Author Archives: Nationwide Lifts

Wheelchair Lift Safety Features

wheelchair lift safety featuresIf you or a family member uses a wheelchair to get around and you live in a multi-story house, stairs are obviously a limitation. However, limited mobility does not need to stop you from using all of the rooms in the house. A wheelchair lift can allow a wheelchair user to travel quickly and easily from floor to floor, making all of the rooms in the home accessible. Wheelchair lifts are equipped with several safety features.

A wheelchair lift runs on standard 120V house power. Many wheelchair lifts have a battery backup power source in case there is a power outage. A battery backup system can ensure that the wheelchair lift will continue to function normally if the power goes out so that a user will not have to worry about getting stuck if there is a power failure.

If someone does get stuck on the wheelchair lift for some reason, he or she will need a way to call for help. A wheelchair lift should be equipped with an emergency communication system, such as an alarm or a telephone.

Wheelchair lifts come equipped with other safety features. These can include anti-skid platforms, automatic emergency lighting, side guard panels, and emergency on/off switches.

How Does a Vacuum Elevator Work?

pneumatic vacuum elevatorA pneumatic, or vacuum, elevator transports passengers from floor to floor using changes in air pressure. A vacuum elevator can be attached to a balcony or travel through a hole in the floor.

The elevator car is moved by differences between the atmospheric pressure above and below the car ceiling. Turbines on the top of the car create a vacuum that causes the car to rise.

A pneumatic elevator has three main parts: cylinder, head unit, and car. The cylinder is a transparent, self-supporting tube built of an aluminum frame and curved polycarbonate sheets. The head unit contains turbines and the controller. The car travels within the cylinder carrying a passenger.

The elevator car runs along rails or columns that are part of the cylinder’s self-supporting structure. The walls of the car consist of clear polycarbonate panels. An anchoring system activates when the elevator reaches the desired floor, stops the car smoothly and precisely, and locks the car mechanically.

The head unit is located on the top of the cylinder, or remotely up to 30 feet away. The remote unit is used when there is not enough ceiling height above the tube. It is also used to when noise is a concern. Placing the turbines in the attic or a closet reduces the noise level significantly.

How Can Seniors Improve Mobility at Home and Remain Independent?

seniors mobilityAs people age, it can become increasingly difficult to do things that were once easy, such as walking up and down a flight of stairs. Many people believe that if they cannot climb stairs, they either have to limit themselves to the ground floor or move into another home with a single level. However, there are several other options that can allow seniors to improve mobility and remain independent.

A residential elevator is the easiest way to travel safely from floor to floor in a home. An elevator can be installed in a house of nearly any size. It can be tucked into a corner behind a wall, attach to a balcony, or travel through a hole in the floor. Elevators come in a wide range of sizes and configurations that can fit in nearly any house.

If you don’t have the space or money for an elevator, a stair lift is a good alternative. A stair lift travels along a staircase from one level to another. A stair lift can be customized to fit virtually any straight or curved staircase and even a narrow staircase. Stair lifts have a variety of weight capacities and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

If you or a family member uses a wheelchair to get around and an elevator is not an option, a wheelchair lift could be the solution. A wheelchair lift can travel either vertically or up an incline along a staircase to transport a senior citizen in a wheelchair safely from floor to floor with the press of a button.

An elevator, stair lift, or wheelchair lift can improve mobility for a senior citizen who is no longer able to use the stairs. By making all of the floors in the home accessible, a senior can remain independent and continue to live in the house that is full of family memories.

What Type of Stair Lift Is Right for Your Home?

stair liftA stair lift can make an entire house accessible to a senior citizen or another person with limited mobility. Stair lifts come in a variety of sizes and configurations and can fit nearly any staircase. Here are some things to consider to help you decide which type of stair lift is right for your home.

Stair lifts can be made to fit both straight and curved staircases. Straight stair lifts are more common because the majority of staircases are straight. A stair lift can be customized to go around a 90- or 180-degree turn or across a flat landing. In the park position, the stair lift wraps around the corner and parks away from the landing. A straight stair lift can typically be installed in a matter of days after the order is placed. Because it needs to be custom-built, a curved stair lift can take four to eight weeks to install and will cost three to four times as much.

The size of stair lifts also varies. Most stair lifts are designed for a staircase that is 36 inches wide. Larger stair lifts take up 24 inches of space. A narrow stair lift can fold up to within 11 inches of the wall. The size you choose will depend on the width of the staircase, as well as any obstructions, such as a handrail or decorative trim.

Stair lifts have weight capacities ranging from 250 to 500 pounds. The capacity depends on the strength of the lift’s drive system and the rail and carriage system. A stair lift may be capable of carrying more than its rated capacity, but that increases the risk of accidents. It is recommended that a stair lift be purchased with a weight capacity 25 percent greater than the weight of the person who will be using it to allow for weight fluctuations and to avoid wearing out the lift.

Stair lifts can be used both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor stair lifts are designed to withstand moisture and extreme temperatures. An outdoor lift can be used indoors, but an indoor lift should never be used outdoors.

If you or a family member has limited mobility, a stair lift could be the solution. Lifts can be customized to fit nearly any home and make all of the rooms in the house accessible.

Historic Grain Elevators Could Become Community Spaces

grain elevatorsAli Piwowar, who recently earned an architecture degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, would like to see the historic grain elevators that dot Saskatchewan’s landscape converted for public use. She detailed her ideas in her thesis.

Saskatchewan used to have over 3,000 grain elevators. Only 420 are left in the province. Piwowar is concerned that in 20 years they might all be gone. She would like to see them remodeled and used instead of demolished.

Piwowar has been fascinated by grain elevators since she was 10 and her family moved from Ontario, which has no grain elevators, to Regina. She says people have relationships with grain elevators and they ground communities.

Piwowar believes that even though many grain elevators are no longer needed for agriculture, their solid construction means they could be used for other purposes, such as offices, libraries, boutique hotels, or community centers. She says conversions would not be very expensive since most of the structure already exists. She believes converted grain elevators could form the heart of a community and draw in tourists.

Her thesis focused on Indian Head, which used to have more wooden elevators than any other town in North America, but her ideas could be applied to any other community. Indian Head still has two wooden crib grain elevators owned by Paterson Grain that are being used as grain storage bins.

Piwowar believes they could be used for completely different purposes, such as a tourist information center, an events venue, a glass elevator, guest suites, a coffee shop, and a bakery. A new building envelope consisting of a vapor barrier and insulation would be necessary. She also proposes creating a row of elevators on Canadian Pacific’s old Intermodal land that is owned by the city of Regina.

Things to Consider before Installing a Stair Lift in Your Home

stair liftIf you have trouble walking up and down the stairs in your home, a stair lift could be the solution you need. A stair lift can be used in nearly any home and can make all of the levels in your house accessible.

A stair lift can be used on almost any staircase. It can travel along a straight staircase or follow a path around a curve and over a landing. A stair lift can be customized to match the specific needs of your home.

If you need help getting up the stairs from the outside of your house to the door, you can install an outdoor stair lift. Weatherproof materials can protect the stair lift from rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.

A variety of stair lift designs are available to match the user’s specific needs. For a heavy person, stair lifts are available with wide seats and higher weight capacities. If you suffer from lower back pain, install a stair lift with soft starts and stops that are controlled electronically. A locking swivel seat can make it easy to step from the stair lift to the landing.

Most stair lifts have seats, armrests, and footplates that fold up when not in use. This reduces the amount of space the stair lift takes up and makes it possible for other people to walk up and down the stairs easily.

A stair lift is easy to control with the press of a button or a rocker-switch control. A call-send unit can summon the stair lift whenever needed. A battery-operated stair lift can work even if the power goes out. Diagnostics can help you monitor the stair lift’s operating status and identify any problems.

Stair lifts are equipped with several standard safety features, including a seatbelt, brake, and footrest sensor. A stair lift should have an overspeed governor to control its speed as it travels down the stairs. Safety sensors can stop the stair lift if an object is obstructing its path.

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.

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.