issues such as bronze in your gear case oil are signs of premature wear on geared elevator crown gear. As well, should you find the presence of aluminum in your hydraulic tank, there is a good chance you have pump housing wear in hydraulic elevators.

Power Failure

Elevators in both commercial and residential buildings use up a lot of power, putting pressure on your building’s utility systems. While an upgrade might seem to be called for, it’s important to note that when you update the system’s voltage it can impact motor operations. As a result, you could damage the entire elevator system. If you are experiencing motor failures, you need a power quality survey. Using infrared thermography you can measure temperature changes that could indicate issues that lead to system failure such as over/under voltage or fuses that tend to run hot. You can pinpoint the true issue and resolve it before you experience complete failure.

Misaligned Motor Drive

If your elevator’s electric motor is coupled to another piece of equipment this can interfere with operation. As a result, shaft alignment becomes more important as without it the motor is more vulnerable to wear. The best way to detect shaft misalignment is to use advanced laser measuring equipment. However, you can also use a straightedge and string to check balance. Geared machines use flange mounted motors and don’t cause as much issue so replacement is another option.

Noisy Bearings/Bearing Malfunction

Bearing malfunction is the culprit for over half an elevator’s motor failures. A sign of this issue is noisy bearings which can cause motor vibrations. A common belief is that variable frequency drives can help decrease energy use. While this is true, unfortunately, they also introduce a common mode current which often dangerously increases vibrations. As a result, it’s best to use an inductive absorber. This will absorb the currents while also protecting against system breakdowns. You also have to check to make sure all grounds are secured and properly connected. This step minimizes any potential issues caused by electrical noise that can trip out the system. It also reduces the risk of counts in the system.

Your best defence against common elevator problems is regular maintenance. This allows you to remain proactive and avoid dangerous, more costly damage.