As most business owners will know, roller shutters are key to keeping your property secure. Protecting vulnerable windows, doors, and entry points with a roller shutter helps to prevent unauthorized entry, ensuring that your equipment and stock is safe from vandals and thieves.
But what happens if your shutters break down or get damaged? This line of defense will be compromised, leaving your premises vulnerable. As with any mechanism, roller shutters can experience operational issues, so it’s crucial to get them working again as soon as possible.
According to the Home Office, at least 38% of retail businesses were targeted by criminals in 2021, with most crimes being related to theft – yet only 27% installed crime prevention measures. You need measures like roller shutters to keep burglars out, and they need to be in working order.
It can be extremely frustrating when shutter doors suddenly stop working, but the solution may be simpler than you think. We’ve compiled a list of the most common causes of roller shutter failure below, explaining what to look for and how you may be able to fix your shutters quickly by yourself.
Depending on the severity of the problem, you might require professional assistance from a roller shutter engineer – but here are 8 things you can check for first to get them up and running again.
It may sound too obvious – but is the power on? If your electric shutter isn’t responding to the controls and the door won’t open or close, there’s a good chance that it’s due to a power failure.
Check that the power source is definitely switched on, and that everything is connected as it should be. If turning the power off and on again doesn’t make a difference, then components such as a fuse or part of the mains breaker board may need replacing. All electric shutters should have a manual backup, so you should be able to use this to open or close the door until you can call an electrician.
Debris in the tracks
A functioning roller shutter should glide up and down smoothly and quietly. If it moves unevenly, keeps getting stuck, or makes a kind of grinding noise – or all of the above – it’s likely that there’s something stuck in the tracks or rails that’s blocking the shutter from running through properly.
This is why it’s an important part of roller shutter maintenance to clean them regularly. If you allow dirt and debris to build up, it can eventually cause the door to break down. Turn off the power and clean out the tracks carefully to remove any foreign material trapped in the rails. You should also apply lubricant, such as WD-40, to make the slide easier and quieter by removing any built-up rust.
Have you been operating an electric shutter frequently in a relatively short amount of time? Constantly running the mechanism without a break can cause the system to overheat and stop working, especially if the weather is already warm. This is usually only a temporary problem.
If this is the cause of the roller shutter failure, switching off the power for a bit and leaving the motor to cool down for an hour or so should do the trick. It should work as normal when you turn it back on later. However, if it doesn’t, it’s possible that part of the mechanism may have burnt out completely and needs replacing. In this case, you should call a professional to check things over.
While cosmetic damage like scratched paint shouldn’t prevent the shutter from operating properly, more serious damage can affect the door’s alignment. This is common in industrial environments like warehouses, where forklifts and heavy vehicles might accidentally knock into the shutter door.
Superficial wear and tear is expected, but deeper dents can cause the shutter to buckle, which then prevents it from sliding through the tracks smoothly. Sometimes it may be possible to use heat or suction to pop a dent out, but you risk causing more damage if you try to DIY. If the door structure is compromised to the point that it’s affecting its functionality, it might be time to call a professional.
If you have an electric roller shutter that’s controlled with an entry code, the problem could be the code itself. You could either be entering the wrong code by accident, or another shutter in the vicinity could have the same code, causing a clash that stops one or both doors from working.
Firstly, check with the relevant people within your business to make sure you have the correct code. Then, if the door still isn’t responding to the right code, check with any neighbours who also have code-controlled roller shutters to see if they’re having similar problems. You’ll need to contact your shutter provider so they can send someone to rectify what’s likely caused by an installation problem.
Another common issue with automated roller shutter doors that have sensors at the bottom is when these malfunction. Whether blocked by dirt and debris, misaligned, or damaged from impact against the ground, faulty sensors can cause the shutter to only open halfway and get stuck there.
Turn the power to the shutter off and inspect the strip along the bottom to make sure the sensors are in the right place and aren’t dirty or damaged. If cleaning the sensors doesn’t improve their functioning, they may be damaged internally. At this point, you should call your shutter service provider, as either the sensors themselves or the weather seal may need repairing or replacing.
Emergency release chain
When it comes to manual roller shutters, they generally use a spring-loaded push-up system or a pulley system with hand-operated chains. In the case of a chain system, you should of course make sure they’re clean and oiled, as dirt and rust can cause the chains to stick so the door doesn’t open.
The same applies for the emergency release chain, which both manual and electric shutters should have. If your shutter won’t open or gets stuck, always try the backup emergency chain to see if it responds. This is supposed to let you open or close the door in the event of an emergency or power failure, but if it doesn’t work, there could be a more serious issue at play – so call in the experts.
For motor-powered roller shutters, we’ve already covered the possibility of the motor overheating – but if letting it cool down doesn’t make a difference, then the problem could be complete motor failure. This means the motor either needs parts repairing or be totally replaced with a new motor.
To avoid things getting to this point, where your shutter is out of action until you can arrange an emergency repair call-out, you should test your shutter mechanisms regularly and book roller shutter servicing at least once or twice a year. This should help you to find faults early enough to fix them before they become serious problems, extending the life of your motor and shutter overall.
Need emergency roller shutter repairs?
If you’ve run through all the checks above and your roller shutters still aren’t working, it’s time to call in an expert to service and repair your doors. Even if you’ve managed to achieve a quick fix, you might have realised that your shutters are overdue for professional servicing – so don’t put it off.
Whether you’re looking to buy new roller shutters in Bolton or require roller shutter repairs in Lancashire, you should always hire a professional to install or restore them. The faster they’re fixed, the sooner you can get back to business. If you can set up an ongoing roller shutter maintenance contract, even better – with regular servicing, your shutters should be operational for years to come.