10 Oct 5 Things to Know When Selecting A Home Elevator
Tens of millions of people are expected to retire over the next 10-15 years.
As age-related infirmity sets in, mobility will challenge them more and more. In short, stairs will become the enemy. One solution to that problem (and the everyday problem of getting bulky items upstairs) is installing home elevators.
Like any major home renovation, there are some things you need to consider before you settle on a home elevator.
Let’s jump in and see what they are.
Types and Weights
Home elevators use several different types of mechanical systems, such as hydraulic, chain driven, hoistway-less and gearless motors. Your choice will depend in part on how much weight you need to move.
The right hydraulic system can accommodate up to 1000 pounds, while a gearless system generally maxes out at 750 pounds. Hoistway-less elevators are typically limited to around 500 pounds.
You’ll want to work out a solid estimate of the maximum weight the elevator needs to carry on a daily basis. The average adult man weighs just shy of 200 pounds. So, three adult men can easily exceed the weight limits of a hoistway-less elevator.
Number of Stops
Most residential elevators are configured to make two stops. In most cases, one stop is on the ground floor and the other is on the second floor.
Hydraulic, chain driven and gearless systems all allow for additional stops, but hoistway-less systems are two-stops only. The limiting factors here are cost and how much you need or want additional stops.
Adding stops for a third or fourth floor adds to overall price because there will be additional construction at each floor. If access to those floors is critical, you’ll need to spring for the extra stops.
If access is a mere convenience, you may want to take a pass.
Home Configuration can Limit Your Choice
Let’s say your home has a full basement, but a very cramped or non-existent attic. A hydraulic system will probably work best for you.
The motor for the system takes up a fair bit of room, but it’s all underneath the elevator.
Let’s say you have no basement but a roomy attic. In that situation, a chain driven system is a better option. The motor is situated above the elevator.
You’ll want to consult a residential elevator expert before you set your heart on a system. Home building techniques evolved so much over the last 200 years that on-site inspection is the only way to know what the building can support.
Maintenance and Repair
Elevator motors, just like the motor in your car, need regular maintenance. Unlike your car motor, elevators should only be serviced by professionals. You’ll need to figure that maintenance bill into your cost of ownership.
Not keeping up with the maintenance can make the elevator work slower or stop. In the worst case scenario, the elevator will break down between floors with someone inside.
Elevator repairs aren’t outrageous. They average around $350, but they can swell to over $1,600 for more severe problems.
Home Elevators Boost Home Value
A home elevator is a selling point for many home buyers who want to age in place. They also add a layer of cool for younger home buyers that don’t love the idea of climbing stairs every day.
While every real estate market is different, odds are good that an elevator will let you up your asking price.
A home elevator may be a necessity for the elderly, but it can also make anyone’s life easier. Even so, you need to keep some things in mind.
Different elevator systems support different amounts of weight and numbers of stops. You’ll need to budget for ongoing maintenance. The configuration of your home can limit which systems will work.
Access & Mobility specializes in residential elevators. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.