July 3, 2019

How do stair lifts operate?

Stair lifts for the home are a blessing for those who have a multi-level house but may not be able to navigate stairs safely because of an injury, pain in the joints, weakness in the muscles, or balance problems. Adding a stair lift is often a much better option for people who prefer to “age in place” versus downsizing to a new home or moving into an assisted living community. They can also be temporarily installed for those who have recently had surgery or have an injury that is expected to get better over time.

Most people understand the basic use of a stair lift in that the operator sits on a seat and the lift takes that person from one level of the house to the other, either upward or down. However, the actual operation of the lift is really rather interesting. There is a rail or track that is mounted to the stairway, and a motor powered by a battery turns a gear that is meshed into a gear strip on the track. There is usually a hand- or foot-operated toggle switch that allows the person sitting in the chair to “engage” the lift.

When there are two or more people in the house using the lift, a Call/Send button can be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs to bring the chair back down the stairs after it has been used. It can also be used to send the chair back up the stairs after coming down, if the operator thinks it is unsightly and prefers to have it “tucked away.”

Stair lifts operate very smoothly, but most models do include a seatbelt to keep the occupant secured during the trip. A foot rest also is a safety feature, preventing the user’s feet from hitting steps while the lift is in operation.

Finally, there is a battery charger that is installed under the track at one end or the other. The charger works automatically and shuts off when the battery is full, so the lift can still operate even in the event of a power outage.

Hampton Roads Mobility has a full line of stair lifts that we can expertly install in your home. We’re also available for regularly servicing your lift to keep it operating safely and efficiently. Let us know how we can help you.

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