Many of us have stairways in our home that make at least one turn. This presents a challenge when contemplating the purchase of a stair lift. The short version of this blog is a Curved Stair Lift is always the preferred choice when the stairway has one or more turns between floors. This is because you only have to transfer to and from the Curved Stair Lift once at the bottom and top. The alternative is to install more than one stair lift or install one stairlift on the longest set of stairs. The major consideration in choosing between the Curved Stair Lift and one or more straight stair lifts is as follows.
1. Does your stairway have flat landings? This facilitates safe transfer from one Straight Stair Lift to another.
2. Does the user of the stair lift have the ability to transfer from one Straight Stair Lift to another with relative ease?
3. Budget? Two straight stair lifts will cost approximately 40% - 60% less than a curved stair lift.
4. Is the stair lift user likely to have better or worse ambulatory skills in the future?
5. Frequency of use. Once a day or many time per day.
The decision is a combination of personal and practical considerations. Always seek a Stair Lift Dealer that offers both Straight and Curved Stair Lifts and is providing the information you need to make an informed decision.
Best Regards, Ed
I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE exciting product called Convertastep. They recently released a new version which improves on the original design. Convertastep is very functional and usually requires little or no other modifications which can keep cost lower than traditional Porch Lifts and Platform Lifts designed for wheelchair access to residential homes. The lift is designed to be used instead of a ramp, outdoor stair lift or vertical platform lift.
The biggest advantages are as follows
1. Takes much less room than a ramp.
2. Steps can be used by others.
3. Less costly than Vertical Platform Lifts.
4. Can be moved and reused.
One limitation we wish Convertastep would address is they can only be used for up to a 33 Inch Rise. That is about 4 standard steps.
It is motorized, has a 750 LB capacity and can be used instead of a ramp or other wheelchair lifts to transport the user from one level to the other while leaving the steps in tact for use by others. We mainly use them inside a garage to get from the garage floor into the house through a doorway.
We are always looking for new and exciting products and when we think we have something of value for our customers, we do our best to share.
Best Regards, Ed
Many people ask about the reliability of stair lifts and what are the most frequent causes of failure. My answer is simple. Approximately 50% of our service calls are a direct result of operator error. Here are some results from service calls with in the past week.
-Two New Stair Lifts will not work at all one day after installation.
Cause-Family member turned stair lifts off and the user did not know.
Fix-Turned on unit.
-Unit will not operate.
-Cause-Unit was unplugged from the electrical outlet for 5 weeks while on vacation. Batteries died as a result. Fix-Replaced batteries.
-New unit will not work most of the time when starting from top floor.
Cause-Operator was attempting to operate stair lift while seat was swiveled facing the top floor.
Fix-Re Train customer on proper operation.
I am not saying all repair calls are due to User Error. Batteries do need to be replaced when a stair lift gets to be 3-6 years old. The wires that connect the battery charger to the stair lift will occasionally come loose, usually due to house cleaning. Occasionally, a switch will go bad. Rarely, a fuse will blow inside the stair lift due to a surge of electricity from the outlet but, that is a good thing since the blown fuse saved the logic board from extensive damage. Overall, we see few component failures.
When considering the purchase of a Stair Lift, here are few tips for avoiding stair lift failures.
1. Avoid Used Stair Lifts unless you are buying from a reputable local dealer that is providing a warranty and service. Expected useful service life of a stair lift is approximately 9-10 years. Anything older is more likely to require parts and service. And, as stair lifts age, parts can become hard and expensive to buy. And, finding a qualified service technician can be difficult as well. Stick to Reconditioned stairlifts that are still being sold new by the stair lift manufacturer. This is a good indication you will be able to get good service and reasonably priced parts if needed, for many years to come.
2. Always leave your stair lift plugged in and turned on which enables the battery charger to properly maintain the batteries. Most stair lifts motors are run by batteries
3. Have the stair lift installed by a Factory Trained Technician. Proper installation is one of the most important contributing factors for a reliable stair lift.
4. Be careful when cleaning around the stair lift so you do not accidentally disconnect the wires connected to your stair lift.
5. If the stair lift starts beeping (other than the normal beeps when using it) when not in use and you have checked to be sure the power is connected and seat is properly positioned, call your Stair Lift Dealer. If you wait, there is a good chance the stair lift will not operate at all due to low voltage of the batteries or some other failure.
Bottom line, always leave your stair lift plugged into the outlet and leave the on/off switch turned on. Listen to your stair lift. If it is beeping without explanation or starts running slowly upstairs, it needs service. Call your local stair lift dealer to service your stair lift and ensure the reliable operation of your stair lift.
Best Regards, Ed Customer Service Director www.stairliftasap.com
Any modern Stair Lift today has batteries which enable it to operate in the event of an electrical outage. Imagine being stranded on a floor of your home due to an electrical outage? Your stair lift batteries will allow you to use your lift for a number of round trips until electric is restored. There are some important things to consider regarding the batteries in your stair lift.
I received a call yesterday from a potential customer who was asking about a used stair lift mentioned on www.stairliftasap.com. When I asked why he was questioning our prices, he said he had been quoted $8000 for a straight stair lift over the phone by an online seller of stair lifts. Wow! All I could say was "they took a shot at you" and our prices are real and very reasonable. Beyond that, we hear all kinds of stories about various companies selling stair lifts. Both online and locally. Just a reminder for those that have read our blog before, as a dealer, here are our Top 5 Things to consider when shopping for a stair lift, be it new or used.
1. Is the stair lift currently in production by the manufacturer? Otherwise, how are you going to get parts and service later if a problem occurs?
Once a stair lift is retired by the manufacturer it can become increasingly difficult to find parts and properly trained technicians to service your stair lift.
Suggestion: Go to the manufacturers website to see which models they are currently selling and narrow your search to those models on the used market. We have listed the 3 most popular stair lift manufacturers below.
2. Is Professional Installation provided? You would not believe the number of ways a stairlift can be installed wrong making it unsafe, ugly and voiding the warranty.
It is possible you know someone who could install your stair lift for you however, if done improperly, you risk your safety and the potential of costly repairs.
3. What is the Warranty? A one year parts warranty should be a minimum. We suggest a 1 year parts and labor warranty is reasonable to expect. Purchasing an extended warranty at the time of purchase can save you money since the sales person has a vested interest in making a deal at a reduced price for extended warranty at the time of sale.
I have seen people spend hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars for used stairlifts without any warranty that have had to scrap them totally or spend much more money to get them running properly and installed properly. In many cases, purchasing a new or used stair lift from a dealer with a solid warranty would have been less money or only a few hundred dollars more.
4. Who is the manufacturer and how long have they been in business? A little due diligence on the internet usually turns up some useful information on the different stair lift manufacturers.
Suggestions: Try searching by manufacter and model plus add "reviews", "comments", "ratings" or "complaints" to the search term.
Suggestion 2: Better Business Bureau is also a great resource www.bbb.org. A company with no complaints is unusual (occasionally there are customers nobody can please or you see people that go directly to BBB without giving the company an opportunity to respond) but, what I like about BBB is you get an idea of the type of complaints, how they are handled or did the company even respond to the complaint (do they even care if customers are happy) and if the number of complaints is significantly higher for one vs. another.
5. Who will service my stair lift? Are they local? Are they factory trained?
We are biased here but, always buy from a Manufacturer Authorized Dealer. A dealer a local reputation to protect, is directly supported by the factory for training and parts. Most manufacturers require their dealers to complete training on a continual basis to maintain the Dealership or risk losing it to another company. And, one last note about dealers. If you see a company advertising "Factory Direct" "cut out the middleman" run the other way. This is the equivalent of GM or Ford selling you a car direct with no local dealers to create competition (means lower prices) and only one place to turn to if you need service (means higher prices).
Hope this is helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-736-7028.
Best Regards, Ed
Customer Service Director
It is frustrating when people instinctively know it is time to make changes to their home that will drastically reduce the chance of falling however, they end up procrastinating. Sometimes it is money and other times we suspect it is the "it won't happen to me" syndrome. I thought I should share them with you in hopes that the 3rd party statistics will prove our point for us.
Sobering statistics which should be considered.
Best Regards, Ed