Our Most Frequently Asked Electric Gate Questions

Electric gates with wooden infill panels

Every day we  are asked at least one of our most frequently asked electric gate questions. Because the FAQ that we keep getting asked cover some of the key aspects of electric gate choice, installation and ownership we decided to put this article together.

So, here’s our list of the ten most regularly asked questions our customers want answers for:

Our Most Frequently Asked Electric Gate Questions

1:            Is It Possible To Add Gate Automation To My Existing Gate?

2:            What Happens To Electric Gates During A Power Cut?

3:            What Happens When Visitors Or Deliveries Come?

4:            Where Can I Find Someone To Repair My Electric Gates?

5:            Why Have My Gate Remotes Stopped Working?

6:            What Can Go Wrong With Electric Gates?

7:            How Much Do Electric Gates Cost?

8:            How Do Electric Gates Work?

9:            Are Electric Gates Safe?

10:          What Are The Best Electric Gates?

Each one of these questions gets a brief answer here but includes a link to a more detailed answer if you want to explore the topic more.

You can go directly to any questions you want answers to by clicking on each one above or simply read through all our answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

Underground gate automation

1:            Is It Possible To Add Gate Automation To My Existing Gate?

Automatic gate systems can be installed on almost all types of gates.  In some cases, the gates are reinforced where the gate motors are attached to the gates. For instance, five bar gates are long and made of wood. A large force is required near to the hinge to get them moving. Strengthening the motor mounting point on the gate ensures that the force applied by the motor doesn’t damage the gate.

If you’re asking, ‘Can I automate my existing driveway gates?’ read more here.

Five bar manual driveway gate

2:            What Happens To Electric Gates During A Power Cut?

This is one of our most frequently asked electric gate questions. As the name suggests, electric gates need electricity to operate. However, there are two systems that can be employed to get you out of trouble in the event of a power cut. Automatic gate systems can include a manual release mechanism that will allow you to open your gates during a power failure. Using a special key, the gate motor’s resistance to movement is partially disconnected from the gate. It can then be pushed open or closed by hand.

Additionally, solar panels can be used to charge batteries that will hold enough charge to run the gates a few times. This is not an option that replaces a dedicated mains electricity supply to the gates. However, it will let you open or close them using the batteries before mains power is restored.

Our blog on how to operate electric gates in a power cut is here.

Frequently asked questions about electric gates in a power cut

3:            What Happens When Visitors Or Deliveries Come?

Some of our most frequently asked electric gate questions have relatively simple answers while others need a little more explaining. Access control for electric gates is one of the subjects that can be a bit more involved.

Gate automation systems can be designed to allow free access to everyone. Or they restrict entry to only approved visitors.  In the first case, a simple push button could be positioned outside the gates. Press this and the gates open automatically. However, for most homeowners this is not why they have electric gates installed. It’s much more usual to have gates that stay closed until they are opened by the owners. So some form of communication system is needed and this is where intercoms can be put to good use.

An intercom will have a call unit mounted outside the gate and a receiver handset inside the house. With GSM systems, the receiver unit can be your mobile phone. When a visitor arrives at the gates, they buzz the house using the call button on the call unit. The homeowner than answers, talks to them, and either lets them in by opening the gates from the receiver unit or keeps the gates closed.

Intercoms can feature just audio connection or give added security with video screens that also show you who is at your gates.

Read more about electric gate security here.

Visitor intercom on electric gates

4:            Where can I find someone to repair my electric gates?

There are lots of gate automation installers of varying skill levels and experience, but you need to find the right one for you. Key factors to consider when making your choice include:

  • How far are they from you so it doesn’t take ages for an emergency call out?
  • What services do they supply? Do they cover repairs and maintenance?
  • Do they know your gate automation system (did they install it or have they worked on it?) or do they regularly work on the manufacturer’s motors etc?
  • What are their charges?
  • Do they have good reviews?

Read more about how to find the best electric gate installer near you here.

Electric gate repairs needed

5:            Why have my gate remotes stopped working?

There are a few reasons why gate remote controls can stop opening and closing your gates. The easiest way to find out what the issue is to test for each possible problem in the right sequence. That way you can identify if it’s the cheapest, easiest fix before having to find out if it’s as bigger, more expensive issue. For the procedure we use, read our gate remote problem solving blog here.

Failed gate remote

6:            What can go wrong with electric gates?

This is one of our more frequently asked electric gate questions. The answer varies depending on the sort of gate the enquirer has.

As machines made up of a number of moving and powered components, electric gates can suffer from breakdowns caused by mechanical failure, electrical gremlins or poor treatment. Good service that regularly checks the gates to prevent failures is the best way to avoid many of the following possible electric gates problems:

Vehicle impacts can cause:

  • Damaged gates
  • Damaged motor mountings
  • Damaged motors

Lack of maintenance can cause:

  • Seized components
  • Electrical problems
  • Mechanical failures
  • Gate deterioration and weathering
  • Squeaks, graunches and other mechanical noises

Insects, slugs and other creepy crawlies can cause:

  • Electrical system failures
  • Safety photocell failures

Poor design and installation can cause:

  • Flooded underground motor housings
  • Safety issues
  • Poor operation of the gates

To read more about the potential issues good electric gate maintenance and day-to-day care can help avoid, read more here.

Electric gate electrical problems

7:            How much do electric gates cost?

There’s a wide range of designs, specifications, gate styles, motor types, installation requirements and accessories that affect the total price of a gate automation system. To build your electric gates the installer assembles a range of components to give you the system you need. Each is bespoke and unique to the physical requirements of your driveway and adjacent obstacles, and how you need to use the gates daily.

Consequently, there’s no easy way to answer the question, ‘How much do electric gates cost?’ However, for more guidance on how the individual elements that make up a complete electric gate installation affect the final price, read our ‘How much do electric gates cost?’ blog here.

Everyone asks how much electric gates costs

8:            How do electric gates work?

Electric gate motors open and close automatic gates. These are mounted on the gates and a nearby fixed location like the ground, a gate post or a wall. The fixed part of the motor body houses a motor that moves an arm or gear that’s attached to the gate. The mechanics of each system are designed to open or close the gate when the gate motor is operated.

Sliding gate have wheels along their base that run on a track laid across the driveway entrance. Swing gates hang on hinges mounted to driveway gate posts or other solid surface at the side of the driveway.

Various peripheral electric systems are managed through the main control panel. This then controls the gates depending on what signals it receives from the other devices in the system. Remote, hand-held transmitters will instruct the gates to open or close at the touch of a button. Safety photocells will instruct the gates to stop moving and even to reverse when they detect something in the path of the moving gates. Intercoms will allow visitors to communicate with the homeowners who can also control who they let in at the touch of another button. Other electric control systems that give extra functionality in electric gate systems include:

  • Loop systems buried into the driveway that will automatically open the gates when a vehicle passes over them.
  • Lights and safety warning systems to show that the gates are in operation.
  • Safety edges on gates and hard surfaces adjacent to where the gates move that stop the gates when they touch an object.
  • Additional access control systems including card and tag readers, and code keypads mounted outside the gates, and gate release buttons mounted inside the gates.

Read more about how electric gates work here.

We are frequently asked what motors move electric gates

9:            Are electric gates safe?

Electric gates are machines and all machines need careful use to avoid accidents. Think how easy it would be to burn yourself if you tried to cook a meal blindfold or how dangerous driving a car would be if three different people were operating the controls.

Electric gates use powerful motors to move heavy gates from a position of inefficient leverage. Without a safety audit during the design stage and the implementation of safety devices in the finished gate automation system, electric gates can be very dangerous.

But the correct consideration of how the gates will be used in conjunction with the changing physical environment they will operate in allows the competent electric gate engineer to design, build and install the safest possible system for those conditions.

Electric gates don’t need to be dangerous. So, it is only by scrimping on gate safety or using installers not familiar with the potential risks that result in unsafe gate automation installations.

Are electric gates safe? Yes, when designed and installed by qualified gate engineers.

Read more about electric gate safety here.

Driveway gates with safety mesh

10:          What are the best electric gates?

There are gates that slide open and gates that swing open. Some gates fold in half as they swing open. Also, some sliding gates don’t even need tracks or can slide around corners.

Swing gate motors are articulated arm, underground, linear screw or hydraulic and sliding gate motors are different from all of them. Accessories added to each system are determined by safety requirements and how the homeowners intend to use their gates. Gate designs are open boarded or close boarded, classical, or modern. And the gates themselves are made from wood, metal or a mixture of both.

In short, the best electric gates are the ones that look great outside your house and do everything you want them to do. They work well, don’t cost a fortune to run and give you the levels of privacy and security you hoped for.

You can read more about what makes the perfect electric gates here.

Our most frequently asked question about the bestelectric gates

We hope that this list of the most commonly asked questions we get asked was useful. But there are lots of other questions we get asked about electric gate repairs, servicing electric gates and installing new electric gates that we’ve not included here.

If you have your own questions about anything to do with residential or commercial electric gates, please get in touch. You can call us on 0800 194 1470, email info@egrl.co.uk or fill in our contact form and we will answer all the questions you have.