A simple maintenance plan for your self-storage security system

Self-storage operators rely on numerous security components to keep their facilities secure. The most common are burglar and fire alarms, access control keypads and security cameras. Ensuring proper operation is crucial to increasing the longevity of these systems and getting the best return on investment. Routine maintenance can also help reduce or even prevent costly repairs. Consider the following to keep your equipment performing optimally.


Many self-storage facilities are equipped with a burglar alarm to protect reception and other buildings. During a property tour, it is important to visually inspect door sensors and motion detectors. Knowing where they are can help you quickly identify issues when there are “problem” alerts.

Check with the alarm company at least once a year for the current list of contacts to be notified in the event of an alarm and authorized users who can cancel a false alarm. This is also a good time to test the system with the monitoring company if there is one.

Check the status of the fire alarm whenever the burglar alarm system is disarmed or put into “away” mode. This simple habit can quickly reveal problems. Vandalism, dirt, dust and other particles can compromise the sensors and functionality of your fire alarm system and trigger a “trouble” condition. This can be fixed by a technician who can inspect, clean and test the sensors and replace them if necessary.

A newly installed fire alarm does not require much maintenance, but environmental issues can start to cause problems five to 10 years after installation. Systems over 20 years old should be meticulously maintained. Most companies that install and monitor fire alarms offer service contracts to help regularly test and inspect the system to standards set by the National Fire Protection Association. The same supplier may also be able to inspect your fire extinguishers.

The fence and the gate

Although fences and gates can prevent criminals and delinquent tenants from gaining access to a self-storage property, it is important to ensure that these systems are working properly. A well-maintained fence and access control system will last longer and provide a pleasant user experience for customers.

Walk the perimeter of your facility as often as possible to ensure the fence is in good condition and has not been compromised by vandals or nature. The line should be free of trees, vines, or weeds that could pull away the fabric of the fence or the stakes from the posts. Any rust on the fence or gate can be cleaned and painted by staff or professional contractors to help reduce corrosion.


Visually inspect all of your self-storage keypads to ensure they are clean and easy to use. These can usually be wiped down with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. All keypad labels or operating instructions must be clean and legible. If needed, you can get replacement stickers or use a label maker to replenish faded or worn ones.

Test all the buttons on the keyboard, as some are used more frequently and therefore may wear out more quickly. For example, if the numbers 1, 7, 9, and 0 show the most usage, chances are someone can guess one of your tenants’ access codes.

Also test your keypads with valid code and invalid code to make sure they are communicating with the system controller. If it does not register in the system activity log, it is time to contact technical support or a certified technician.

Finally, don’t forget your keyboard stands and protective terminals. These should be cleaned and painted if necessary, not only for aesthetics, but also to prevent the steel from rusting.

door operator

If you have an automatic gate operator in your self-storage facility, it should primarily be serviced by a trained and qualified service technician for the brand you are using. In most cases, manufacturers recommend servicing the component every six months; however, there are a few things to check to make sure the system is working properly.

The area around the gate operator should be free of debris. Objects such as plastic bags and other objects can get caught in the gears and bind the chains of sliding door operators. Any new and unusual squealing, squealing, or popping noises should be recorded and inspected by a service technician. It’s the door telling you that something is wrong, and either way, it could eventually lead to a larger repair. A technician should test the gate operator’s battery backup, reversing sensitivity, safety, and other accessories to make sure they are all working properly and meet Underwriters Laboratory 325 safety standards.

Cameras and recorders

During your visits to the self-storage site, it is essential to inspect your security cameras for any signs of vandalism or anything else that may prevent them from providing a good unobstructed view. Knowing where the cameras are positioned will help you identify problems quickly. For example, tenants sometimes adjust cameras to point up or down to prevent their suspicious activity from being recorded.

It is important that each camera has its own lens and housing to provide clear images. Barely visible cobwebs during the day can create washout at night when the infrared illuminators turn on. This can be corrected by wiping the camera with a soft, damp cloth. If a camera is out of reach, try using a pole with a soft dusting attachment.

Inside the office, display screens and other electronic devices should be dusted and kept clean. An accumulation of dust leads to overheating and poor performance. The same goes for stacking user manuals or other magazines or newspapers on top of the camera system recorder. A clear space around the head of the system and the equipment provides ventilation and helps keep it cool. It can be extremely tempting to lay the manual on how to review and record video on or next to the recorder, but it should be filed somewhere safe instead.

Review your video footage at least once a month, if not once a week, to ensure that you have the correct login credentials and know how to use the system in the event of an incident. It’s also good to practice recording a video to familiarize yourself with this process in case you need it for the police, insurance company, landlords, etc. Try reviewing and recording a specific event that you already know happened and playing it back on a home or office computer. For example, find out when the waste picker emptied the dumpster or when the facility was last visited. This lets you practice looking up the date and time and looking at all camera angles.

Keep a 30-day archive of your video (or longer) and make sure cameras are recording footage worth saving. Camera performance can vary from sunrise to sunset and with infrared lighting at night. Some video recorders have built-in automatic reports that send alert emails or notifications when something goes wrong, such as when a device loses signal, the video archive is less than 30 days old, or the system shuts down. the Internet connection. These automatic reports are extremely valuable for self-storage locations that are not busy daily.

mix it up

Maintaining your self-storage security can easily be mixed in with other tasks such as visiting your facility daily or routinely checking locks. You may already be doing some of these tasks without knowing it! Getting into the habit of checking components helps you become familiar with them. It also helps identify issues that need to be fixed quickly, preventing small problems from turning into big headaches. Proper care is essential to ensure that the system you use to secure your facility works well and lasts a long time.

Note: The information in this article is intended as a point of reference and should not replace any maintenance or service recommendations you have received from a manufacturer or the local jurisdiction. Always consult the manual or warranty for your specific equipment, then contact your security integrator or vendor for assistance.

Todd McClure is a Sales Engineer with Pennsylvania-based Automated Security Corp., a national supplier, installer, and servicer of commercial security and protection products specializing in self-storage. He has experience in installation, technical support, design and specification, project planning and project estimating. He has extensive knowledge of the integration and compatibility of various system technologies. To reach him, call 610.873.0067 or send an email [email protected].

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