A stairway chair lift for residential purposes is a chair attached to a track that is, in turn, bolted to the staircase. The main purpose of such a chair is to enable people who cannot climb the steps to get to the top or the bottom of the stairs. Chair stairlifts, though, are not just for carrying people, they can also be used to carry heavy loads that otherwise would be difficult to move to higher levels of the house.
Chair lifts can be operated by pushing a button or a series of buttons and are powered by electricity. Conventional stairlift chairs are of different kinds and are usually designed based on their intended function and the specifications of the stairs where they will be attached.
Types of stairlifts based on stair configuration
Stair lifts can be designed for straight or curved staircases. There are also those that are built specifically for stairs with a middle landing. More often than not, a staircase with a middle landing needs two stair lifts for each set of landing. Traditional stairlifts are relatively easier to configure and build; however, stairlifts for wheelchairs are not as easy to build.
Wheelchair stairlifts need wider stairs, stronger support and other features to accommodate the wheelchair and the person riding it. A wider landing area at the bottom of the stairs is usually needed to provide the rider some space to get on or off the wheelchair. This kind of stairlift also needs a load-bearing wall since it is attached to the wall of the house and not on the stairs like conventional stairlifts.
There are two ways to supply power to a residential stairlift. One is through an A/C unit that relies on household electricity. If the power is turned off or cut off, then the stairlift will not operate. A battery operated stairlift, on the other hand, functions with the use of standard batteries. The good thing about the latter is that it can function even when the electric power is turned off. However, batteries of stairway chair lifts need to be changed constantly since these mechanisms eat up a lot of power.
Building a stairway chair lift at home requires careful measurements of the areas involved, including the stairs and landing areas. The design of the stairs with which the stairlift will be attached should also be considered. Cost issues, intended function and weight capacity are also primary concerns for such indoor systems.