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Dumbwaiter Servicing – Common Issues

Dumbwaiters, the small freight lifts most commonly found in hotel and restaurant kitchens, are a marvellously useful addition to any busy commercial surface, and may even double as handy automated helpers in multi-storey homes, medical institutions or schools. Their versatile nature, compact design, ease of use and the fact that they make the transportation of goods between floors both easier and safer all contribute to make these devices favourites among service industry professionals.

However, as with any mechanical device, dumbwaiters do need a certain level of maintenance and care to ensure they continue to run properly across an extended period of time. This is the main reason why most providers of this type of item will offer to carry out dumbwaiter repair as part of their after-care service to customers. It is surprisingly easy to overlook or ignore the need for dumbwaiter servicing but, as this article will show, to do so can potentially lead to complications or malfunctioning further down the line. The paragraphs below attempt to outline three of the most common issues which can occur with these machines, as well as an explanation on how they affect the functioning of the unit as a whole, and suggestions about how they can be avoided.

Wear and Tear

The main reason malfunctions happen in any piece of mechanical equipment is due to wear and tear, and dumbwaiter lifts are no different. If used in a busy kitchen, for instance, one of these devices will typically be put to use hundreds of times on an average day, which can quickly cause damage to the motor, the rope the dumbwaiter travels on, or the guide rails which direct it. This, in turn, can lead to the device malfunctioning entirely after a short period of time, and needing to be replaced. Basic dumbwaiter repair can prevent such a situation from taking place, as such issues tend to be caused by something as simple as a lack of lubrication. Thus, simply remembering to oil the rails of a dumbwaiter can potentially end up saving its owner significant amounts of money!

Stiff Doors

Perhaps the part of a dumbwaiter requiring the most careful and thorough dumbwaiter servicing, after the motor itself, are the doors. If the doors become rusty or stiff, the whole dumbwaiter may be rendered unusable – even if its internal components are working perfectly! Door stiffness can, like the wear and tear symptoms described above, be a result of simple negligence or an oversight. Once again, this problem is easily prevented by conducting regular inspections to the doors, to check for any signs of damage. Should any be spotted, it is then advisable that the lift owner call their provider or a dumbwaiter servicing expert, so as to ensure the problem is sorted as soon as possible before the damage makes the device unusable. Neglecting to follow these simple steps may, again, lead to the dumbwaiter becoming useless or needing to be replace, so it is important that they are observed.


Grime is the bane of most electrical and motorised appliances, and dumbwaiters are no different. If left unkempt, and if dirt and grime are allowed to accumulate inside them, dumbwaiters can easily stop working altogether. As such, it is important to make sure these devices, particularly the components which make them run, are cleaned out on a regular basis, to prevent detritus from accumulating and causing damage to the engine, doors or transportation beams. Again, this is a simple precaution which can potentially save the dumbwaiter owner a considerable amount of money.

It is easy to see, then, why dumbwaiter repair is such an important part of owning one of these machines. A small freight elevator can be a manager’s best friend or an overbearing nuisance, and it all comes down to whether or not they are properly maintained!

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