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How do you open electric gates safely during a power failure? Because electric gates are powered by electricity, you will need to have a back-up solution should you experience a power cut in your area.

While it’s always best to leave it to the experts and wait for a qualified gate engineer to come out and resolve any issues with your electric gate, you may not have the time to wait if you’re in a hurry. In any case, it’s not advisable to try to imitate the recent exploits of wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and resort to brute force and rip your gate off its hinges.


So how do you open electric gates manually during a power outage? Read on and find out.

How to open electric gates manually

The method used to manually operate electric gates, when there is no supply of electricity to power motors, is called manual release – which involves the use of a manual release key and a built-in manual release mechanism, or a separate manual release mechanism.

Manual release keys are usually inserted into the appropriate lock on the motor housing. A lever or handle is then operated to disconnect the motor drive from the gate opening arms, gears and shafts.

Operating the manual release in most electric gate systems doesn’t necessarily allow gates to move completely freely. Often there are parts of the gate drive mechanism which still move when gates are moved by hand. Additionally, hydraulic operators will also have oil in the system which must be pushed back through valves.

Although manual release system can allow gates to move without gate motors, there will likely be some resistance. The rule of thumb here is to never force a manual release system. Instead, you should push the gate slowly and steadily.

Another factor to consider is the manual release mechanisms themselves. Some manual release mechanisms cannot be operated whilst under pressure. Should you encounter this while trying to manually operate electric gates, the gate must be pushed against the desired direction to relieve pressure – thus allowing the release mechanism to operate effectively.

Why all electric gates should have a manual release

Any automated gate that has been installed by a qualified gate engineer should have a manual release system. By disconnecting your gate from its operator, manual releases ensure anyone trapped by unsafe or badly designed gates can get out safely.

That said, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to know where manual release keys are kept in the event of a power failure.

It is recommended to purchase spare manual release keys for your manual release mechanisms from a reputable gate equipment wholesalers, such as Linkcare. However, many manual release systems operate with a numbered key. Be sure to keep a record of this, as it will make ordering spare parts much easier.

It is also recommended that manual release mechanisms should be tested every three months or so, as well as hiring a gate engineer to carry out suitable maintenance yearly. As manual releases are normally only used in an emergency, they are rarely used – meaning they can become dirty, stiff and sometimes, impossible to use when they’re needed the most. Maintenance of manual release systems will likely involve cleaning, lubricating and testing to ensure manual release systems are in working order.

Catherine Pearson