How Long Does an Elevator Last?


Elevators are a crucial part of any building’s infrastructure. Not only do your tenants and guests expect them to be clean and visually appealing, but to function properly as well. Though elevator systems provide practical convenience and safety, you may have questions about maintenance, repair, and also how long the elevator will last.

Having a good understanding of how long your elevator is likely to last is important because it will help you strategically plan your preventative maintenance programs, modernization timeframes, and, eventually, replacement. Knowing this ahead of time will keep your elevator systems running safely and efficiently throughout its lifespan.

Determining the longevity of your elevators involves a few factors, and there are some general guidelines to be aware of.

For example, most cab interiors and call stations are among the first areas to suffer noticeable wear and tear, usually needing attention at around 10-15 years. Alternatively, most machinery and wiring in the system will last much longer, usually more than 30 or 40 years, before needing to be replaced.

Typically, an elevator system will perform at a high level for about 20-30 years from the time of installation, though sometimes longer. This depends on daily usage, environmental effects, maintenance routines, and any significant repairs that may occur.

Somewhere around 20-25 years, most elevators will be due for a modernization project which will upgrade major components and extend the life of the system. After 25 or 30 years, the overall performance may not be as consistent as it once was, indicating it may be time to plan for another modernization or even a full replacement.

Aside from knowing the installation date(s), critical individual components have varying lifecycles themselves that will help determine your modernization or replacement timeframes. Here are a few examples:

    Controller – These are typically replaced during modernizations or if the parts become obsolete. This means controllers are usually viable for 20-30 years.
    Hydraulic Power Unit – Most power units last for a 20-30-year span.
    Door Operators and Equipment – With proper installation and ongoing maintenance, door equipment can last about 25 years or longer.
    Hoist Machines – With the right maintenance program, hoist machines can often last 30-40 years and sometimes 50+.

Another key factor in your elevator’s longevity is its maintenance cycle.

Without ongoing maintenance, the lifespan of your elevator will decrease significantly, leading to costly repairs down the road. But a properly installed and regularly maintained elevator system, supported by a properly managed Maintenance Control Program (MCP), will maximize your investment and property value, allowing you to execute any necessary modernization or replacement project as a planned upgrade investment as opposed to an emergency repair.

Plan Accordingly
These guidelines indicate the general timeframe you can expect for your elevator’s lifespan, but it’s a good idea to plan ahead for changes in your elevator’s performance and maintenance routine.

This is where your elevator service company can be a big help with performing preventative maintenance at regular intervals and logging each visit. This will help keep an eye on individual components to ascertain the need for modernizations or replacement while maximizing your system’s safe operation in the meantime.

We’re Happy to Assist!
For assistance determining the lifespan of your elevator systems or to plan out a proper maintenance strategy, reach out to the friendly Eastern Elevator staff at 800-388-8350.