It’s difficult to carry an elderly or disabled person up and down the stairs. No matter how strong you think you are to carry them there is always the danger of falling down the stairs, causing injuries. This is where stair lifts are a boon. A stair lift is used to lift people and transport them from one floor to another. A stair lift is also known as a chair-lifter or stair glider.
The stair lift cost may range from $2500 to $15,000 depending on the type of stair lift. A straight stair lift (no bends) up to 13 steps cost about $2500 to $5000 depending on the city and state. A curved stair lift start at $10,000 and can go up depending on the number of bends. These tracks are custom made and can take a long time to fabricate.
Some dealers offer to rent stair lifts. It is really a coin toss as to best option. Rental offers a lower initial cost but if you plan on using it for any length of time, the cost start to overcome the benefit of renting it.
There are a number of manufacturers of stair lifts. Acorn and Bruno are two that are well know. One of the main considerations in choosing a brand of stair lift is does it have local support should anything go wrong. In this day and age of changing landscapes, the durable medical equipment business is in a state of flux. Many individuals have an stair lift installed and never have to call the installer until the batteries need replacing only to find they have closed. Use a long standing dealer and a national company when selecting a stair lift.
There are three different types of stair-lifts: straight, curved and outdoor.
a) Straight stair lifts: They are suited for stairs that have no bends.
Pros: They are cheap and easy to install.
b) Curved stair lift: They are suited for stairs which have curves or bends in its structure.
Pros: Custom-built to suit the customer’s requirement.
Cons: They are costly and time-consuming, because the curved stair lift has a lot of customization and is installation is not easy.
c) Outdoor stair lifts: If you have stairs leading up to the house or stairs in your backyard, this type of stair lifts are used.
Pros: provided easy access to and from the house. It is easy to install.
Cons: weather-proofing is a must.
The choice of the type of stair lift depends on type of stairs in your home.The stair lifts are available for narrows stairs as well.
Maintaining a stair lift consist of three main areas:
1) Keep it CLEAN!
When maintaining a stair lift the first to do is keep it clean. Because it is on the floor and steps (usually over carpet) it picks up dust and dirt. Dirt and degrade the ride of the stair lift chair. Over time it will become bumpy. Wipe down the track to remove any dirt at least once a month. Lubricate the gear track with a metal to metal lubricant (i.e. brake pad lubricant). This will be messy to have a rag at the bottom of the track to catch any excess lubriant. Contact the manufacturer for any questions.
Sometime the charge station plates will make a squeek sound when the chair comes in contact with it. Spray furniture polish on the contact plates (let dry) and the squeek should go away.
2) The chair needs to be examined regularly for any repairs.
Visually check over the chair and the track for any connections that look loose. Check the wires to see if they are frayed or broken. See if any of the bolts on the track are loose and tighten if necessary.
3) Keep the battery Always Charged (usually in the charge station at the top or bottom).
Most modern (in the last 5 years) stair lifts use 2 gel batteries as the primary energy source for the motor. The type of batteries that are used in a stair lifts are the type that like to be charged. Do not turn off the battery charger. If the batteries go dead (not charged), they will not come back and have to be replaced.
After a while (i.e. 2 - 4 years depending on care and upkeep), the stair lift will start to go up the steps very slowly. When this happens it is time to change the batteries. A dealer should do this.