Stairlifts For Riders Of Above Average Weight

by Patricia Taylor - Date: 2006-12-20 - Word Count: 737 Share This!

A stairlift is an affordable device that is used to give people with limited mobility access to the second floor of a home.

Some stairlifts have platforms forwheelchairs, but most are mechanical chairs with footrests that glide along a track mounted on the wall side of a staircase.

Since few people can afford to have an elevator installed in their home the stair lift is a perfect answer for those who are no longer able to navigate stairs.

Most chairlifts are designed for a person weighing less than 300 pounds. But the good news is that there are some lifts especially constructed for people who tip the scales at 350 pounds or more.

The chairs on most stairlifts face sideways and then swivel to allow the rider to easily step off at the top or bottom of the stairway. As an extra safety measure, the chair locks in place when it is swiveled.

The lift will not move unless the chair is in the drive position. For added safety the chairs are equiped with a seatbelt so that a rider with balance problems can feel secure while riding.

Among the other safety features are footrests with sensors that will stop the stairlift if they detect an obstacle. The chairs also have brakes that stops travel if there is a malfunctioning problem with the drive system.

Most of these stair lifts are powered by an electric motor that simply plugs into a regular outlet. It doesn't need any special wiring. However, you might want to see if your state or city building code has any regulations about the installation of chairlifts and similar devices.

Modern stairlifts feature a call station at both the top and bottom of the stairs. That allows the lift chair to be quickly moved to the place it is needed at the

Stairlifts can be mounted either on the stairway wall or on stair risers. The controls on the chair are constant pressure switches. If you lift your finger from the switch, the chair stops moving.

There are mechanical limits at each end of the track to keep the lift from moving beyond its safe limits.

The rail that carries the chair can be either a straight rail or a curved rail for curved stairways. The straight rail is less expensive and easier to install.

Straight rails can be altered to fit the dimensions of various stairways. Thatmeans they have the added benefit of portability. If you change homes you can take a straight rail from one stairway and install it on another stairway.

Another benefit is that the stairlift can be sold to another user if it is no longer required in your home.

Ameriglide stairlifts, for example, come with instructions for home installation, or you can pay to have someone from the company install it for you.

Curved stairlifts are more expensive and mechanically more complicated. Each rail as to be custom made to fit a specific curved stairway. Because of that a curved rail usually can't be re-used on another stairway.

If time is a factor remember that a curved stairlift requires custom work and so will take longer before it can be delivered compared with a conventional,
straight rail model.

A professional on site assessment of your curved stairway is also necessary in order to make a rail that will fit properly. Since curved rails are more complex, it is suggested that you should not attempt to install one yourself.

It just makes sense to have it professionally installed to ensure a proper and safe fit. In fact, often installing two straight rail systems may be more practical than buying a curved stairlift.

The track can be up to twenty feet long, and it can be cut to fit a shorter stairway.

A stairlift with a cable drive system is preferred by many. The cable system is quiet and it doesn't require lubrication or maintenance. The steel cable used is the same type of cable used in commercial elevators. That is especially important
in chairs made for heavy passengers.

A few stair lifts have a 500 pound weight capacity. The seat is wide and has a high back. Unlike the other models, the chair on the these heavy duty stairlifts does not face sideways. It faces the bottom of the stairway. The rider is ridingbackwards on the way up the stairs and forwards on the way down.

Stairlifts provide many extra years of independent living for the elderly and those whose movement is impaired. Besides, they are fun to ride! Learn more at

Patricia Taylor is a home decor and furnishing advisor. She offers a FREE home decorating guide at her web site: She writes more about lift chairs here
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