By Chuck Robinson
09/29/20 · Last Updated 09/28/20 · 4 minutes to read
With everything on your to do list, it’s easy to have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude when it comes to the maintenance of your access control systems.
No news is good news, right?
But, that might not really be the case. Why not be sure with a preventive maintenance program designed to keep your system running at its best all the time?
After you have researched, chosen and paid for a state-of-the-art access control system, maintaining it makes good business sense for a variety of reasons.
Why Preventive Maintenance for Access Control is Important
First and foremost, keeping a close eye on your access control system is good for the system’s long-term health. A good preventative maintenance program should mean finding problems early when they are small so they can be repaired before they become large and more costly.
It’s like a multi-point inspection of your car––there may be problems you don’t even know about that can be caught and repaired with regular service intervals.
Preventative maintenance programs should result in a decreased number of service calls, lowering your overall cost of ownership. It should also result in less system downtime which is vital, especially when you rely on the system for the security of your building daily.
Why is this important right now?
Access control inspections are more important now than ever because, in many cases, there are fewer people on site to catch or notice problems.
For example, we recently had a client who hadn’t been on site in awhile thanks to COVID-19. A property manager happened to go by and check the facility after some storms in the area. It turns out, a lightning strike had taken out the power to the access control system and the doors were found unlocked.
This type of event could be a big problem––especially, as in this scenario, the backup batteries for your system are not properly charged. If you lose power and the batteries do not have a charge, you’re without access control in your building and potentially unlocked perimeter doors.
Common issues uncovered during preventive maintenance
What are some common issues seen with access control systems?
As the system ages, it starts drawing more and more electrical current. This can cause the system to short out and blow fuses, which can, in turn, cause fire hazards.
A system short could also break the system, cause other devices to malfunction, or lead to inconsistent operations, such as the card reader or lock only working some of the time. The solution is testing the power supply frequently to ensure it is within acceptable manufacturer limits and all of the connections are good.
Regular maintenance can also help with ensuring your system software is current. Often manufacturers stop providing support when an access control systems software becomes too old. Budgeting and spending money as you go on software updates can lessen the likelihood of having to do a full-system replacement or update your software through a step process to get to the current software package.
An ACT Preventive Maintenance Inspection
What happens during an access control preventative maintenance inspection?
At ACT, we take a number of steps to ensure your system is running at its peak:
- We make sure all of our equipment at your site is working properly and within manufacturer limits.
- We will provide a report and estimate for any issues we find while we are at your site.
- We will replace batteries, fuses and make sure there are spares left behind so you always have backups on hand.
- We will conduct a 30-minute training session with your team covering the use and operation of the system.
Proper Maintenance of Your Access Control System
As part of our training session with clients, we often coach them on some of the things they can do to help with the maintenance of their equipment.
One of the biggest issues we see is improper cleaning of door hardware, magnetic locks and card readers. Here are some of the common cleaning tips we offer to help prevent issues:
- Use the right cleaners. Be mindful of the products you are using to clean your facility. Crews can damage door hardware, locks and card readers by using improper cleaners. We recommend dust cloths and a mild detergent.
- Watch for cracks or breaks. Take care when cleaning equipment that may already be broken or damaged. Spraying the card reader with a cleaner when there’s a crack or broken seal could cause the reader to malfunction or stop working completely.
- Prevent rust on magnetic locks. It’s important to clean magnetic locks in a specific way so the magnets’ strength won’t deteriorate and they can maintain their proper holding force. It’s necessary to use a mild anti rust solution on the magnetic surface to prevent rust. If you start seeing rust, you should immediately clean it to get rid of the rust or call someone to come and look at it. Once rust starts taking root it can ruin the entire system, not just the equipment at the individual door.
How often should you get inspections for access control?
We recommend yearly inspections at the very least. For some companies, every quarter or six months might be better if you’re more heavily reliant on access control for your day to day operations (those that have high-level security needs, rely on it for time entry, critical infrastructure, etc.)
How much does preventive maintenance cost?
How much does a good maintenance plan cost? That really depends on what system you have and how many devices and doors are in your building. We are happy to give you a proposed plan based on your individual needs.
At ACT, we are committed to providing you and your business the best in industry products, services and maintenance. We want to be a partner in your security efforts, so let us know how we can help.
Contact us here to start a conversation about how we can help you keep your access control system working at its best.