Guide to Buying a Stair Lift
As we grow older, mobility becomes more and more of an issue. Creaky joints, lack of energy, and weaker muscles all conspire against the elderly and make something as easy as climbing the stairs a monumental chore. Luckily, we live in an age where the less mobile aren’t confined to the bottom floors of their homes. We live in an age of stair lifts, which enable those with moving difficulties to scale flights of stairs with ease.
While stair lifts are certainly a boon to the elderly or infirm, there are some things you need to watch out for in order to make sure that the lift you get is right for your needs. There are multiple stair lift companies out there, so here’s how you can separate the best from the rest.
- What kind of stair lift do I need?
There are two types of lifts: straight and curved. If your stairway bends at an angle, you would most likely need two lifts with a landing spot to transfer from one to the next. Additionally, there are standing and sitting lifts, ones with fold down seats, footrests, swivel seats, etc. There are numerous features that come with stair lifts, so it’s important to figure out what type of features you want or require, and find a model that best fits that. Most come with a kill switch for emergencies, and for homes with multiple users, you should get one with a call button, just in case the seat is on the other side of the stairs.
- What power options do I require?
There are battery operated, and AC operated lifts. Batteries typically need to be changed after a year and require recharging on a regular basis. While they can be handy in case of a power outage, they also can be more work. AC Lifts run from your home’s electricity, so you don’t have to worry about as much maintenance.
- What installation requirements are there?
Ideally, you would have a consultant come out and figure out what your options are, depending on the type of stairway you have. The lift must be installed along the wall and usually includes brackets that go to the floor. If there are doorways on either side of the stairwell or carpeting, these may need to be removed or adjusted accordingly. As for power, if you do choose an AC lift, the cord is typically installed along the track so it will be out of the way.
- What happens if something goes wrong?
It’s always best to get a lift from a certified dealer who is locally based. Buying one online may be cheaper, but it could cost you in the long run if they don’t have local service agents to assist you in the event of a malfunction or problem. Typically lifts come with a two-year warranty. Longer warranties are available, but they usually only cover motors and gearboxes, since these parts last longer. As for service warranties, those are usually provided by the installer. If you can find a supplier who also does the installation, then that would be ideal. Lift and Accessibility Solutions offers installation on all our products.
- How much will it cost?
Pricing will vary depending on a wide range of factors. Size and length of stairway, model of lift, features, installation requirements, etc. Usually, insurance doesn’t cover the installation of a stair lift, as it is technically a home renovation. However, some plans do cover it under certain circumstances. Regardless, talking with a customer service representative will give you a better understanding of all of the costs required to getting your stair lift installed.
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