For many people, the simple flight of stairs is an obstacle to overcome or simply ignore. And as our population ages, the struggle is actually catching more and more of us off guard. But a stair chair lift can actually eliminate that struggle and provide you and/or your loved one with a freedom of movement that might otherwise be difficult for them to manage on their own. When it comes to the point of actually buying a stair chair lift for your home, many people wonder where to start and what things they need to think about? So… here you have “A beginner’s guide to buying a stair chair lift”
First off, What type of staircase do you have? This is obviously one of the most important things to take into consideration. Is it curved? Is it narrow? Is it indoors or out? A curved staircase will need some custom configuring to allow it to perform optimally. The straight stair lift is easier to install, and certainly less expensive than a curved stair lift. An outdoor lift is obviously going to be weather and climate proof.
Secondly, who is going to be using it? What size are they? Their weight matters so that you can choose the right stair lift. Obviously a heavier person is going to need a heavier duty stair chair lift so that it can carry them safely up and down the stairs..
You will also want to consider safety – both of the rider of the stair lift, and any other members of the household. The staircase must be clean and clear and have no obstructions that can interfere with the movement of the chair lift or its rider. There are safety features to consider on the chair lift as well. Things like remote control operation, seat belts and the electrical grounding of the unit.
How will you power the chair? Will it be battery operated or electric power? If you’re going to have an electric chair stair lift, you’ll need access to 220 volts or a 20 amp outlet. As mentioned, the chair lift needs to have an outlet that is grounded. You might also need a disconnect switch near the stairs or a fuse box installed. It may be wise to consider speaking to an electrician to install whatever’s necessary to insure that you have all safety aspects covered.
The other option is battery power for your stair chair lift. The nice thing about a battery operated stair lift is that if the power goes out, you can still use your lift. Since the batteries are rechargeable, they will last quite a while. Eventually you will need to replace them. Manufacturer’s generally recommend about once a year or so.
One of the most significant concerns for people is of course, the cost because chair stair lifts can cost several thousand dollars to buy and get installed. Of course, compared to being unable to use your home or having to move out of your home…this is really quite a bargain. But for most people, it is a big consideration, nonetheless. You’ll have to consult with your health insurance provider to see if they will help with the costs, but unfortunately it is not extremely common for them to do so. If you’re thinking that it might be cheaper to get a used stair lift. And to be sure, you can probably get a good price on a used one. Of course, always check that it will work with your staircase configuration, and that it comes with a good warranty if it doesn’t work right.
The drive type is another thing you’ll want to look into when you’re shopping for your chair lift. You will find that there is cable drive stair lifts for chairs and rack-and-pinion drives for the lifts. The cable drive will use a cable to drive and steer the chair lift. The rack-and-pinion uses gears and teeth to move the chair up and down the stairs.
And of course, there are the controls used to maneuver the chair stair lift. These may be accessed on the stairway or via a remote. Nearly all of the remotes are now wireless.
The last thing to think about is to know exactly what the costs are to purchase and ship the model of chair lift you decide on. Then add in the cost for electrician and installation and spare battery if necessary. It’s not uncommon for installation to cost more than the stair chair lift itself.