Shutter Spec Security Blog

Electric Gates - What happens in the event of a Power Cut?

Posted by Andrew Levick on Jul 24, 2018 10:09:00 AM


It's a fact that automatic electric gates need electricity to operate. You might wonder how they work if there is a power cut or a system failure. As we all know this is not an unusual occurrence in the UK - short-term power cuts happen all the time when roadworks temporarily stop your electricity supply. So how exactly can you open and close automatic gates that require electricity to function when there isn’t any? Is this a security risk?


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How will your gates respond to a power cut?

It's easy to imagine the following situations: it's a wild and windy night and you've popped out to the late night garage - perhaps for a pint of milk and some batteries for your torch. As you return and pull up by your gates, you notice that the lights in your windows are out - there's been a power cut and the gates are shut. How are you going to get back into your property?

Well, if you've had a pair of high-quality gates installed by qualified and certified engineers from a company such as Shutter Spec Security, it won't be a problem. In a power cut, your gates will respond in one of three possible ways:

  • The gate will automatically open and remain open until the power supply comes back on;
  • The gate will use backup power to function as normal until his supply runs out and the gates will stay in the open position until the power is restored;
  • The gate will default to the unlocked position, allowing you to open it manually without any tools or keys. Some gates might need to be opened using a manual release key.

As you can see, all of these scenarios you remain fully in control of the situation and access to your property is secure.

Health and safety compliant

Automatic gates are required to feature a manual system in order to comply with health and safety legislation. Compliant gates are manufactured with a manual release so that they can be overwritten during a system or a power cut. An emergency release system involves a special key which is used to disengage the gate motor gear and allow the gate to be opened manually.

The manual release method

The method used to open automatic gates when there is no electricity to power the motor is known as the manual release. You will be shown how to do this by the engineer when your new gates are fitted. The manual release method involves a special manual release key and an integrated manual release mechanism. There might also be a separate manual release mechanism. The key is normally placed into the lock located on the gate's motor housing. You will then need to pull or turn a lever or handle in order to free the motor drive from the opening gears, arm and shafts.

Open Sesame!

However, operating the manual release mechanism might not permit the gate to move in an unimpeded way. Certain sections of the drive mechanism that will continue to move when the gate is pushed. Hydraulic operators, for example, will still contain oil in their system that needs to be pushed back through the appropriate valves. This means that although a manual release system enables a gate to move without a functional motor, you will probably encounter some degree of resistance and it is, therefore, important to push the gate very slowly and steadily - never force it!

Some manual release systems are designed to not function when under pressure. In these circumstances, push the gate in the opposite direction to decrease the pressure and permit the release mechanism to work.

What happens if I lose the key?

Your manual release key and mechanism will be supplied by Shutter Spec Solutions when the driveway gates are installed but if you misplace it over time, many manual release systems can be used with a numbered key. It's a good idea to keep note of the key number as it makes the process of reordering much straightforward. It’s also sensible to safely store the details of the key number in the control cabinet. This will assist a gate engineer who might be carrying out any servicing or repairs.

Servicing the manual release key

Add the annual servicing of the manual release to your annual to-do list - this usually involves lubricating, cleaning and testing it. There is a high probability that it will never have to be used so it might easily become stiff over time and be challenging to use when you need to in an emergency. Make sure all members of the household know where the manual release key is kept.

All gate systems must be installed by a professional security engineer and should feature a manual release system. If you are considering investing on electric gates as a security solution, it is essential that you use the services of a reputable company, such as Shutter Spec Solutions.

Find out more

If you would like to learn more about electric driveway gates, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of professional and highly skilled engineers. You can learn more about Shutter Spec Solutions and get a free no-obligation quote by calling us on 01844 212152. Alternatively, you can request a free quote using our simple online form

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Topics: Driveway Gates, Property, Security, Health and Safety