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Real Homes with Residential Elevators

Home elevators aren’t just for the super-rich anymore. People aren’t just installing them in mansions, middle-class citizens are putting them in their two-story homes. As the prices lower and technology improves, more home owners are installing elevators, either into their existing homes or in new ones.

A survey from the National Association of Home Builders found that 12 percent of home owners listed elevators as a desirable or essential home feature, up from just 4 percent back in 2001. With more and more people wanting elevators in their home, elevator companies are creating more residential models for people to choose from. Architects are building creative custom home elevators to match the décor of the home. Check out some of the elevators people have in their homes!

This custom elevator in a Connecticut home looks and feels like it’s just another room. It is designed to mirror the traditional style of the home.

custom elevator

Glass elevators are becoming more and more popular in the residential market. They provide 360-degree views that can make passengers feel less claustrophobic.

glass elevator

The pneumatic elevator is one of the top residential choices. They can be installed almost anywhere and do not require a machine room. The drive system uses air pressure to move the cab, requiring very little energy.

pneumatic elevator

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Could you benefit from Installing a Pneumatic Elevator in your Home?

pneumatic elevator

Pneumatic elevators are slowly becoming more and more popular for residential use. If you or a family member has a physical impairment, have trouble using the stairs, or just want to increase the accessibility of your home, you can benefit from a pneumatic elevator. Affordable, easy to install, and energy efficient, the pneumatic elevator can be beneficial in any home.


There are many reasons why you could benefit from installing a pneumatic elevator in your home. For one, they make traveling between floors in your home a breeze. The independence that a person gains after installing a pneumatic elevator is priceless. Anyone with a physical disability or even someone confined to a wheelchair can enjoy the luxury of being able to access every floor of their home whenever they want.


Pneumatic elevators are much more affordable than other home elevators. They do not reqglass elevatoruire a machine room or pit, which drastically decreases the construction costs. They are easily installed into your home with little modifications needed. There are several different models to choose from, giving you different size options based on your needs. Their glass cylindrical design allows them to be installed almost anywhere in the home and give the room a modern look.

Energy Efficient

The technology that pneumatic elevators use allows for minimal energy consumption. The pneumatic drive system uses vacuum technology to literally suck the elevator cab up to higher floors. When the elevator goes down, almost no energy is consumed because gravity is used to descend the cab and a brake system is used to stop it at the desired floor. When using a pneumatic elevator in your home, you can be sure that your utility bills will no skyrocket thanks to their energy efficient drive system.

Small But Just Right: Is a Pneumatic Elevator a Good Fit for Your Home?

pneumatic home elevatorWhen it comes to deciding on a home elevator, the buyer is presented with multiple options: hydraulic, winding drum, cable, or pneumatic, also known as vacuum. Out of these, pneumatic elevators tend to be the most economical, but even if you’re looking to save on costs, are they the right option for your home?

Limited Space

A pneumatic elevator is often a time and financial saver for a homeowner with limited mobility and less space. Compared to the other designs on the market, the self-contained vacuum option has its own hoistway and cab. As a result, separate structures don’t need to be constructed in the home, and installation consists of cutting holes through the floors.

At the same time, hydraulic and other forms often require that part of the hoistway be built into the side of the property. If this structurally isn’t possible, a pneumatic elevator proves to be an even greater asset.

Building Codes

Compared to their other residential and commercial counterparts, vacuum elevators are relatively new to the market. In fact, a 2005 Wall Street Journal piece details their emergence, particularly in smaller, single-family suburban homes.

The WSJ piece further mentions that pneumatic models were specifically developed for the residential market, and at the time, building codes had not caught up. Eight years later, however, building codes still restrict vacuum elevators, as a machine room may be required in certain instances. Before you decide on this design, research your local building codes for elevator-related restrictions.

Will a Wheelchair Fit?

As a general rule, all elevators must have at least 15 square feet inside. This, however, doesn’t account for the needs of wheelchair users, and while vacuum elevators meet the minimum requirements for homes, they might not fulfill ADA specifications. Should you be considering one for wheelchair accessibility, determine, first, how much interior space will be available, how much weight it can support, and, in the U.S., if it fulfills ADA requirements.

Pneumatic Elevators Becoming Popular for Residential Use

Pneumatic Home Elevator

One of the biggest problems when installing an elevator in a home is the amount of space required. When homes need to go through lengthy renovations to accommodate for large residential elevators, the installation price increases tremendously. A new type of elevator is looking to solve this issue by using a self-supporting design.

Many home elevators that use hydraulic or cable-driven drive systems often require a machine room or pit to be installed for support. A new type of drive system, called pneumatic, is self-supporting. Pneumatic home elevators are made from alHow a Pneumatic Elevator Worksuminum and polycarbonate and take only a few hours to install. No major construction is needed during installation, keeping the labor costs down. The unique shaping of the pneumatic elevators allows them to be installed into many non-conventional areas and in a variety of house styles.

Pneumatic elevators use vacuum technology to bring the cab up and down. The system is also very energy efficient, using mostly gravity and brakes when the cab descends. Pneumatic turbines turn on when the cab ascends, sucking the air out of the cylindrical shaft and subsequently pulling the cab upwards. A brake system holds the cab at the appropriate floor.

People who want to have the luxury and convenience of a home elevator have really taken to the pneumatic design. Not only is it less expensive, pneumatic elevators’ cylindrical design and self-supporting structure allow them to be installed in almost any room. They come in a variety of sizes, with models big enough to allow a person in a wheelchair to ride. Pneumatic elevators make it possible for the average middle class family to have the luxury of an elevator at home.

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How Does a Pneumatic Elevator Work?

A pneumatic lift is one of the more contemporary designs for residential elevators. This type requires minimal installation and fits easily into most homes.

Vacuum elevators utilize a group of turbines located at the top of the cylinder to provide lifting power. There is a seal above the car, which allows the vacuum above pull the car upward. The car is locked into place with electro-mechanical brakes upon arriving at upper levels. When moving downward, the elevator is silent as the turbines are not running. The vacuum elevators do not require a machine room as the controller and turbines are built into the top of the cylinder. The hoistway is integrated into the vacuum elevator design, so it saves construction costs with remodels.
The benefits include ease of installation. This elevator has a small footprint, allowing it to fit almost anywhere. It is easily added to an existing home.

The negative points include noise, bouncy ride, and code compliance. The turbines make a fair amount of noise when moving in the up direction. The car will bounce slightly when moving over seals in the cylinder. The vacuum elevators are very safe, but do not meet every requirement in elevator code. There are many states that will not allow permits for this elevator.

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