House Elevator

Freedom Home ElevatorsA house, or home, elevator is built to go no higher than four stories. Even with this restriction, however, multiple options are available for a house elevator. Multiple factors in your home determine the best type. If you are adding a house elevator for accessibility, make sure the model has a car interior large enough to fit a wheelchair. Similarly, if the elevator is needed for moving furniture or other large items, the interior needs to hold the item and you. If accessibility is not a concern, a smaller design may be sufficient. Even with similar parts, house elevators come in four basic types: hydraulic, machine room-less (or traction), pneumatic, and winding drum.

Considered the safest system, a hydraulic elevator consists of a car lifted up from the bottom and is attached to guide rails inside the hoistway.

A hydraulic elevator needs more than a hoistway, however. A machine room and a pit for the piston, tank, and cylinder need to be built, and these two aspects take up a considerable amount of space. Additionally, hydraulic oil is required for operation. While hydraulic oil in the past was not considered environmentally friendly, current hydraulic elevators are more energy efficient.

Traction, or machine room-less, elevators have geared or gearless designs.

In either case, a traction elevator uses only one-third of the power as hydraulic and the full system fits inside the hoistway. As a result, less installation is needed. In general, a traction elevator has a car connected to steel ropes, which are rolled over high-speed motor sheaves.

A winding drum elevator is an older system and is seldom used for commercial fixtures in the present.

This type of house elevator uses a reduction drive machine with steel ropes that run onto a large drum and uses a counterweight. A steel rope extends from the car over sheaves, or wheels, at the top of the hoistway and, from the hoistway, go down to the drum, against a deflector wheel, up again to the hoistway, over another wheel, and down to the counterweight.

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A newer system, a pneumatic elevator has a car large enough for one or two people only. The system does not use a cable, piston, or pulley and, instead, regulates air pressure inside the hoistway to move the car.

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