Residential elevators are not considered as much of a luxury as they once were. If you need to modify your home or building to be more handicapped accessible or simply need the convenience of an elevator, as opposed to taking the stairs, installing a residential isn’t a cost-prohibitive expense, considering the use of the elevator. While both elevator and installation costs need to be realized, in addition to the space needed, residential elevators have several uses for homes and small office buildings. A few types of residential elevators are available, and many of these will fit your needs, from making a building more handicapped accessible to transporting furniture and other large objects between floors.
One of the main uses for adding a residential elevator to a home is to make it more handicapped accessible. Instead of installing a stair lift inside the home, making a home more wheelchair accessible can be done by installing a residential elevator. Hydraulic elevators are generally the best design in this case, as a hydraulic elevator is large enough for a wheelchair and, in areas prone to natural disasters, the design is more stable. While a hydraulic residential elevator needs a machine room installed with it, the design includes a battery-powered lowering mechanism in case of power outages. If you need to make a home more accessible for the elderly or handicapped individuals not using wheelchairs, a pneumatic residential elevator is another option. Although this design can fit one to two people standing up inside, it has the same battery-powered lowering mechanism in case of emergencies but does not need a machine room installed.
Sometimes what’s being transported in a residential elevator isn’t people. Many of these residential elevators can support up to 1000 pounds – some up to 1500 pounds for commercial buildings – and another use is to transport furniture and other large objects or equipment. If your office building, school, or apartment building of four or fewer stories needs an elevator to bring furniture or other equipment – computers, shelves of books, and lab equipment in the case of a school – a hydraulic design is often best, although other designs, such as overhead winding drum and traction residential elevators, can be installed, as well.
What about for the convenience of simply having an elevator in your home? In this case, any of these residential elevator systems can be installed into your home. But, in this case, take into account how many people will be using it. If only one or two people – and no furniture – will be using the elevator, pneumatic residential elevators are an economical option. But, if both people and furniture will need to go between floors of a large, three-story house, one of the larger designs, such as a hydraulic elevator, may be better for your home.
Regardless of what type of building an elevator is being installed, residential elevators will need to meet certain standards set by ASME A17.1 and, in some cases, state elevator codes for safety. At least yearly, your residential elevator should be inspected to see that the design is still up to these codes.
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