Monthly Archives: June 2015

Is an Elevator or a Stair Lift a Better Choice for Your Home?

home elevatorClimbing stairs can be a challenge for seniors or other people with limited mobility. If you are finding it difficult to walk up the stairs in your home, you don’t have to limit yourself to the rooms on the first floor. You can make all of the levels in your house accessible by installing a home elevator or stair lift.

An elevator can be installed in nearly any home. Residential elevators come in a variety of sizes to fit the amount of space available in virtually any house. An elevator can be tucked away behind a door in an area that used to be a closet, or it can be attached to a balcony or travel through a hole in the floor. Elevators are available in hydraulic, cable-driven, and pneumatic designs and can be customized with an array of options to match your individual preferences and the décor in your house.

stair liftIf you don’t have enough space to install an elevator in your house, a stair lift is another viable option. A stair lift has a comfortable seat attached to a rail that runs along a staircase. You simply need to sit down and press a button, and the lift will guide you up or down the stairs. A stair lift can be installed on almost any staircase, even one with a curve. Stair lifts are available in a variety of sizes to match any body shape and can even work on narrow staircases.

Another important factor to consider in deciding whether an elevator or a stair lift would be a better choice for your home is the price. An elevator costs significantly more than a stair lift. The price can increase further if you decide to customize your elevator with optional features. A stair lift can improve mobility at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t let limited mobility stop you from being able to use and enjoy all of the rooms in your house. An elevator or stair lift can provide you with the access you want and allow you to remain independent.

What Is the 3-5 Rule?

elevator 3-5 ruleThe space between the back of an elevator’s swing door and the cab gate is very dangerous. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has created rules related to the design of elevators in an attempt to prevent injuries.

The ASME adopted A-17, the first safety code for private residential elevators, in 1955 to respond to safety concerns. It said that the distance from the door or gate to the sill could not exceed two inches and the distance from the hoistway face of the landing door or gate to the car door or gate could not exceed four inches. The requirements were relaxed over the years, which led to more safety concerns and the eventual adoption of the 3-5 Rule.

The current elevator code requires that the distance from the back of the swing door to the edge of the hoistway not be more than 3 inches. In addition, the distance from the back of the swing door to the cab gate may not exceed 5 inches.

Elevator contractors must be careful to comply with the 3-5 Rule. The contractor who builds the hoistway is responsible for meeting the requirement. Framing the hoistway with 2x4s helps meet the rule. Using 2×6 construction makes it more difficult to adhere to the 3-5 requirement. Contractors must use door jambs specifically designed to be used on residential elevators, and hoistways need to be perfectly plumb and square. Any variation can create a non-compliance issue.

Newer types of doors and gates comply with the 3-5 Rule. One is a specially manufactured swing door frame with a 1-inch maximum distance between the hoistway door and the edge of the landing sill. An automatic accordion gate operator is another good option because it will come in contact with any obstruction, fail to close, and prevent the elevator from moving and trapping a person. Power side slide doors and gates have tolerances well below the 3-5 requirement.

The Decline of Paternoster Elevators

paternoster elevatorPaternosters are old-fashioned elevators that were once popular throughout Europe. They consist of two side-by-side elevator shafts and a chain of compartments. The shafts and compartments do not have doors. The compartments move continuously on an endless belt, similar to the way a Ferris wheel operates. The compartments go up one shaft and down the other. If a person stays in a compartment after it reaches the last floor in a building, it keeps going around and up or down the other shaft.

The name “paternoster” is derived from the Latin words for “our father.” These are the first two words in the Lord’s Prayer and refer to the way the elevator’s compartments move like a string of rosary beads in a person’s hand.

The paternoster was invented by Peter Ellis, a Liverpool architect, in the 1860s. The elevators used to be fairly common. All department stores in Germany used to have them, and there were many others in the country. There were approximately 70 in the Czech Republic in 2006. Many paternosters in England and other European countries were shut down in the second half of the 1900s due to safety concerns. They remained common in the Czech Republic, but some were taken out of service in the 1990s.

Some paternosters are still operating and open to the public. Several can be ridden in Prague, and private tours of the city’s paternosters are even available. Some are located at the office building U Novaku, the financial directorate (tax office), city council building, and Prague 7 council building. Germany still has a fair number of paternosters, but many are closed to the public. A European directive prohibits the construction of new paternosters.

Elevator Restored at Roman Colosseum

Roman Colosseum elevatorDuring the days of the ancient Roman Empire, gladiators and wild animals, including lions, leopards, bears, wolves, ostriches, and deer, fought in the Colosseum for the entertainment of the emperor, members of the court, and the public. Behind the scenes, great organization was required to transport gladiators and animals to the arena for contests.

Twenty-eight manually operated elevators carried gladiators and animals to the Colosseum. The elevators were operated by teams of eight men each. Another two or three were needed to keep the ropes in check. That meant that over 200 people were tasked with transporting gladiators and animals to the Colosseum for fights.

The elevators operated out of sight in an underground labyrinth. They used a system of winches, ropes, and pulleys to transport gladiators and cages with wild animals to the arena. Once they reached the surface, trap doors would open and fighters and the animals would be released.

One elevator and its trap door have been restored and set up under the Amphitheater the way it would have looked during ancient Roman times. The restoration project took 15 months. The elevator is made entirely of wood. It is about eight meters high and five meters wide and weighs over three tons.

Providence Pictures, an American company, approached the Archaeological Superintendency of Rome and proposed creating a documentary on how the circuses at the Roman Colosseum worked. The project included restoring one of the elevators and paying all associated costs. The Superintendency accepted the idea and proposed making the machinery permanent so it could be viewed by visitors.

The documentary by director Gary Glassman is called “Colosseum: Roman Death Trap.” It was produced and distributed in the United States and will soon be available in Italy. The elevator was presented by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on June 5 and was opened to the public a few days later.

A Dumbwaiter Makes It Easy to Move Items between Floors

dumbwaiterCarrying heavy items up and down stairs can be difficult and risky. One slip can result in a fall, which could have potentially catastrophic results, such as broken bones or a head injury. If you are finding it a challenge to carry things like groceries or laundry baskets up and down stairs in your home, a dumbwaiter could be the solution.

A dumbwaiter will enable you to easily transport these heavy items from one level to another in your house. You can simply load them onto the dumbwaiter, close the door, and press a button. Then walk to the other floor, and the items will be there waiting for you.

A dumbwaiter is an invaluable tool for many seniors and other people who have trouble carrying things up and down stairs. A dumbwaiter can allow you to remain independent and to complete everyday household tasks without the need to ask others for assistance.

Dumbwaiters are available in a variety of sizes to fit a homeowner’s individual needs. They can transport up to 150 pounds, making them perfect for moving grocery bags, laundry, or boxes. They are simple to operate with the press of a button.

Our Jeeves dumbwaiters have finished birch cabs with dovetail joints and stainless steel call buttons. They operate on a commercial grade rail or trolley system and use 115 volts of electricity. They are also equipped with several standard safety devices, including a slack cable, final limit, trolley brake, and interlock door.

A dumbwaiter can also be useful in a business. Dumbwaiters are used frequently in restaurants and other businesses where employees need to transport heavy items. Our Jeeves commercial dumbwaiters have the same standard safety features and can carry up to 500 pounds.

If you are having trouble using the stairs while carrying items in your home or business, a dumbwaiter could be the solution. With a variety of weight capacities and standard safety features, a dumbwaiter can make it easy to move items from floor to floor in a residential or commercial setting.

Is an Elevator or Stair Lift Better for Your Home?

home elevatorStairs can pose a challenge for seniors or other people with limited mobility. If you have trouble walking up and down stairs at home, you don’t need to let that confine you to just the lower floor. A home elevator or stair lift can help you get around easily and safely at home. Here are some things to think about to help you decide which is right for your house.

An elevator is the easiest way to get from one floor to another in a home. An elevator can be large enough to fit a wheelchair or to carry other items, such as laundry or groceries, that might be difficult to carry up or down stairs. An elevator is also large enough to fit additional passengers, such as family members or a caregiver, who provide the homeowner with assistance.

Elevators take up varying amounts of space. They can be boxes several feet wide or cylinders just a few feet across. Many elevators are tucked away behind walls, while others attach to a balcony or travel through a hole in the floor. If you are considering installing an elevator in your home, think about how much space you have and how much remodeling you are willing to do. A home elevator can be expensive, but it can also add value to a house.

stair liftIf you don’t have the space for a home elevator, or if an elevator is not within your budget, a stair lift is a good alternative. A stair lift has a comfortable seat that travels along a rail to transport a passenger up and down a staircase. A stair lift can be installed on nearly any staircase, including one that is narrow or has curves, and it can service multiple floors in a home. Stair lifts have a variety of weight capacities to accommodate passengers of nearly any size. A stair lift costs significantly less than a home elevator.

If you need to improve mobility at home, you have options. An elevator can enable you to travel easily from floor to floor, even in a wheelchair. If you don’t have the space or funds for an elevator, a stair lift is a good alternative. Both can safely transport a passenger and make all the levels in a home accessible.

There is simply no other company that can offer you all of this.

If you are looking for a customized quote or just want to ask a question, get in touch with Nationwide Lifts today to start talking to a Home Elevator expert.