Thursday, 14 August 2008

Stair Lift Installation

A stair lift is a device that is used to lift a person up the stairs, much like an escalator. These devices generally use a rail or track system that is attached to the stairs and spans the complete distance of the stairs. A chair or small platform is attached to the track and is sent up and down the track. These devices are very safe and reliable, but there are some safety concerns that should be addressed both when using these devices and when installing them.

It is imperative that you both read and understand the manufacturer’s installation instructions before you begin your initial setup. On standard non-winding stairs the installation can usually be done in a few hours by a single individual, but before you do anything carefully read the instructions. One of the most important steps will be securing the track to the stairs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the included hardware to secure the track to the stairs. Usually the track comes in sections that are made to slide together and are secured with bolts.

Most of the actual installation can be done with standard household tools. Usually a set of Allen wrenches (often included), a set of Phillips heads screwdrivers, a 3/8 inch socket set, a power drill, a tape measure, and a level will be all that is required to set up the stair lift. Some models do require a tool called a torque wrench, which may sound complicated or foreign, but it really isn’t. A torque wrench is a wrench that has a gauge or dial attached to it that lets you tighten a bolt to a specific tension. All you need to do is very lightly tighten the bolt while keeping an eye on the gauge that is attached to the wrench. If you are tightening the bolt to 18 ft/lbs then just apply constant pressure until the gauge reads about 18. Torque wrenches can be found at most hardware stores as well as at auto parts stores.

Once the track is down it will be time to put the chair onto the track. Usually the chair is attached to a short piece of track that is only a foot or two in length. This short piece of track is temporarily attached to the track at the top of the stairs. A bolt holds the chair in place on this temporary track. Once the bolt is removed the chair will slide down onto the actual stair lift track. It is important that either you or your assistant apply pressure to the chair when you remove the retaining bolt. Once the bolt is removed the chair will slide freely so make sure you hold the chair in place until your hands are out of the way, then let is slowly slide down onto the track.

A stair lift that has been installed properly will provide many years of dependable and safe service. It can generally be done by one person. If after reading the installation instructions you are hesitant at all about the set up, call up your distributor and they can either help you with the instructions or recommend a company that will install it for you at a good rate.

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