Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Stair Lifts - A Buyer's Guide

As we get older, many things we've always taken for granted, like climbing the stairs, can become more of an effort. It's common for older people to find tackling their stairs a daily struggle. However, if you don't want to be forced out of the house you love because you can't manage the stairs anymore, installing a stair lift could be the answer. Stair lifts are a great solution for many people who want the independence and freedom of living in their own home, but don't want the upheaval of moving to a bungalow.

Home stair lifts are relatively expensive and buying your own stair lift will be a major investment decision for you, which shouldn't be taken lightly. The important thing is not to rush into a purchase without doing your homework. There are various different types of both straight and curved stair lifts and many companies selling them. It pays to shop around before you buy to make sure you're getting the best deal on the most suitable equipment for your needs.

Speak to any friends you have who have an electric stair lift and see what advice they can offer, or if they can recommend a particular supplier in your local area. Look for well-known stair lift companies advertising in the phone book, in national newspapers or online, and contact at least two (or more) for a quote - you may be surprised how much the prices vary.

Because each situation is different - you have your own needs and your staircase is unique to your house - a representative from the stair lift company will need to visit you in your home to assess your requirements and take measurements, in order to give you an accurate quote. Never accept a quote over the phone from a company that hasn't even seen your stairs! A sale representative from a reputable company should be able to answer your questions and should leave you with their contact details in case you want to ask anything else.

Ask for a written quotation rather than an estimate, so you'll know exactly what the installation will cost you. Also get a copy of the terms and conditions and read these carefully - get a family member or reliable friend to help you make your decision. An important consideration is the level of after sales service you can expect, such as how long your guarantee will last and whether an annual maintenance service is included in the price.

With some research you should be able to find a company that can supply you with a new stair lift at a reasonable price. Once your stair lift is installed, it should transform your daily life - and you may wonder how you ever managed without it!

Caroline Smith is a contributor to Number 1 Stair Lifts - the stair chair lift resource with information and advice on buying electric stair lifts, including straight and curved stair lifts.

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