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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Residential Elevator

freedom750_lrg_1Installing an elevator in your home can dramatically improve the quality of life for a family member with mobility problems, while also adding to the value of your house. Here are some facts to help you choose the type of elevator that will be best for your home.

Consider the different types of residential elevators on the market. Traditional hydraulic elevators use pistons and cables, while pneumatic or vacuum elevators use changes in air pressure to move the cars. Simple elevators can use mechanical motors to raise and lower small cars.

Another important consideration is the distance the elevator will need to travel. Small platform lifts can only travel up to eight feet, while vacuum elevators can travel up to four stories. Hydraulic elevators can be used in tall buildings, even skyscrapers.
The weights of passengers and their wheelchairs or other mobility devices are important factors. Pneumatic elevators can only transport up to 450 pounds, while hydraulic elevators can carry much larger weights.

Size is another important factor. Vacuum elevators are generally not large enough to transport a wheelchair, while hydraulic elevators have much more interior room and can easily accommodate a wheelchair, scooter, or other mobility device.

Installation requirements vary widely depending on the type of elevator. Hydraulic elevators require demolition and remodeling to create a pit for the pistons and other equipment needed for the elevator to operate. Vacuum elevators, on the other hand, require no excavation. Also consider the electrical power requirements of each type of elevator and whether your home’s current electrical system can support them.

Costs for various types of elevators also vary greatly. The average cost for a hydraulic residential elevator is $15,000, while vacuum elevators cost $20,000 to $28,000. Vacuum elevators have lower maintenance costs than hydraulic elevators because they have fewer mechanical parts. When discussing prices with an elevator dealer, inquire about service plans.

Lastly, consider how the new elevator will fit in with the appearance of the rest of your home. Hydraulic elevators are hidden behind walls and require a separate machine room, while vacuum elevators are exposed. Elevators are generally installed in a central location or at the very end of a home. The simplest place to add an elevator is on an exterior wall. Do not replace a staircase with an elevator, as this generally decreases a home’s value.

Choosing a residential elevator is a smart option to help a family member with mobility problems. Nationwide Lifts can help you choose the model that best suits your needs.

Elevators and Stair Lifts can help those with Limited Mobility


As people get older, mobility issues can make simple tasks in your home a strain. Things as easy as walking up the front stairs to the door or going up and down the stairs inside your home can become a difficult task for the elderly or someone with physical limitations. Being able to stay independent at home will improve your quality of life, and there are a few things you can do to increase your mobility.

Homeowners with limited ability have several options when looking to increase mobility both inside and outside of their home, these options include:

stair lift

Stair Lifts. Installing a stair lift in your home is simple, affordable, and practical. Anyone who has trouble with walking up and down stairs can benefit from them. They can be made to fit any staircase, use very little electricity, and fold up when not in use. Most stair lifts use a straight track to travel the staircase, but when a turn is involved, a custom curved track can be made. They run off a rechargeable battery that plugs into a normal wall outlet. This makes stair lifts have a low cost of ownership. When you aren’t using your stair lift, you can fold it up so the stairway is not hindered. There are also models for both indoors and outdoors.

wheelchair lift


Wheelchair Lifts. Wheelchair lifts are a great for someone who uses a wheelchair to get up and down the stairs. With models that can be used indoors or outdoors, wheelchair lifts make any stairs accessible. Some wheelchair lifts work like open elevators and lift you straight up. Others have a track and platform that carry you between floors. The models with platforms are great, because they can fold up like a stair lift. Having the freedom to travel anywhere in your home without ever leaving your wheelchair makes a wheelchair lift a priceless investment.


Home elevators. Home elevators are the most expensive option, but also have many upsides. They will add value to your pneumatic elevatorhome and can travel several floors. The demand for home elevators has increased, and this increases the value of a home that has one. Home elevators also have the ability to travel up and down several floors. New technology like pneumatic elevators can easily be installed into any home because they do not need a pit of machine room. They are self-standing and can be attached to a balcony or travel through a hole in the floor. They are also extremely energy efficient and require little maintenance. There are many models to choose from, and you can get one small enough for a single rider or large enough to fit someone in a wheelchair.

School has no Elevator, Student in Wheelchair is unable to go to Class


A young boy in New York may have to attend a school miles away from his home and friends because of his handicap. John Dilgen is 10 years old and his new school is not wheelchair friendly. So instead of going to IS 34 with his friends from PS 1, John may have to go somewhere else.

John has epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic disorder that causes painful blisters to form on and inside his skin at the slightest irritation, forcing him to use a wheelchair often. “It is very hard,” John said. “I have tons of blisters all over my body. It’s very painful every day.” His skin is so sensitive that John takes a bath every other day and unwrap the bandages that stick to his sores before he gets into the tub. John recently rode a ski bike on a ski trip, and it left him so sore that he couldn’t move.

Very often, John gets blisters around his feet, and he is too blistered to walk. When this happens, he has to use a wheelchair to get around. John is supposed to attend Totten intermediate School 34 when he starts sixth grade this fall. However, John and his parents recently learned that because of his handicap, he would not be able IS 34. The intermediate school, that shares the same school yard as PS 1, has four floors but no elevator.child wheelchair

Now John must attend another school, even though IS 34 is across the street from his house. He would have to take a bus to IS 75, which is several miles away, and John admits that a regular bus trip could be dicey for his condition. If John traveled by bus with no air conditioning, he would sweat, causing his blisters to itch. This would make him scratch and cause more uncomfortable and painful blisters.

There are many other handicapped students from PS 1 who are facing the same fate. Without an elevator to help those who are confined to a wheelchair, they would have to find a new school to attend. The Dilgens family has started a local campaign to have an elevator installed at PS 34 before John would arrive in September. They have collected over 2,000 signatures on a petition and are bringing up the issue with the School Construction Authority.

As of right now it is not looking good for John. Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm said there is no money in IS 34’s budget to install an elevator this year. Grimm did say, however, that four of Staten Island’s middle schools are equipped with elevators, and bus transportation to each one is provided for disabled students. The family is looking for alternative solutions, such as stair lifts, so John can continue his education with all his friends and does not have to take a bus to school.

Local Transportation Fitted with Wheelchair Lifts Bans Man in Wheelchair

Wheelchair Lift

City buses in Fredericksburg, Virginia are fitted with wheelchair lifts to enable people in wheelchairs to use the public transportation. Fredericksburg resident George Lewis had been traveling by FRED buses to go to local shopping centers and Wal-Mart. However, in 2011, George was told that he could no longer ride the bus anymore.

The reasoning for George’s exclusion was he and his wheelchair were too heavy to ride buses that were part of the Fredericksburg Regional Transit system. It took over a year, but George is back happily riding the FRED buses like he used to.

George Lewis, 45, was born with cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair all his life. After his mother passed away in 2002, George was moved to an assisted living facility. After 9 years, he finally found a group home he could George Lewisenter and moved to Fredericksburg in 2011. After a nurse helps him get dressed and eat in the morning, he is off on his own. Being able to take the bus to places gave George a sense of freedom.

After being banned from the bus, George spent months doing research on the Americans with Disabilities Act. He learned that the regulations had changed since he was banned and that under ADA regulations buses had to transport passengers in wheelchairs of any size, as long as the combined weight does not exceed 800 pounds and the bus’s wheelchair lift could handle them. After finding this out, George sent FRED official a photo of him and his wheelchair on a scale weighing in at 704 pounds, making him well under the limit. His chair is motorized and carries several batteries, accounting for much of that weight.

The FRED officials agreed that George was able to use the bus service again. George is the most courteous rider, understanding that his presence on the bus can inconvenient for other passengers. It takes him 15 minutes to board the bus and he always apologizes to the other passengers for it. Even though it is not required, George does call the bus dispatcher to let them know that a wheelchair bound passenger would be waiting at the bus stop when he needs a ride.

Thankfully George is back to being able to travel around town via the public transportation. While it may take a bit longer because of George, it is only fair that everyone is able to use the public service. The wheelchair lifts are on the buses for a reason and it means the world to someone like George.

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