Universal Elevator Keys
Does One Elevator Key Fit All?
If you’re the new owner of an elevator, you may be surprised to learn that there’s more than just one key for gaining access to your new lift. They’re not one-size-fits-all: Nearly every purpose requires a different elevator key, and some even have multiple options for each purpose.
Landing Door Keys
These are keys that will release the lock and open a landing door, even when the elevator cab is not present. Use of this elevator door key is restricted to professionals and emergency personnel only. The use of these keys can expose an open hoistway with a life-threatening fall hazard.
There are a variety of elevator door key types:
- Drop Key: A cylindrical key with one or more hinge points
- Lunar Key: A straight rod of metal folded in the shape of a semi-circle
- Barrel Key: A stout tube-shaped key used to access a pull cable to unlock the landing door
Fire Service Keys
If smoke or heat detectors are triggered, commercial elevators are often equipped to respond according to the appropriate safety code requirements. A fire service key is used to test this feature and reset the fire-service mode once the alarms are cleared. This key also gives firefighters the ability to travel between landings and open/close doors during a fire. The FEO-K1 fire service key is the most universal model, but other types of keys are still used in some states or with units that haven’t been brought up to recent code.
Elevator Hoistway Door Key
Elevator professionals often need to service or inspect the top of an elevator car or hoistway pit. For this reason, hoistway access points are located at both the lowest and highest landings. By using an elevator shaft key at the lowest landing, a mechanic/inspector can move the car up while the lower landing door is open. This provides them with full access to the hoistway pit. Conversely, using the elevator hoistway door key at the top landing allows the mechanic/inspector to move the elevator car down while the landing door is still open. This allows them to step onto the car top for service and inspection.
Most commercial elevators will have an elevator key switch inside the car for allowing normal operation or shutting it down. This key is not universal; it varies in different elevator models.