Stairlift - Q & A
Click on the questions of interest to reveal its answer.
Q. Can a stairway lift interfere with a pace maker?
A. We surveyed several manufacturers regarding this question, and the short answer is no. The long answer involves very detailed engineering studies for RF Emissions (Radio Frequency Radiation). Basically, all those tests are done to ensure that the stair lift and the remote controls meet or exceed the FCC guide lines for safe RF Emissions.
Q. What areas does All-Ways Accessible service for Stair Lifts?
A. All-Ways Accessible sells, installs and services stair glide lifts in New Hampshire (NH), Maine (ME) and Vermont (VT).
Q. Does the stair lift rail get installed on the wall?
A. Many people think it attaches to the wall, but the stair lift rail is actually attached to the stairs.
Q. Why not just buy a stair chair off the internet? They are cheaper.
A. Cheaper does not always mean less expensive. If you buy a stair lift off the Internet, you have to install it yourself, you have no labor warranty, and you very often get an inferior stairlift. Most of the reputable manufacturers sell through dealers because dealers can support the stairway lift.
Q. What do stair lifts cost?
A. The price of a stair chair lift depends on many factors - is it a straight or curved stair way? Are you looking for a plain basic chair lift with standard features, or do you want a high end stair lift with custom upholstery and automatic folding options? Does the stairlift stop in front of a doorway at the bottom of the stairs? Do you need a power folding rail for the stair lift? Or do you want the chair lift to turn the corner at the top and/or bottom so it's out of the way of the stairs when it's parked? The answer to these and many more questions will help us determine which stair lift is best for you, your home and your budget!
Q. What brands of electric stair lifts do you carry?
A. All-Ways Accessible, Inc. is an authorized dealer for:
- Stannah Stairlifts
- Bruno Stair lifts
- Savaria Stairway Lifts
Q. How do I know if my staircase is wide enough to fit a stairlift?
A. Well, it's really not a matter of the lift fitting on the stairs, it's more a matter of the person using the stairlift being able to ride the stairway elevator comfortably and safely. If your stairs are 32 inches or wider, you are probably in good shape. However, we've done chair lifts on stairs as narrow as 26", but a lot has to do with the user's size and ability to turn his or her legs. So to answer the question - it might be possible to install a stair-lift on a small narrow stairway, but it is critical that we do the home evaluation to determine the safety of the installation for the person using the stairway lift.
Q. My stairs are curved; do they make a stair chair lift that does turns?
A. Yes, we do many curved stair lifts. Curved chair lifts are custom made so they require more time to manufacture and install, which also makes them more expensive than a straight stair chair lift.
Q. My stairs have a pie shaped set of steps at the bottom - do they make a stair lift that will accommodate those types of stairs?
A. Yes we can accommodate pie shaped stairs at the top, bottom or middle.
Q. I live in a split level - will a stair lift work in my home?
A. Yes, it's possible to install a stairway lift in a split level home, but it can be a challenge. There are number of options to consider so be sure to talk to a qualified lift specialist first.
Q. Can you install a stair lift outside?
A. Yes, but if you live in New England, we don’t recommend it, especially if you depend on the stairlift to gain access in and out of the house. Even if the manufacturer says the stairlift is for outside use, these products just don’t hold up to the ravages of New England weather. Plus salt and sand just add to the problem. A better option would be a ramp or a wheelchair lift.
Q. What is the general weight capacity of a stair lift?
A. It depends on the stair lift, but on an average they run between 300 pounds and 400 pounds.
Q. What happens to my stair lift during a power outage?
A. A battery-operated system will work for a limited time (approximately 20 times), allowing you to access to your entry/exit level.
Q. Do you rent stair lifts?
A. Yes. If you'd like to know more about our rental program, please contact our office.
Q. How much does the stair lift stick out from the wall?
A. It depends on the stair lift, but on average it’s 24 inches when in the riding position and 13 inches when folded up against the wall.
Q. Will others in the house still be able to walk up the stairs if I have a stair lift on them?
A. Yes. The seat, arms and footrest on the stairlift all fold up, leaving your stairs free for others to use.
Q. How will I know which stair lift is best for me and my home?
A. Our qualified Accessibility Specialist will perform a FREE site evaluation to suggest the best options for your needs and location, with no obligation.
Q. How is the stair glide lift installed on the stairs?
A. Bolts are installed directly into the treads approximately every 3-4 feet that hold the brackets to keep the stair lift secure. And yes, there will be holes in the stair treads.
Q. Do I plug the stair lift charger into a standard household outlet?
A. Yes, just make sure the outlet is not connected to a light switch.
Q. Will it harm the chair lift if the batteries are over charged?
A. Most battery chargers will not allow the batteries to over charge.
Q. Do batteries and the charger come with the stairlift?
A. Yes, if the stair lift is battery operated.
Q. How do I properly store my stair lift for extended periods of non-use?
A. Storage procedures can vary substantially depending on the model of stairlift. Please contact our office and we'll be happy to provide you with complete details on properly storing your chair lift.
Q. Can a stair lift handle any stair way configuration?
A. There is a make and model stairlift that can fit just about any type of stairway configuration. Most staircases are either straight, have a middle landing, or are curved/spiral. In some cases, a customer who has a middle landing can install 2 straight stair lifts; one lift on the first set of stairs and the other lift on the second set. Often times this is a far less expensive option than having a curved stair lift installed. Keep in mind that the person who uses the lift must be able to transfer from one lift to other at the middle landing in order to use this two-lift option.
Q. Do I need to do anything special to prepare my home for a stair lift?
A. Not really, unless you don't have an electrical outlet to support the operation of the stair lift. In this case, you would need an electrician to install an outlet before the stair lift is installed. In some cases, the hand rail might need to be removed if it obstructs the operation of the stair lift.
Q. How is the stair lift secured to the stairway?
A. The stair lift is bolted directly to the stair tread. It requires rail brackets about every 3-4 ft.
Q. What is the difference between an A/C powered chair lift and a battery Operated stairway lift? What are the pros and cons?
A. An A/C unit is powered by plugging it into a standard household outlet. If the electricity goes out, the stair lift will not operate. But there are no batteries to replace over time. A Battery Operated Stairlift (BOS) receives its operating power from a standard 12V battery. The batteries are charged through use of a wall powered charger. The BOS will operate if there is an electrical power failure for as long as the batteries last (typically 20 trips). Batteries (in pairs) for these lifts need to be changed every 2-4 years, depending on use. Typical cost for 12V batteries are $65-$75 each.
Q. Will my stair chair lift operate if the power goes out?
A. An A/C powered (plugs into the wall) stair lift will not operate after the power of the house is terminated. A BOS (Battery Operated System) stair glide will work for a limited time.
Q. Will a chair lift work for someone who also uses a wheelchair?
A. Yes, however, the person who uses the wheelchair will need to transfer from his or her wheelchair onto the stairlift, and then the wheelchair must be carried up the stairs by someone else, or a second wheelchair must be located on the second floor. Convenience features built into some stairlift models that aid wheelchair users include folding arms that push up and out of the way, adjustable seat heights, and soft, padded seats.
Q. How will the stair lift look in my home?
A. You can typically choose from a wide variety of colors and fabrics. Upholstery options include easy-to-care- for vinyl and fabric. Chair and track colors can be chosen to blend with most home décor.
Q. What about safety features on the stair lift?
A. Key safety features on most stair lifts include a seat belt, obstruction sensors that will stop the lift should something block its path, and a swivel seat lock that holds the stairlift in place while you get on or off. Constant pressure controls ensure the stairlift will stop if you release your finger from the controls.
Q. Are stair lifts easy to care for?
A. Yes. Stairlifts are designed to last for many years. Most stair lifts come with a manufacturer's warranty; the length of warranty can vary depending on the make and model of stairlift you choose. They should be serviced annually by a qualified technician to be sure the mechanics and safety features are working properly, and they are going to need replacement batteries every few years depending on how often the stair lift is used.
Q. Can stair lifts be installed on any shape of staircase?
A. Yes. We have a variety of stair lifts that will fit almost any set of stairs. For almost 20 years, we have seen a variety of staircase configurations ranging from 'straight run' or 'L-shape' to 'sweeping curve' and also staircases that have a turn at the very top of the flight, with triangular-shaped steps at the turn. All-Ways Accessible, Inc. has installed lifts on all of these configurations.
Q. Is there a need to have rewiring done in my home?
A. No. As long as you have an outlet somewhere near the stair lift so a power cord (for either the lift or the battery charger) can plug into the outlet, you don’t need to do anything. However, if the only available outlet is controlled by a light switch, then you should have an electrician install a new outlet for the stairlift.
Q. Can a stair lift be installed if there is a door at the top of my stairs?
A. Yes. We have installed all models of our stair lifts with doors at the top. Often times, if this is the case, there will need to be a slight modification to the rail installation to accommodate the landing height at the top of the stairs. This is called ramping. This is one of the key reasons why it is important for an accessibility specialist to visit the home and evaluate the stairway prior to the installation.
Q. Does the stair lift rail attach to the wall?
A. No. The rail is designed to attach to the stair tread with support brackets periodically spaced. Keeping the rail on the stairs ensures the utmost stability and the minimum protrusion into the hallway.
Q. I have hardwood stair treads - will the stair lift installation damage those treads?
A. No, it won't damage them, but the stair lift rail does get bolted into the stair tread, so there will be holes. Once a stair lift is removed, we recommend that these holes be filled by a craftsperson/carpenter. Any repair to the stairs following the removal of a stair chair lift is the responsibility of the home owner.
Q. What is the expected life span of a stair lift?
A. Modern stair lifts are very durable and reliable pieces of equipment. All our stair lifts are built using the very highest quality components and workmanship. You can be confident that our stair lift will give many years of faithful service, provided the stairlift is maintained properly.
Q. Does my electric stair lift need to be serviced on a regular basis and if so how often?
A. Yes. It is HIGHLY recommended that a chairlift be serviced at least once per year. Not only does regular maintenance help prevent expensive emergency service calls, but it is mandated by the ASME handicap lift code. All stairway lifts are designed with a series of safety mechanisms. These mechanisms need to be tested on a regular basis. As with any mechanical part, these safety mechanisms can wear over time and really need to be evaluated on a regular basis.
Q. Does my new stair chair lift come with a warranty?
A. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but yes, just about every home stair lift comes with some type of product warranty. These can range from 1 year to "a life time". But be mindful of the fine print. Many times the "life time" warranty is usually on the motor or the lift frame. These are the parts of a stair lift that are the least likely to fail. It's all the other moveable parts that usually cause problems over time. And most manufacturers do not cover labor. So make sure you read your warranty and understand what's covered and what's not. All-Ways Accessible, Inc. provides a 1 year labor warranty on any new stairlifts we install.
Q. How long does it take to install a stair lift? How disruptive is it?
A. The time it takes to install a stairway lift depends on the make and model. Most straight stairway lifts can be installed in 3-4 hours. The disruption is minimal. Our factory-trained technicians are very professional and efficient.
Q. How long do the batteries in a stair lift last?
A. There are several factors involved in the life of a battery but the short answer is about 3 years depending on the usage of the lift.
Q. Why is an adjustable seat height so popular?
A. When it comes to a proper seat height, one size does not fit all. Being able to adjust the seat height on a stairway lift can greatly improve the comfort and safety of the ride. Not all stair lift models have an adjustable seat height so be sure double check this before you buy.
Q. Why are there so many variations and options?
A. Everyone's needs and abilities are different. That's why it's so important for us to meet the person who will actually use the stairlift. We take into account his or her abilities at the time of install and also consider any changes that may occur in the future.
Q. Can I lock the stair-lift to avoid misuse from others?
A. Yes. Some stair lifts have an on/off key that allows you to control who can use the stair lift. Keep in mind that these chairlifts can be very attractive to small children and even though they are extremely safe, no equipment should be used without adult supervision.