Using a Stair Lift to Safely Use the Stairs

Stair lifts are a type of lifting aid that can be installed on most types of stair cases. In most instances a chair is sent up and down the stairs carrying a single occupant, but some lifts utilize a small platform instead of a chair. Lifts that use platforms are called perch lifts and these types of lifts are not usually used, except in cases of medical necessity, because they require that you remain standing while using the lift

Most stair lifts use a track system that is directly attached to the steps. The chair or small platform is sent up and down the track system. These types of lifts can be quickly and easily be installed, but only work on straight steps. If you have an excessively narrow set of steps or a curved staircase, then the track will need to be installed onto the wall, which usually requires professional installation.

The majority of stair lifts use the chair setup and are called stair chairs. There are a few different models available and most seats have several choices of upholstery to match your homes style. Several heavy duty lifts are available that are reinforced, have a wider seat, and have adjustable armrests. Others try to take up as little space as possible and many can be folded when not in use so that they take up less space.

Finding a stair lift of the right weight capacity is seldom a problem. Usually perch lifts can not support as other lifts and can support around 250 pounds. Most stair chairs support at least 300 pounds and many much more. It is not a good idea to max out your lifts weight capacity, so for every 100 pounds of weight, you should add 20 pounds. For example if you weighed 150 pounds, then you would want to get a lift that could at least support 180 pounds.

Choosing a battery powered or electric powered stair lift is an important consideration. An electric powered stair lift is plugged into a regular household outlet and usually costs a little less than a battery powered stair lift. The downside to this type of lift though, is that it will not work if the power goes out. A battery powered lift will work if the power goes out, but they are a little more expensive and will require a little extra maintenance. Periodically the battery will need to be checked and it will need to be changed every so often as well. While a replacement battery is not very expensive, it is another cost you should be aware of. Battery powered stair lifts still plug directly into the wall though and do not require any special type of outlet.

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