Stairlift FAQs-Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a Stairlift and how does it work?
A stairlift is a motorized lift used to move riders between levels in a home or business. They have been manufactured for over 100 years and are both easy to use and safe. Many different drive systems have been used, however, over 90% of todays lifts use a “Rack & Pinion” drive system. This system has proven itself to be quiet, reliable, and low maintenance.
2. Does the stairlift attach to the wall or the stairs?
Stairlifts attach directly to the stairs using varying types of bracket systems. Some stairlifts require as few as three brackets while more complicated curved staircase canrequire as many as 10.
3. Will installing a lift ruin my stairs?
Many people envision large lags being drilled into their stairs, fortunately, this is not the case. The brackets used to support the track are secured using relatively small (approx 3/16”) standard wood screws. Modern stairlifts have been designed to spread the weight load across your entire staircase, reducing the need for large damaging lags.
4. Can other people still use the stairs?
Yes, when not in use your stairlift can be folded out of the way. Our straight stairlifts range between 11.25”-13” from the wall when folded up. Curved lifts are larger units and take up a few inches more depending on the type of stairs.
5. What are the electrical requirements?
Today’s stairlifts are mostly low voltage DC units. In fact, over 95% of units sold worldwide are DC. The electrical requirements for a DC unit are very low and typically an existing outlet in used to power the lift. Most lifts are supplied with 25’ of low
voltage wire. Therefore, an existing household outlet can typically be used. Since an electrician is not required to add a dedicated line both money and time are saved.
6. How long does the whole process take?
This answer greatly depends on the type of stairs being fitted with a stairlift. Straight stairlifts are usually in stock units which are cut to fit your stairs. An evaluation is typically done within 1-2 days of your request and installation is completed in as little as 24-48 hours after your order is placed. If your need is urgent we can occasionally rally the troops and evaluate and install on the same day!
Curved stairlifts are custom applications and require a longer time frame. A detailed engineering drawing using a sophisticated photo survey system is critical to ensure a perfect fit. Turn around time for a custom curved lift is approx. 3-4 weeks from order
7. Does Medicare or private insurance pay for stairlifts?
Medicare does not currently provide any funding for stairlifts. Neither does most private health insurance such as Blue Cross Blue Shield. In some states there is funding from Medicaid under special programs, however, these programs are difficult to qualify for
and often serve a very small subset of disabled people. One bright spot is Long Term Care Insurance. If you or your loved have a LTC policy don’t delay, call them today. Many policies will fund stairlifts. The only caveat; insurance company employees are
programmed to say NO. If your claim is denied our advice is to appeal and make the provider realize that unless a stairlift is installed your loved one will be forced to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. This usually gets their attention!
8. How do you get off the Stairlift at the top landing?
This is perhaps the most common question we receive. Many people are concerned that their loved one will have to step into the stairs to get on and off at the top landing. Fortunately, this is not the case. All stairlifts in production today are equipped with a seat swivel which allows the user to easily swivel the seat at the top so that their feet are securely planted on the top landing. Further adding to their safety and comfort, the seat acts as a barrier to prevent them from falling down the stairs while they get on and off their lift.
Custom curved stairlifts have the capability to make an additional bend at the top landing and finish on the landing or hallway. This feature is only available on curved lifts. Curved lifts are 3-4 times the cost of straight lifts making using one just to achieve
an over-run unneccesary and impractical.
9. Are stairlifts loud, smelly or ugly?
Like many other products being manufactured today, Stairlifts have come a long way. They are surprisingly quiet, have no oily smell and take up much less of the stairs then older models. Curved stairlifts require more track joints and are louder then straight
lifts but are still reasonably quiet. As to the “ugly” question, well, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can tell you that once a lift is installed there are two common comments, first “Hey, its not ugly at all” and second “We should have done this sooner!”
10. Are stairlifts easy to operate?
Another common concern voiced by a potential users loved ones. Most of the lifts being manufactured today are very intuitive and easy to operate. There are two simple tasks required of the user; hold the drive lever on the end of the arm until the lift stops at the top landing, then simply swivel the seat so your feet are now on the top landing in same direction as if you were walking up the stairs. Although swiveling at the top is very easy, some riders elect to install an optional seat motor which does the swiveling for them.