August 2014 Newsletter

Nathan Colburn Newsletter

The Big Question: How to Tackle those Stairs Safely and with Ease- Use a Stair Lift!

When faced with physical challenges a staircase can be daunting. Essentially there are three ways to get up a set of stairs: a ramp, a vertical platform lift or a stair lift. Inside the home a ramp is not usually an option given the ideal ADA inspired incline ratio of one foot of ramp per one inch of rise. Even three stairs inside a house at six inches each can add up to eighteen feet of ramp which is far more than most rooms in a house can handle. A vertical platform lift is a large piece of equipment suitable for moving a person in a wheelchair. While an excellent tool for this particular application it is often more equipment than many people need. A stair lift is often the ideal tool when the objective is to move a person safely up and down a staircase. Stair lifts can be curved or straight, long or short and built in any configuration that a staircase can be built:

  • Width when folded
  • Battery or AC power
  • Type of charging system
  • Warranty
  • Country of origin

A typical staircase is approximately 36″ wide. Depending on the weight capacity of the stair lift they can be from 12-­15″ wide when folded, leaving plenty of room for foot traffic to safely pass by. Virtually all stair lifts these days are battery powered. The benefits are many and include no special power requirements and continuous operation even during a power outage. Most stair lifts will charge their batteries either at the top or the bottom of the rail. It is better to choose a stair lift that can charge along the entire length of the rail. This prolongs battery life and ensures that the batteries can’t accidentally discharge. Stair lifts that are built offshore have to go through an importer which adds another layer of cost to the lift and can create complexity should one encounter any warranty issues. An American made stair lift ultimately provides more value to the end user because the cost of the lift better reflects the quality of the materials and not the expense of importing it. While there are many things to consider when purchasing a stair lift these are a few that our clients have found were important to them.



Just about anyone can operate a stairlift!