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Why a Thorough Elevator Maintenance Checklist is Essential for Facilities Managers

lift machinist repairing elevator in lift shaft

Ensure reliability with our complete elevator maintenance checklist, covering monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks for smooth operation.


Scheduled maintenance is important for all commercial facilities. A regular maintenance program ensures all critical tasks are completed in a timely manner. Using one ensures your facility can remain within regulatory compliance standards and maintain a comfortable environment for occupants.

If your facility has elevators, elevator maintenance will be a significant part of your maintenance program. A lack of elevator maintenance can lead to malfunctions that trap people inside or cause accidents. Following the right elevator maintenance checklists can help you ensure safety across your elevators.

Key Components of an Effective Elevator Maintenance Checklist

Like any preventive maintenance checklist, your elevator inspection checklist should be separated into monthly, quarterly, and annual inspection lists to make it easier for your elevator service technicians to organize their lift maintenance. Here’s what to include:

Monthly Inspections

  1. Check the elevator car and landing doors for proper operation and alignment, ensuring they open and close freely without issues.
  2. Test door reopening devices and safety edges to ensure that the doors will stop if something obstructs them.
  3. Inspect door gibs, rollers, and tracks for wear and tear to identify parts needing replacement before they fail.
  4. Check leveling accuracy and adjust as needed; this will ensure that the elevator stops level with the floor for safe entry and exit.
  5. Test emergency stop button and alarm bell to ensure they work in case of emergencies.
  6. Inspect the car interior, including lighting, ventilation, and the control panel, to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for passengers.
  7. Check oil levels in hydraulic elevators and lubricate as needed to ensure smooth operation and prevent system damage.
  8. Inspect the elevator machine room for cleanliness and proper lighting to maintain a safe environment for maintenance personnel.

Quarterly Inspections

  1. Inspect and lubricate hoistway door interlocks and locks to ensure doors operate safely and securely.
  2. Check and adjust car and counterweight guide rails to ensure smooth and safe elevator movement.
  3. Inspect and ensure the governor and safety devices are properly lubricated to ensure they function correctly and prevent accidents.
  4. Test firefighters’ emergency operations and emergency power systems to ensure the elevator can be used safely during fires and/or power outages.
  5. Check and adjust brake systems to ensure the elevator stops safely when necessary.
  6. Inspect and test hydraulic oil and pressure in hydraulic elevators to maintain proper operation and identify any leaks or pressure issues.
  7. Check and adjust traction drives and ropes in traction elevators to ensure safe and efficient operation.
  8. Inspect and test emergency communication systems to ensure passengers can communicate with emergency services if needed.

Annual Inspections

  1. Conduct full-load safety tests and emergency brake tests to ensure the elevator can safely carry the maximum load and stop in an emergency.
  2. Inspect and test overspeed governors and safety devices to ensure the elevator does not exceed safe speeds.
  3. Check and adjust car and counterweight buffers to ensure the elevator stops safely and smoothly at the end of its travel.
  4. Inspect and test hydraulic pressure relief valves and rupture valves to prevent excessive pressure (and reduce as needed) and potential hydraulic system failures.
  5. Check and adjust door closing forces and times to ensure doors close safely and efficiently.
  6. Test emergency evacuation procedures and safety equipment to ensure preparedness for evacuating passengers in case of emergencies.
  7. Examine electrical wiring and connections to prevent electrical hazards and operational issues.
  8. Inspect and test fire recall systems and emergency power operations to ensure the elevator system responds correctly during fires and/or power outages.
  9. Check and adjust machine room ventilation and temperature control to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for both machinery and occupants.
  10. Conduct a comprehensive report on maintenance logs and records to keep track of the elevator’s maintenance history and plan future maintenance.

Elevator Codes, Standards, and Regulations to Consider

Standards for elevators can differ from one state to another. This variation exists because each state has the authority to adopt its own building codes and elevator safety regulations. Differences in building regulations can impact elevator design, installation, maintenance, and elevator inspections requirements.

Understanding your state’s regulations will affect both what you need to do and how you need to do it. Since state-based regulations also affect design and installation practices, your elevator’s design may alter how you perform maintenance.

So, consider your state’s standards when you create your elevator maintenance checklist. Tailoring your checklist to these standards will help you ensure that your business’s elevator technicians consistently do everything they need to do. It will also ensure compliance with regulatory standards well before audits occur.

Here are some standards to consider.

ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators

The ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators is the standard code for the safety of elevators, escalators, and all related machinery in North America. It highlights how managers must install, operate, and maintain such equipment, focusing on public and employee safety.

The code provides guidelines on how often maintenance should be performed and the procedures for doing so. For example, one requirement is that a full-load safety test be performed at least every five years.

Please note that the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) have slightly different standards on some requirements. Please check the official documentation from the association that applies to you.

Local Building Codes and Inspection Requirements

Local building codes and inspection requirements for elevators vary, mainly because different areas have unique safety concerns, building designs, applicable codes, and usage patterns. For example, an area prone to earthquakes might have stricter reinforcement and emergency power requirements.

Check with your local authorities to find out what yours are.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines

The ADA accessibility guidelines ensure that elevators are accessible and usable by people with various disabilities. The goal of following them is to provide independence and ensure public and private buildings with elevators are easily accessible.

Here are a few examples of how you can make your elevators more accessible.

  • Make sure your car frame is big enough for a wheelchair to enter, exit, and turn around inside the car if necessary.
  • Buttons on the control panel must be low enough for a wheelchair user to access and include braille.
  • Elevator door panels must stay open long enough for someone who moves slowly to get in or out without rushing.
  • The fire alarm system must have both visual and audio cues.
  • The emergency phone must have features that allow someone who cannot speak to call for help.

Firefighters’ Service Requirements

Firefighters’ service requirements for elevators focus on making sure elevators can help firefighters during emergencies. They usually require that your building allow for a specific operating mode that only firefighters can control. This mode lets them use the elevator without the normal automatic controls during emergencies.

National building codes, such as those developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), are adopted and enforced across most jurisdictions. Local governments can adopt these national codes directly or modify them to suit local needs. Check with your local fire department to verify yours.

Elevator Emergency Preparedness Procedures

Passenger Entrapment and Evacuation Protocols

A quick and safe response is crucial when passengers get stuck in an elevator. Facility managers must ensure that the elevator’s emergency phone connects quickly to the appropriate help services. It’s also important to train staff on using the emergency exit hatch safely to avoid any liability issues arising from incorrect evacuation procedures.

Emergency Power Testing

Emergency power systems ensure that, in the event of a power outage, elevators can still operate or at least move to the nearest floor so passengers can exit. All safety systems related to this functionality should be tested periodically to confirm reliability.

Firefighters’ Service Procedures

An elevator must have specific functionalities that assist firefighters during emergencies. Facility managers should familiarize themselves with these procedures and ensure that related equipment, like the smoke detector in the elevator shaft, is in working order.

Earthquake and Flood Operation Modes

Earthquake and flood operation modes automatically move the elevator to the nearest floor and open the doors to prevent passenger entrapment. Facility managers need to ensure these features are active and functioning. Proactively testing this mode reduces the risk of elevator damage and supports passenger safety.

Medical Emergency Response

In the event of a medical emergency inside an elevator, the emergency phone must connect quickly to medical services. Facility managers should ensure that any elevator components that affect the emergency phone’s functionality are regularly checked and maintained. 

Troubleshooting Common Elevator Problems

Creating diagnostic flowcharts for common issues helps your staff identify problems quickly and decide on the next steps. For example, when dealing with elevator issues that pose safety risks, the flowchart can direct staff to shut down the system and call a professional repair service immediately.

Here are some common issues for which you may create diagnostic flowcharts:.

Doors Not Opening or Closing Properly

Elevator doors that don’t open or close properly may indicate an obstruction or misalignment in the door mechanism. Check the doors for any visible blockages or damage. If that isn’t the problem, ensure that the door tracks are clean and provide appropriate lubrication to prevent sticking.

Elevator Not Leveling Correctly

Improper leveling could be a sign of issues with the hoisting mechanism or the control system. Examine the top of the car and the hoistway for any signs of debris or obstructions that might interfere with the elevator’s movement. Electrical equipment tests should also be conducted to check for any faults in the control system.

Unusual Noises or Vibrations

Check if all moving parts are properly lubricated to reduce friction and noise. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, it could be related to the elevator’s alignment.

Elevators are balanced systems, and if the counterweights are not properly aligned or if the alignment of the elevator car itself has shifted, it can lead to vibrations and noises during operation. Check the cables, the alignment of the elevator car, and the counterweights.

Burned-out Lights

Burned-out lights within the elevator cabin or panel are usually easy to address. If it’s just the bulbs, replacement parts are needed. If lights continue to fail after replacing bulbs, that may indicate more significant recurring issues with the elevator’s electrical system.

Unexpected Activation of Safety Switches or Error Codes

Perform a system reset and see if the issue persists. If resets don’t resolve the problem, conduct electrical tests to pinpoint any faults. Also, review the maintenance log to check for any patterns that could suggest a deeper problem.

Put Your Elevator Maintenance Plan Into Action With ServiceChannel

Simplify your next elevator maintenance inspection with the right tools and clear guidelines. Download ServiceChannel’s elevator maintenance checklist and try our preventive maintenance software to streamline tasks and reduce the risk of unplanned, costly repairs.

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