Why Are Stair Lifts Are So Popular?
A stair lift can eliminate the pain, fear and worry of using your stairs. Typical stair lift users are people experiencing pain or weakness in their back, hips, knees, and legs when using stairs. Other conditions that may warrant a stair lift include balance issues, general weakness, back problems, heart conditions, side effects of medications, COPD, neuropathy (numbness in feet & legs), and arthritis to name a few. Many people consider moving out of their home when stairs become dreaded obstacles in your current home. However, many people find moving is much more expensive and disruptive to their lives than making some easy and affordable modifications to your existing home.
5 Major Benefits of a Stair Lift In Your Home
While none of us dreamed of the day we would have a stair lift in our home, many people who have stair lifts installed, only regret that they didn’t do it sooner. Stair lifts are available for Indoor/Outdoor Straight Stairways and Indoor/Outdoor stairways with turns. A local Better Business Bureau Accredited stair lift dealer is a great place to start your search.
The cost of a Curved Stair Lift will vary based upon the type of turn, number of turns, length, options and length of warranty. We recently installed a Custom Curved Stair Lift in a home with a spiral stairway. Our customer was quoted $24,000.00 by a competitor but, we provided a Custom Made, Made in the USA, highly rated Bruno Custom Curved Elite stair lift on the very same stairway for $10,000.00 less!
The company that quoted the curved stair lift for $10,000 more, buy stair lifts from various manufacturers and puts their name on them. They aggressively market themselves as being "Easy" and "Local". It appears they make it easy to over pay but, they are not local. The website only offers vague information (at best) regarding the stair lifts they offer for sale. A check of the Better Business Bureau finds this company is not accredited by the BBB and has no file on this company. Rather, the BBB refers you to another company that has over 30 complaints in the past 2 years. Yet, another attempt to deceive.
It is unfortunate that some companies attempt to deceive consumers into thinking they are a manufacterur when they are not. And, present themselves as "local" when they operate nationwide. A good place to start is to check the Better Business Bureau file on the manufacturer and the dealer you are contacting. BBB Accreditation and number of complaints in the file, is a good leading indicator of what you can expect from a company. In this case, no BBB file should be a huge red flag. Word of mouth is a pretty good way to find a honest and caring stair lift dealer.
We like it when potential customers tell us they have talked with other stair lift providers because, they are better able to recognize a fair price for a quality product. It pays to shop around and be highly sceptical of extremely high or low ball pricing. A quality Custom Curved Stair Lift will usually run between $9,500 and $15,000 including delivery, istallation and two or more years of warranty. And, we prefer a Curved Stair Lift made in the USA.
Within the past several months our customers have been telling us about a company attempting to sell Straight Stair Lifts for over $6,000.00! To which I respond, are you kidding me? I find this astounding, galling and unsavory. The company as turns out, is not even a manufacturer of stair lifts. They simply purchase stair lifts from a European company, put a different name on the stair lift and mark it up accordingly. A typical local dealer in your area, buys directly from the manufacturer and is supported by the manufacturer.
Good to great quality straight stairlifts cost between $2,600 and $3,000 for 300 LB capacity stair lifts including installation. There are options available which can increase the cost however, we rarely have a customer that needs or wants all the options.
Simply put, if someone is trying to sell you a straight stair lift for $6,000.00 or more, show them the door and call a reputable company that is ready to offer you a good or great straight lift for a fair and reasonable price.
During the sales process we are often asked "what is the most common reasons for service calls" on your stair lifts. The true answer is user error. Fortunately, many of these can be solved over the phone.
1. Power was turned off.
2. Key was turned off. Which disables the stair lift.
3. Remote control no pointed at the stair lift. Most remote controls are infrared which means you have to point the remote control toward the the stair lift for it to work.
4. "Won't work". We push the button and it clicks but, then stops. Todays stair lift require you to hold the button down until you are at the top or bottom of the rail.
5. Batteries need to be replaced. After 3 - 5 years of use the batteries inside the stair lift will wear out requiring replacement of the batteries.
Most of the service calls are user errors and are resolved by our tech support technicians on the phone. We understand that when the stair lift is new or a new user is introduced to the stair lift, there is a little bit of a learning curve. The main point is our stair lifts are very reliable and rarely have serious problems when purchased new or refurbished. This is why we provide a free 1 year free labor warranty to take care of these often minor but, very important new stair lift owner issues.
Best Regards, Ed
Many people overlook important options to add to their stair lift. Many times this is because they are not aware these options exist because some brands do not offer these options. And, unfortunately, since the options are not available in these brands the sales people don't bother to mention them even when it is clearly evident the options are appropriate. It is true today's stair lifts standard feature list is going to meet the needs of the majority of stair lift users. However, there are some options worth considering that can make your stair lift safer, easier to use and help you live independently longer. These options may also extend the usefulness of the stair lift as your needs change as the months and years go by. How many of us are getting younger and healthier as time goes by? If you are experiencing this phenomenon, please share with us.
Here is a list of the top 5 options to consider before finalizing your choice of a stair lift. Bruno happens to be one of the few stair lift manufactures that offer these options in both a 300 Lb and 400 Lb capacity stair lift therefore, we strongly suggest taking a look at the Bruno Independent Living Aids models Elan SRE-3000 and Elite SRE-2010.
1. POWER SWIVEL SEAT. Easily and effortlessly swivels the chair at the touch of a button. Without this feature, you will need a minimal amount of strength in the lower legs and/or arms (grab onto to a stationary object) to turn the seat. Any stair lift worth considering will swivel at the top of the stairs to aid in safe entry and exit from the chair at the top of the stairs. However, this is a manual swivel and requires some degree of strength in the lower legs to move the seat. Many people have this ability however, if the user is very weak or may become weaker with time, a Power Swivel Seat is an important option to consider.
2. POWER FOLDING FOOTREST. By simply folding up or down the seat, the footrest automatically folds up and down. This eliminates the need to bend over to fold the footrest up or down manually. This can be an important option to consider in a home with others in the household that do not use the stair lift therefore, are more likely to fold the footrest, seat and arms when not being used.
3. MANUAL FOLDING RAIL. With this option, you have the ability to fold the rail that the chair rides on at the bottom of the stairs. In other words, the rail normally extends to the bottom floor and the folding rail option allows you to fold the rail up and back away from the bottom floor if needed. When the rail is folded up you have the option of storing the seat just above the hing in the raill or all the way at the top of the stairs. This can be a useful option when there is a door, narrow walkway or small foyer at the bottom of the stairway.
4. AUTOMATIC FOLDING RAIL. As the name indicates, the rail at the bottom of the stairway will automatically fold up when you travel upstairs and automatically fold down when you ride down stairs. When the rail is folded up you have the option of storing the seat just above the hing in the rail or all the way at the top of the stairs.
5. LARGER FOOTREST AND/OR SEAT. This option is only available on the Bruno Elite mainly to compliment the higher weight capacity.
The additional cost of any one or combination of options can dramatically improve the usefulness and extend the level of independence you can receive from owning a stair lift.
Please contact me at 301-736-7028 or visit us at www.stairliftasap.com for more information.
Best Regards, Ed
5 Things to Consider When Renting A Stair Lift in Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia
Renting a Stair Lift can be a great alternative to the purchase of a stairlift. We get many calls from people unsure of how long they or their loved one will require a stair lift. Rental is a great option. Here are 5 things to consider when deciding between the Rental or Purchase of Stairlifts. follows.
1. What is the minimum rental period? Few stair lift dealers rent stair lifts however, most that do offer rentals have a minimum rental period or minimum rental charge.
2. Does the rental fee include installation and pick up at the end of the rental period? A low monthly rental rate may appear to be a good deal but, after adding all the extras, it may not be the deal you were hoping for when you called. And, get it in writing.
3. Service? Who pays for service during the rental period. A reputable company will include this in the rental fee and put it in writing.
4. Is the stair lift appropriate for the person using the lift? Be sure to check the weight capacity is appropriate for the person or persons using the lift. Also, you should consider the usability of the chair lift. Does the user have use of the hand that is needed to press the toggle switch that makes the stair lift move? Is the user able to push the seat swivel lever when they get to the top of the stairs in order to swivel the seat so it is facing the top floor? Is the person able to manually swivel the seat without assistance or will they need someone to assist them whenever, they need to use the lift. If a care giver is needed to assist when using the stair lift, wireless remote controls are an essential item that should be provided.
5. Is Rental of a stair lift better than a purchase? This is somewhat subjective but, if you believe you will need a stair lift 6 months or less, rental can be useful and financially sound. You will pay less than a purchase and there is not question what to do with the stair lift when you are finished since the rental company will be eager to remove the stair lift once rental payments end. Beyond 6 months, purchase is more likely your best bet. The initial cost is greater but, you can use the lift as long as you like and when you no longer need the lift, some companies will professionally remove your stair lift and pay you a nominal amount of money for your used stair lift.
Best Regards, Ed
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